Carly Fleischmann in shown in this undated photo (Facebook/ Carly’s Voice)
A young woman with autism who CTV News first profiled in 2008 appeared Friday on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
Carly Fleischmann, who has autism and can’t speak, has used a computer to communicate since she was 10 years old.
On Friday, she became the first nonverbal person with autism to guest-host Colbert’s show, and she didn’t go easy on him.
“You were recently upset that Blake Shelton won People’s sexiest man alive award,” Fleischmann told Colbert.
“I can’t help but look at you and think there’s no way in H-E-double-hockey-sticks you would beat Blake Shelton in a sexiest man alive contest.”
The young Toronto woman has plenty of experience as an interviewer: she has her own YouTube web series called “Speechless with Carly Fleischmann,” in which she has interviewed several celebrities including Channing Tatum and James Van Der Beek.
As host, Fleischmann types her questions into her computer, which then voices the text to her guests.
Since Fleischmann’s parents discovered that technology could open a window into their daughter’s mind, Fleischmann has revealed a sharp intellect and quick sense of humour. She’s even co-authored a book with her dad, explaining firsthand the challenges of autism.
The 22-year-old ultimately hopes to have her own TV talk show, telling CTV she would love to interview Lady Gaga, Ellen DeGeneres and Brad Pitt.
“I think they all have interesting stories to tell and I would love to hear the challenges they’ve overcome in their lives,” she said in an email interview.
She’d also like to interview the cast of “The Good Doctor,” a TV show featuring a young doctor with autism as a central character.
The message Fleischmann wants to send is that every one of us has challenges in life, “but it’s how we overcome it that makes us who we are,” she said.
“I can’t talk out of my mouth, but it’s not stopping me from showing the world the words I have inside my body.”
With files from CTV medical specialist Avis Favaro and producer Elizabeth St. Philip