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Tuesday, September 19, 2017, 3:57 p.m.

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Encouraging words

Advocates for the autistic say typing method gives them a voice, but schools are skeptical

By MICHAEL ALISON CHANDLER The Washington Post

This article was published March 15, 2017 at 1:51 a.m.

mike-keller-a-13-year-old-with-autism-listens-to-his-science-teacher-at-lakelands-park-middle-school-in-gaithersburg-md-mike-who-is-nonverbal-and-communicates-by-spelling-words-on-a-keyboard-was-able-this-year-to-talk-for-the-first-time-using-a-personalized-synthetic-voice

Mike Keller, a 13-year-old with autism, listens to his science teacher at Lakelands Park Middle School in Gaithersburg, Md. Mike, who is nonverbal and communicates by spelling words on a keyboard, was able this year to “talk” for the first time using a personalized synthetic voice.

Mike Keller was introduced about five years ago to a communication technique called Rapid Prompting Method that led to what his family describes as a ...

Mike Keller communicates by spelling words on a keyboard. He typed this text into the machine, which spoke the words.

In a science class at Lakelands Park Middle School in Gaithersburg, Md., 13-year-old Mike Keller sat between his professional aide and his science partner during a lesson about how force affects balance. The Montgomery County teen, who has autism, stood up a few times in a burst of energy and once walked out of the room. But with some redirection from his aide, he appeared to focus on a series of questions that his teacher posted on the whiteboard.

Mike Keller was introduced about five years ago to a communication technique called Rapid Prompting Method that led to what his family describes as a ...

Mike Keller communicates by spelling words on a keyboard. He typed this text into the machine, which spoke the words.

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