Nov 4     7 min read

Nonverbal Teenager on the Autism Spectrum Shares His Experience Going to School

Updated: Dec 1

Josh, a non-verbal teenager shares his experience going to school at Westmoreland Academy (WA).  Josh communicates through the Proloque2Go app on an iPad.  Josh, and his mom Dina, share his challenges and accomplishments and at school and what he likes to do for fun!

Host Speaker  0:40 

Thank you for joining us for another episode of I am Able. The goal of our podcast is to bring acceptance and awareness to our communities when working with educating and living with people of all abilities.

Jamie:  0:53 

Hello, everyone. I’m Jamie Lord Tovar, and today I am here with Josh. Hi, Josh. Good morning.

Josh:  1:03 

Good morning.

Jamie:  1:06 

How are you today? How are you feeling?

Josh:  1:11 

I’m doing good.

Jamie:  1:13 

I’m so glad. I’m doing good as well. Thank you very much. I I forgot to mention that your mom Dina is here with us also today. Thank you for joining us.

Dina:  1:29 

Our pleasure. Thank you for having us.

Jamie:  1:33 

Oh, my pleasure. I I work with Josh and I thought that it would be nice for him to have the opportunity to tell everyone out there a little bit about himself. So Josh, how about that? Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? How old are you?

Josh:  1:55 

Yes. I am 16 years old.

Jamie:  2:00 

Oh, wow. oughta be 16 again. And Josh, who do you live with?

Josh:  2:09 

I live with my mom and dad and three brothers.

Jamie:  2:12 

Oh, wow. You have three brothers? Yeah. Do you like having brothers?

Josh:  2:21 

I like having brothers. There’s always someone to play with.

Jamie:  2:26 

Oh, nice. I was gonna ask you why you like having brothers. Great. So are there any other reasons why you like having brothers?

Josh:  2:40 


Jamie:  2:44 

I like your honesty. I like your honesty. So Josh, I was wondering, can you tell us who helps you while you’re at home?

Josh:  2:56 

My mom helps me at home. So does my dad. So do my brothers.

Jamie:  3:03 

Also, brothers are good for things besides just playing with and I guess to get a little bit of help, right?

Josh:  3:09 

Yeah, yeah,

Jamie:  3:11 

yeah. So and what kind of things? Do they help you with? What what is like, what does mom help us?

Josh:  3:19 

They help me get what I need. They helped me turn on the TV to watch The Simpsons.

Jamie:  3:26 

To watch what I’m sorry, what was that?

Josh:  3:29 

He likes to watch The Simpsons. So if I help him put it on TV.

Jamie:  3:38 

Who doesn’t love the Simpsons? It’s very important to be to be entertained for sure. So what other things do they help you with?

Dina:  3:51 

Joshua, do they help you?

Jamie:  3:56 

Do they help you with like schoolwork or?

Josh:  4:00 

Yes, yes.

Jamie:  4:04 

Anything else?

Josh:  4:06 


Dina: 4:08

Okay. All right.

Jamie:  4:11 

So Josh, I mentioned that I work with you. What school do you go to?

Josh:  4:18 

I go to I go to school at Westmoreland.

Jamie:  4:21 

Westmoreland. It’s a beautiful campus, isn’t it?

Josh:  4:25 

Yes, yes.

Jamie:  4:28 

So what is your favorite part of going to school and why?

Josh:  4:34 

I like seeing my friends and learning.

Jamie:  4:37 

Oh, nice. What, what’s your favorite subject?

Josh:  4:42 

I like history. I like to learn about things that happened. I like to read

Jamie:  4:50 

Oh, wow. Yeah, that’s really important that that you learn about things from the past. Yeah. So what What things about history do you like to learn about do you like to learn about like events that happened or

Dina:  5:12 

what do you like about history?

Jamie:  5:17 

Or everything?

Josh:  5:21 


Jamie:  5:22 

everything. They’re like a sponge. Yep. Right. That’s Josh. Yeah, pretty much. So you said that you? You have friends at school? Do you have a best friend?

Josh:  5:38 

I have lots of friends at school. My best friend is my brother Jason.

Jamie:  5:44 

Oh, that’s so awesome.

Dina:  5:49 

Yeah, they’re they’re very close. Josh and Jason.

Jamie:  5:52 

That’s really cool. It’s always good to have a best friend. That’s that’s your brother? Cuz you’ll always have them. Right. Right. No matter what.

Dina:  6:04 

What do you think about that?

Josh:  6:07 


Jamie:  6:09 

So what kind of things do you do with Jason? watch The Simpsons.

Josh:  6:17 

Hi, we play we

Jamie:  6:19 

Yeah, I was gonna say you guys. You You’re, you’re a webmaster, right?

Josh:  6:24 

Yes. Yeah.

