The Rollins College class of 2022 witnessed a remarkable valedictorian speech from Elizabeth Bonker. Bonker has autism and is nonverbal, but delivered an uplifting valedictorian speech through her text-to-speech computer, which “unlocked my mind from its silent cage, enabling me to communicate and be educated like my hero Hellen Keller.”
She’s working to extend this privilege to other nonverbal autistics through her foundation Communication 4 All, which aims to give typing access to all students with nonverbal autism. In addition to her foundation, Bonker and her mother published I Am In Here in 2011 and she wrote the lyrics for the Bleeding Hearts album of the same name.
We are inspired by stories like Elizabeth’s, and we agree that everyone deserves to use their voice and make a difference.