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Nine-year-old boy on autism spectrum writes book

A nine-year-old boy named Beppe Caruana, who has non-verbal autism, has written a book about his desire to travel to space; a place where he would no longer be weighed down by gravity. Beppe is a highly intelligent boy, but it took a while before his parents found the right communication methods to unlock how potential and step into his world.

“Space was all I had imagined it to be; I felt at one with the universe. All obstacles had disappeared. I could shout and clap freely without anybody staring at me,” author Beppe wrote in his book titled Il-Mawra Tiegħi fl-Ispazju (My Holiday in Space).

With training in the Rapid Prompting Method and communicative devices donated by the Malta Trust Foundation’s E3 project, Beppe’s mother discovered that her son’s reading was more advanced, he had a grasp of the Maltese language and that he was a very quick learner. “I want to show everyone I’m not stupid,” Beppe told his mother Olivia Galea Seychell, when she asked if he was sure about being present at the virtual launch of his book.

The boy’s next storybook is about his escape to the sea, another one of nature’s assets, which unshackles Beppe from the weight and misunderstandings of everyday life.

Illustrated by Nasim Dardouri, the book is set to go on sale this week. It will also be distributed to Year 5 students by the National Literacy Agency, which supported the book’s publication.

Illustrations by Nasim Dardouri

The E3 project aims to empower, encourage and educate young children with different abilities. It’s run in collaboration with the National Literacy Agency, the Foundation for Inclusive Technology and Accessibility, Aġenzija Sapport, the Department of Speech and Language Pathologists, the Association for Speech-Language Pathologists Malta and the Autism Parents Association Malta.

Towards the end of 2020, 30 children including Beppe, who are non-verbal and on the autism spectrum, benefitted from individual electronic devices to support their learning, after the Malta Trust Foundation’s E3 project raised no less than €84,283.

The augmentative communication devices were procured and individually tailor-made for children identified by the Education Department, together with Aġenzija Sapport’s unit, ACTU, which provides them with personalised training.

Well done, Beppe!