Jamie:  6:28 

I like we bowling myself. You baseball?

Dina: 6:32 

It’s a favorite here too.

Jamie:  6:38 

So do you have someone who helps you at school?

Josh:  6:45 

Helps me at school?

Jamie:  6:47 

And what kind of things does she help you with?

Josh:  6:51 

She helps me when I need help with my work. Okay, everything. She helps me to talk.

Jamie:  6:59 

Oh, that’s very important.

Josh:  7:02 


Jamie:  7:04 

So Josh, do you? Do you think you’re a good student? Why or why not?

Josh:  7:12 

I like school and work very hard.

Dina:  7:15 

I can say as Josh’s mom, he is the hardest working kid I know. And he is a great student. Because he really, you can see he really enjoys learning. No, no,

Jamie:  7:29 

that’s true. I would have to agree with you on that. Yes. And he’s done really well, despite distance learning. He’s he was really able to thrive and to adapt, which has been really amazing. Are you going to be shy now? Josh, you don’t want us to talk about how how amazing you are.

Dina:  7:52 

Yeah, we’re getting a little to be adjusted. quite humble. Okay. We’ll go back to the questions we want to talk

Jamie:  7:59 

about. Okay. Yes, yes. So, Josh, you said you’d like The Simpsons you you like to play we for fun? Are there any other things that you like to do for fun?

Josh:  8:15 

I like to watch play on my iPad. I like to play bowling and baseball on the week. I like to swim.

Jamie:  8:29 

Oh, wow. Yeah. You have a lot of interest. I also know that you’re an artist, right?

Dina:  8:37 

Yes. Do you like art?

Josh:  8:40 

Yes, yes. Yeah,

Dina:  8:45 

I guess that’s all he has.

Jamie:  8:47 

He’s very humble. He’s actually he’s, you’ve sold a couple pieces, right?

Dina:  8:54 

Yeah, it’s a little crazy.

Dina:  8:56 

In a minute, okay. Yeah, he’s a I don’t know what the term would be. But he’s, he’s sold artwork. It’s kind of crazy.

Jamie:  9:05 

I would say that he is a professional artist. He’s had art that’s been sold. There we go. So, Josh, are there anything? Any other things that you’re really good at?

Josh:  9:29 

I’m really good at whistling whistling but I’m a fast learner.

Jamie:  9:33 

That’s true too. Oh, Josh Can you can you whistle for us? Can you show us how? How you Whistle? Whistle

Dina:   9:45 

you do it.

Jamie:  9:49 

Not not on request. Apparently.

Dina:  9:51 

He’s not a dog. He will not support

Jamie:  9:55 

that’s true. Oh, that’s funny. So, Josh, we’ve talked about you had some unique abilities. How do you think they’ve helped you? Do you think that your unique abilities have helped you?

Dina:   10:14 

Do you think they helped you?

Josh:   10:16


Jamie:  10:21 

Okay. All right. All right, Josh, we only have a couple more questions. Okay. All right. So I, I was wondering if there are any things that you would like to learn in the future that you?

Josh:  10:34 

Wow. I want to learn more about history and science. I like to watch the news and hear about everything.

Jamie:  10:43 

Oh, wow. Okay. All right. So do you have any other dreams for the future?

Josh:  10:50 

Maybe maybe,

Jamie:  10:52 

still still open to the possibilities? I know at 16? That’s a really deep question to ask right.

Dina: 10:53

at 42.

Jamie: 10:55

It’s still I think it doesn’t matter how old you are you still that’s kind of one of those things. We’re always open to possibilities. Okay. So Josh, I was wondering, who are your biggest role models? Do you look up to?

Dina:   11:25 

You look up to Josh.

Josh: 11:26


Jamie:  11:29 

Oh, that was sweet. Josh. The best? Yes. Especially as for a teenager to say. That’s why we love you, Josh. All right, my friend. So I just have one final question for you. Okay. Is what? Or is there any other thing that you would like people to know about yourself? Or people with autism? Is there anything you want us that you want the public to know?

Josh:  12:06 

I want people to know, I’m happy, smart.

Dina:  12:12 

Oh, that’s you in a nutshell.

Jamie:  12:13 

I was gonna say, Yeah, that’s so awesome. I can definitely vouch for the smart and and most of the time, yes, I would say that you’re a very happy guy. Yeah. That’s awesome. All right.

Dina:  12:28 

What do we got to miss Jamie?

Josh:  12:30 

Thank you. Thank you.

Jamie:  12:33 

All. Thank you so very much. I really appreciate you taking the time to talk to me today. And letting everyone get to know a little bit more about you.

Dina:  12:43 

Thank you so much.

Jamie:  12:45 

Thank you guys. So Josh, I will talk to you later then. It was a pleasure. All right, you guys. Thank you. Have a great day. You too. Bye.


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