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Non-verbal teen with autism delivers inspiring graduation speech


Fourteen-year-old Dillan Barmache is unable to communicate verbally. On Thursday, the teenager got his message across when he served as graduation speaker for Hale Charter Academy in Woodland Hills, California, using his iPad to do the talking.

"We all want to share who we are, we all want to share our thoughts and ideas and questions and worries, and I think every individual has that right," Dillan said during his address.

Dillan is non-verbal and has autism. His mother, Tami, told ABC7 Los Angeles that by the time Dillan was 10, the family tried all of the interventions that are common for children with his condition. Dillan grew more and more frustrated with not being able to communicate, and his mood and movements became hard to control. Once he enrolled in Hale Charter Academy, his communication support aide, Debbie Spengler, introduced him to an iPad with a letter board, and he quickly learned how to use it to spell out words. Once he mastered the letter board, Dillan's world opened up.

Dillan will start high school next year, taking general education classes, and thinks he might study psychology in the future. "Education is a better institution when all students have opportunity, plus a chance to take an idea and see the lessons within," he said. "With your mind, no one can place limits on where an idea can take you."

Dillan's speech earned a standing ovation. Watch the inspiring address below. --Catherine Garcia