Sixteen-year-old Dillan Barmache spent most of his life silenced by autism. Now, thanks to modern technology, his thoughts and feelings are finally being heard.
The California teen’s story was featured in a powerful video called “Dillan’s Voice,” a short film recently released by Apple to celebrate Autism Acceptance Month.
Told through his own words with the aid of an iPad via an app, Barmache narrated his struggles on trying to connect with others
“All my life I wanted so badly to connect with people,” Barmache says in the video. “Without a voice, people only see my autism and not the real me.”
Things began to change, however, when he started using his iPad to type in his messages, which were then voiced using an augmentative and alternative communication app.
“Having a voice has changed everything in my life,” Barmache said. “No more isolation. I can finally speak with the people that love me. I can say what I think and let them know I love them, too.”
Apple also released a second video called “Dillan’s Path” featuring Barmache, his mom Tami and his therapist/communication partner Deborah Spengler.
“Not being able to speak isn’t the same as not having something to say,” Tami says in the video.
Spengler said the technology has transformed Barmache: “When he began typing, he said it was like being freed.”
His use of the technology went viral when he used his iPad to deliver his middle school graduation speech in 2014.