From climate change to racism, we all have a voice – and it’s louder than ever. But not everyone can express their views, feeling and wishes so easily. As soon as we read Evangeline’s email we offered her a platform to have her say. This is Evangeline’s Kidversation.
Evangeline was born with a condition that affects how her brain functions, and it has an impact on her physically. She communicates by typing her thoughts into a tablet, and an electronic voice plays out the text.
Evangeline: It feels lonely when new people don’t talk to me. It is not easy to type quickly sometimes. I find it hard work.
Tilly: What do you hope this film about you will achieve?
Evangeline: I want people to understand that you don’t need to talk to think. I think like other children.
Tilly: How can people make it easier for you to communicate?
Evangeline: I need people to give me the time I need to type, and to understand that I am always thinking. I like it when people look at me in conversations. You have to wait for me to answer.
I totally get Evangeline’s frustration. I had my hands removed when I was a baby, and strangers sometimes just don’t know how to act around you, or they treat you like an object.
Tilly: I can imagine that you get really fed up if people are talking to you really loudly and slowly all the time, in a really patronising way, like you can’t understand them – because you can!
Evangeline: Yes, I’m not a baby and it makes me feel cross. How do new people treat you?
Tilly: I feel like a lot of the time I am treated a little bit differently than the average person by new people who see me for the first time, because they don’t really understand the situation that I’m in. So I kind of feel like I have to explain myself before we can get along and just move past that – which I feel like you would probably experience a lot too.
Evangeline: I can do the same things as others!
Tilly: What else annoys you?
Evangeline: I’m annoyed by a lot of questions!
Evangeline: I think horses are great friends – we are friends with each other. I like being outside and the feeling of the wind – I feel very free.
Before I met Evangeline I had no idea how much we would have in common. We both share a determination to prove to others that, despite our disabilities, we are just like anyone else. The issue is, we shouldn’t have to prove anything to anyone.
Evangeline: I think the world is very unfair. I think we should get better at understanding how people with special needs feel and should be treated. What do you like to do?
Tilly: I love going to the theatre – I’m a big fan of Grease, which I know you love too – any musicals, like, The Greatest Showman is a good one. (Sings) Go, greased lightning…!
Evangeline: My family are very good at talking to me and asking what I think. We do lots of things together. I am a big sister and love my brothers. We have movie nights together, and discos.
And just like you and me, Evangeline has other big concerns, like the future of our planet.
Evangeline: I think the wrong decisions are made about the world. We ned this world and we should look after it, I think. I love being outside.
It’s sad to think that she gets treated like she’s stupid, like the said, a lot of the time. And I feel like I can relate to that because people just don’t really know how to act when they’re around somebody with a disability. Evangeline clearly has strong opinions on many things and, like all of us, she has a right to be heard.
Tilly: Well, you have this film all about you, so what is the message you really want to give to the people watching at home?
Evangeline: I am happy. I can understand you very well. I think like you – please give me time to answer. I want to help people like me by being a very good advocate for the people who cannot talk.
Click here to watch more of our Kidversation films.
Click here to watch this week’s FYI show.