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I Am in Here: The Journey of a Child with Autism Who Cannot Speak but Finds Her Voice [Kindle Edition]

Elizabeth M. Bonker , Virginia G. Breen
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (87 customer reviews)

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Book Description

She looked into my eyes and blinked hers slowly and deliberately, like a stroke victim, to show me that although she couldn't speak, she understood what I was saying to her. I stroked her hair softly. 'I know you're in there, honey,' I told her. 'We'll get you out.'"
Despite the horror of seeing fifteen-month-old Elizabeth slip away into autism, her mother knew that her bright little girl was still in there. When Elizabeth eventually learned to communicate, first by using a letterboard and later by typing, the poetry she wrote became proof of a glorious, life-affirming victory for this young girl and her family.

I Am in Here is the spiritual journey of a mother and daughter who refuse to give up hope, who celebrate their victories, and who keep trying to move forward despite the obstacles. Although she cannot speak, Elizabeth writes poetry that shines a light on the inner world of autism and the world around us. That poetry and her mother's stirring storytelling combine in this inspirational book to proclaim that there is always a reason to take the next step forward--with hope.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap


I sometimes fear
That people cannot understand
That I hear.
And I know
That they don't believe I go
To every extreme
To try to express
My need to talk.
If only they could walk
In my shoes
They would share my news:
I am in here.
And trying to speak every day
In some kind of way.

Though she cannot speak, Elizabeth Bonker writes poetry that shines a light on the hidden inner world of autism and the world around us. I Am in Here is the spiritual journey of a mother and daughter who refuse to give up hope, who celebrate their victories, and who keep moving forward despite the obstacles. Elizabeth's poetry and her mother's stirring storytelling combine in this inspirational book to proclaim that there is always a reason to take the next step--with hope.

From the Back Cover

"I Am in Here is at once heartbreaking and powerfully inspirational. Elizabeth and Virginia together find their way down the mystifying corridors of autism and arrive in a place of communication through poignant and memorable poetry. It is a lesson in life, love, determination, and awe."--Tom Brokaw, NBC News

"A powerful reminder that we all face battles in life, and together we can triumph. Elizabeth's story will inspire you to be victorious in your own battle, whatever it may be."--Robert F. Kennedy Jr., environmentalist and founder of Waterkeeper Alliance; author of Crimes Against Nature and Saint Francis of Assisi

"Elizabeth's beautiful poetry clearly shows that some individuals with autism who appear to be low-functioning have real abilities. Elizabeth's first words when she was able to type were 'Agony. I need to talk.'"--Temple Grandin, New York Times bestselling author

"Simply astonishing! Together mother and daughter walk through the bewildering maze of autism and end up producing a heartrending and wonder-filled story. Get this book."--Richard J. Foster, author of Celebration of Discipline and Streams of Living Water

"Many people underestimate the capacity for learning and growing in children with autism. Elizabeth was determined to communicate and express what she held deep inside. And Virginia never lost hope that her daughter would one day find her voice."--Suzanne Wright, cofounder of Autism Speaks

"Elizabeth is a true inspiration, and her beautiful poetry allows her to share her message so people notice her for who she is and not what people expect her to be."--Jenny McCarthy, president of Generation Rescue and New York Times bestselling author

"A brilliant look inside a brilliant child whose illuminating story will entertain and inform all of us who seek to grasp the dimensions of human intelligence and perseverance."--Sidney M. Baker, MD, founder of and Defeat Autism Now!

"A brilliant reminder that through our work we have the privilege of seeing some of the most profound examples of courage, determination, and the depth of human potential."--Dr. Theodosia Paclawskyj, PhD, BCBA, assistant professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Kennedy Krieger Institute and The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Product Details

  • File Size: 1030 KB
  • Print Length: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Revell (October 15, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #226,247 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
50 of 61 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing November 21, 2011
I have two sons (one autistic, one neuro-typical) and understand what it is like to parent a child like Elizabeth. Ms. Breen is amazing in that she has maximized the potential of her two autistic children, provided a stable and loving environment for her neuro-typical child, and managed to hang on to her VC job and multiple directorships. I am not sure about her marriage as the husband gets almost no mention.
This is what I liked about the book. (My perspective is affected by reading about 50+ books and blogs about parenting autistic children). 1. The main point - nonverbal child gets a voice is inspiring for many parents. The depth of Elizabeth's poetry demonstrates how much unrecognized (and often unrealized) potential autistic kids have. 2. The account of navigating through the school system is useful as well. 3. It shows that access to resources (good school system and personal funds to hire aides, fund ABA, Soma's camp, etc.) makes an enormous difference in autistic kids' outcomes. 4. It validates the effectiveness of Soma's method by showing a reasonable outcome. (All those books telling you that ABA and GFCF diet cured kids of autism in 6-12 months are an insult to the parents with more severely affected children. )
This is what I found disappointing. 1. At times, the book is more about the mother than the child. I understand Ms. Breen's need to make her good deeds known to the world, but I bought the book to learn about Elizabeth, not her. That said, I would've liked to see more details about Elizabeth's progress, the mechanics of using the letterboard in the classroom, or even Ms. Breen's honest account of professional and marital challenges as I am sure one of those areas, if not both, had to take a hit.
In summary, the book is mis-marketed: it is sold as Elizabeth's story, but padded very heavily with Ms. Breen's adventures and loosely related stories about `how people' with much of it done in a very religious/Christian tone. Two stars.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Am in Here is inspiring October 17, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I rated this book 5 stars. I read it on my Kindle. I found it profoundly moving and bought the hard cover book. Every educator, every board of education, every student from 7 th grade on up, and parents of autistic children NEED to read this book. It is inspiring, heart breaking, hopeful and a testament to the will of the children and parents who do not give up, but fight every day to find the key to unlock the door to autism. It should be a gift from every Board of Education to every teacher and administrator in every school district. I Am in Here
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Profoundly Moving - a must read for parents October 14, 2011
Elizabeth Bonker can't speak, yet she "talks" in this book in a voice that will shake your soul.

