Elizabeth Bonker is profoundly affected by autism and can’t speak, yet she illuminates the inner world of autism through poems that she types one finger at a time. I Am in Here: The Journey of a Child with Autism Who Cannot Speak but Finds Her Voice by Elizabeth Bonker and her mother Virginia Breen is the story of Elizabeth’s courage, determination, and optimism, and the relentless love of a mom who knew her daughter was “in there.”
Over many years, Elizabeth learned to type independently on a letterboard and computer. Because the process is tedious, she began to write poetry, and has since written more than 100 poems. This child, who had been diagnosed as mentally retarded, is at last able to reveal her gifted mind in I Am in Here. The book is about:
Faith: Elizabeth’s poetry reveals a deep spiritual life, “contemplating God in a way that went beyond what she learned in Sunday School,” Virginia says. “The burden of autism has helped us both understand one of life’s great mysteries. The most tangible way we experience God is through the presence of the people God has placed in our lives.”
Clinging to Hope: “Autism Moms must find a way to cling to hope with a tenacity that is stronger than autism’s grip on our children,” Virginia says. “My answer is finding the joy in the smallest of moments…a conscious choice to seek these small flowers of joy in the crannied wall.”
Drawing Inspiration from ‘How’ People: ‘How’ people ask, ‘how can I move forward?’ rather than ‘why me?’ Elizabeth, with her overwhelming challenges, is the ultimate ‘How’ Person. The book also includes a gallery of the ‘How’ people whose inspiring stories are told in the book.
“Elizabeth is my little flower, relentlessly breaking through autism with her poetry,” Virginia writes. “Like the flowers in the sidewalk cracks, she is a quiet miracle.”