I t-h-i-n-k ...
Ido Kedar sits at the dining room table of his West Hills home. He fidgets in his chair, slouched over an iPad, typing. He hunts down each letter. Seconds pass between the connections.
... A-u-t-i-s-m-l-a-n-d ...
He coined the word, his twist on Alice's Wonderland.
"C'mon," says his mother, Tracy. "Sit up and just finish it, Ido. Let's go."
He touches a few more keys, and then, with a slight robotic twang, the iPad reads the words he cannot speak.
I think Autismland is a surreal place.
For most of his life, Ido has listened to educators and experts explain what's wrong with him. Now he wants to tell them that they had it all wrong.
Last year, at the age of 16, he published "Ido in Autismland." The book — part memoir, part protest — has made him a celebrity in the autism world, a young activist eager to defy popular assumptions about a disorder that is often associated with mental deficiency.
He hopes that the world will one day recognize the intelligence that lies behind the walls of his "silent prison," behind the impulsivity and lack of self-control.
I want people to know that I have an intact mind.
Yet Ido gets nervous easily and likes to retreat to his room or to a cooking program on television. At one point, after answering a few questions, he steps outside to pace beside the family swimming pool.
He plucks a rose and puts its petals into his mouth.
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