Current Affairs
Autistic boy with speech problems expresses himself in book form

A boy with autism is the author of a book in which he recounts all that happens around him. The book ‘Il-Mawra Tieghi fl-Ispazju’ (My Journey into Space) was launched today, and the boy is using it to pass on a message to other children who, like him, suffer from autism.

“Il-mawra tiegħi fl-ispazju” documents the world voyage of Beppe Caruana, who as a boy experiences difficulty in expressing himself because of his condition.

Through the book, nine-year-old Beppe found the freedom to express himself without the burden of his daily problems as a result of his inability to speak. The book enables him to shout out and clap without finding anyone staring at him.

Beppe’s mother, Olivia Galea Seychell, explained that as a result of a system of communication, the boy points out the letters of every word he wants to tell his mother.

“When he started using this method, I began to discover Beppe’s abilities; he understands everything, whereas I had thought he only understood English, I found out he understands Maltese very well. He then started showing who Beppe really is and expressing his difficulties, what it means to be autistic, and the idea of his starting to write picked up from there. he then told me he wanted to write a story.”

In the story, Beppe shows that although he may at times appear distracted, he is aware of everything going on around him, including the impact of the pandemic on the community.

“You have to believe in your children’s abilities. You should never look at the situation from the viewpoint of your child having a condition, which might make you think he has no abilities. The condition is there, but you have to believe in your children. The boy has a condition, experiences difficulty in speaking, but this does not mean he cannot think and understand and cannot communicate. I believe he has much to communicate, and he makes more sense than people who are very voluble.”

During the book launch, President Emeritus and the President of the Malta Trust Foundation Marie Louise Coleiro Preca said Beppe’s book is a prime example of the immense capabilities of these children and helps to break down the stigma about this disability.

Education Minister Justyne Caruana stated that the book is a clear example of education being inclusive, with services adapted to each particular case.