Writing news articles is a common middle school assignment. Yet, for 13-year-old, Baxter Wilson-Rul, his focus and perspective are one-of-a-kind. Baxter most often writes about autism. What’s unique about his viewpoint? He has autism and he is non-verbal. But, since the day he’s figured out how to communicate his thoughts, he has been on a mission to teach others about his condition.
Dr. Lindsay Elton, Baxter’s pediatric neurologist, calls Baxter remarkable. The first time he communicated to her it was profound and eloquent. A sample class assignment article reveals this side of him.
Austin American-Statesman reporter, Nicole Villalpando, shared about Baxter’s long struggle to find a voice and the dreams he has ahead in an interview with Baxter and his parents, Monica Ruhl and Tiffany Wilson. Read it here: How one boy with autism and his parents found an education online.
Baxter was diagnosed with autism when he was about two years old. At seven years old he was introduced to a teacher who showed him how to communicate using a simple letter board – pointing to letters to create words. No one imagined the types of words that would pour out of him.
“For seven and a half years, no one knew how much intelligence I marvelously obtained in my silence,” Baxter writes in a school assignment. “My muteness and my shackled chains of chaotic mind and body disconnections made me a prisoner to dire autism.”
The first time his teacher Soma Mukhopadhyay worked with him, he was beginning to communicate by pointing to the correct answer on pieces of paper each time she asked a question.
“I was just breaking down in tears,” Rul told the Austin American-Statesman.
It didn’t take very long for Baxter to turn letters into words and a whole sentence. After three or four sessions, Rul says, he built his first communicated thought: “God is in our family.”
It was profound.
Dr. Elton and the rest of the team at Child Neurology Consultant of Austin are thrilled that Baxter has found his voice…and is teaching others. Read more about his story here.