It may be October, but it’s still SPELLTEMBER! A month to recognize and spellebrate the hardest working people we know, nonspeaking people who spell and type! A spellebration of all of the nominees and their Spellebrity Trading Cards can be found here, however today I would like to take the time to introduce you to one of our All-Star Humanitarian Spellebrities, Noah Seback. Some of the questions were answered before our live interview, where I had the pleasure of interviewing Noah, who spelled with his mom and CRP, Nadine. Enjoy meeting a true humanitarian. Noah is described as “An overcomer with drive, perseverance and a tender heart”…and I’m sure you’ll agree.
What is the biggest unsung contribution you think spellers bring to
the world? Tell us about it.
Much is made of the perseverance and tenacity that spellers possess. Indeed the world would not be finally hearing from us if this were not the case. Often missed, however: spellers have big hearts. We are on a quest to allow every nonspeaker to spell. I have yet to meet a speller who is not desperate for all autistics to have a voice. No nonspeaker left behind.
It is true that we have faced many obstacles. We have been treated in ways that are dehumanizing. We have had years of our lives lost, opportunities missed, basic human rights denied. Yet we have emerged on the other side without wallowing in self pity and bitterness. Instead we want to educate and embrace those who held us back. We want to partner with them, not punish them. We want to empower them, empower the world, to change faulty perceptions.
It takes a big heart to forgive yet boldly challenge a systemic bias. In a world divided and polarized, big hearts are in high demand.
What Hogwarts house would you be in and why?
Slytherin because I’m crazy clever.
What’s something you want someone to know about you?
I know I come across as serious and intense a lot of the time but i’m also quite a jokester and I have a dry sense of humor too.
Who inspires you? How would you want to inspire others?
Every other speller on the planet inspires me tremendously. Each is wholly unique in the challenges faced gaining access to spelling on the letterboard, yet commonalities also exist. Being familiar with the inner fortitude and perseverance required, I’m consistently in awe of each speller’s battle to find their voice and change the trajectory of their existence. So many stories of being cast off and counted out yet rising up and above; how can I help but be inspired?
To inspire others, I hope to reach those spellers who have been labeled the worst of the worst ‘behavior problems’. Much needs to be done in the way of advocating for this subset of nonspeakers, of which I am one. Awareness and training in the potentially dangerous combination of brain-body disconnect, fight/flight/freeze response, and anxiety needs to occur. A non punitive mindset needs to be adopted. Not only does the mistreatment of ‘behavior issues’ need to end, but those who have endured it need their trauma addressed. These are many needs. Other than psychoactive medications, emotional and mental health services are lacking for spellers. I hope to inspire the possibility of inner healing and wholeness.
What superpower would you choose to have?
I would like to be able to dissolve people’s inner trauma that ties them into knots
There’s a lot going on in the world right now! What is bringing you
life and joy these days? Tell us about it!
My faith is my greatest source of joy and peace even in life’s darkest moments. Knowing that there is a God bigger than me and my circumstances keeps me pressing forward. I’m mindful to focus on all that I have to be thankful for. I rely on the beauty of nature and the outdoors to ground me. Deep relationships with family and friends are a mainstay of comfort and encouragement. I also find that humor and laughter soothe my soul.
What is your wish for the nonspeaking community?
There are so many. I would have to say that to be able to find peace with yourself no matter what your challenges still may be or no matter what minds aren’t changed because if you love yourself eventually others will follow (you know I mean not in a self-centered way right although I am pretty fabulous).
What would one piece of advice be to someone just starting on the letterboards?
I think to trust yourself and trust your communication partner but at the same time remember that you are the expert on you and your body.
If your life was a book, what would the title be?
Out of the Dark Into the Light: Hear Me Shine
Congratulations from all of us at I-ASC, Noah!
Noah Seback is a nonspeaker but NOT a nonthinker or nonfeeler. He lives in Atlanta with his family where he seeks to serve his fellow spellers and to soften the hearts of the world. Check out his blog at quirkthrives.com.