Skip navigation

Calls to Action

Non-Verbal Teen with Autism Gives Inspiring Graduation Speech

June 06, 2014



(June 6, 2014) -- Dillan Marmache, a 14-year-old with autism, has dealt with many challenges growing up. Dillian is non-verbal and while attending Hale Charter Academy in Woodland Hills, LA, felt like he could truly find his voice for the first time. With the help of his communication support aide Debbie Spengler and his iPad, which he uses to communicate, Dillan was able to graduate and to give his school's graduation address. During his speech, Dillan talks about his journey up to this point and what he expects in the future. After he was done speaking, he was given a standing ovation from the entire school.

The transcript of Dillan's inspiring speech is below:

"Hello, my name is Dillan Barmache.

"When I examine each day, it's just incredible how a student, an autistic one, could ever feel a part of a class of future academics. Education is a better institution when all students have opportunity, plus a chance to take an idea and see the lessons within. With your mind, no one can place limits on where an idea can take you. Living without a voice creates almost no way to be heard, but there are people who refuse to think in a box. Open your mind in high school. You will learn to think about different ideas, and examine new findings. Always look inside other peoples experience in order to gain another perspective outside of books. Only then are we able to start opening our eyes to the amazing things around us. I so believe that there is so much more each one of us can do for other people, causes, and fields of study. I know too that the thought of high school is daunting, and also exciting. We will be challenged to think for ourselves as we live each day out. Part of education is showing what we have learned, so then tests measure our ability to learn, and are necessary. However, another measure of learning often seems based on insight and guidance. Insight is a guide that separates our knowledge into what we are taught and what we are capable of doing. Take a chance to experience your education in a meaningful way, and think outside the box, into yourselves. Insight always leads to truths that an individual either chooses to accept or not. Always consider looking to your own insight and seeking another viewpoint. We are the reality of our thinking life and are capable of so much if we just open our minds."