There were so many times when I was deeply moved by this book: sometimes by the breathtaking simplicity and directness of Elizabeth's poetry, sometimes by the tireless determination and persistence of her mother, Virginia. Both tell a compelling and emotional story which will not fail to speak to your heart.

Elizabeth's story, told so beautifully and succinctly (and without a trace of self-pity) through her poetry and short explanations, gives an invaluable insight into the mind and heart of a girl/young woman struggling within the prison of autism.

Virginia's story, one of unbelievable determination, persistence and faith, will inspire, fortify and give hope to all parents, especially those struggling with a child's special needs, but also with those who do not face those struggles (like me).

This book transcends "mere" topics of Autism, parenting, and faith and will be an inspiring read for all who are lucky enough to pick it up.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars reminds you to hold on to hope October 30, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I had the opportunity to meet Elizabeth and her mother recently at an Autism Speaks walk in New Jersey. This book gives me hope that my 5 year old autistic daughter will someday find her own "voice" in whatever way works for her. It is also a reminder that you should never underesimate what intelligence and feelings lie within the brains and hearts of those with autism.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Needed a little more detail January 10, 2012
The author explores her and her autistic daughter's spiritual growth. It's more than a step by step memoir of diagnosis and treatment as they explore the nature of God and the meaning of suffering. I would have liked a little more biographical info. For example, who is "Roy" - the author's husband and/or father of one, two or all three of her children? She has three children, two of them autistic, but rarely mentions the older two. It would also have been good to give more detail about the mechanics of using the letter board.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A look inside the mind of the non verbal child December 13, 2011
What an inspiring book! I was amazed at Elizabeth's ability to write such beautiful poetry and express what it must feel like to be non verbal with so much clarity and emotion. My eleven year old son is also non verbal and reading this book was like finding an amazing insight into the emotions he must be feeling and living with on a daily basis. It has actually made me change the way I respond to some of his behaviors based on Elizabeth's explanations of why she reacts the way she does in certain situations. The way Elizabeth so eloquently explained her faith in God and her hope in a bright future brought me to tears. Virginia's stories that weave this book together are equally inspiring. This is a family that has experienced terrible tragedy, but still finds enough left in the emotional tank to volunteer, give back and write a very moving book. If you have a loved one with autism, this is a must read. If you work with children with autism this will blow the doors off of any pre-conceived notions of the academic abilities of non verbal children. Thanks to Elizabeth and Virginia for giving a voice to all of the children with autism who can not speak for themselves.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars This is a heart wrenching story about a girl with ...
This is a heart wrenching story about a girl with autism. It is also and maybe more importantly the story of the journey she and her family make as they try to find a cure for... Read more
Published 21 days ago by JoAnn Reding
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A great read for everyone with an interest in autism.
Published 27 days ago by Leslie A. Pattullo
5.0 out of 5 stars This wonderful book invites the reader into the world of an ...
This wonderful book invites the reader into the world of an autistic person. We all need to learn as much as we can about this condition which is so prevalent in our world. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mariellen Davis
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Love this book
Published 2 months ago by selina Santos
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
If you are spiritual and are affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder, this is a great book. I just got bored of the focus on God and spirituality rather than Elizabeth's story.
Published 2 months ago by Alison S. Henderson
4.0 out of 5 stars inspiring story
Beautiful story of a young girls struggle with autism and her work to communicate with those around her. Her family is awesome and inspiring! Such a wonderful story and journey! Read more
Published 3 months ago by peaches
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome!
Great book! I now understand so much more about autistic children. I enjoyed the book and passed it on to my coworkers.
Published 5 months ago by Debra Stirling
4.0 out of 5 stars Amazing
Here's a woman who takes things in hand, determined to do more than you can imagine for her daughter, and is a hard charging venture captalist, as well! Read more
Published 5 months ago by David DeVinney
5.0 out of 5 stars Overcoming autism
I loved this book because nobody believed that Elizabeth who was the autistic girl would be able to go further than first grade. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Alice Levine
5.0 out of 5 stars Autism
Anyone who works with autism should read this book and see the world they see and feel. Loved the story and the lessons learned.
Published 5 months ago by J. B. Naylor
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