By Noah Villaverde
When it comes to my background in writing, I spend a lot of time delving into the realms of popular culture -particularly focusing on the film and television industries with the many different avenues of inspiring storytelling that continues every day from countless artists that dedicate their talents to showcase their craft. Just recently, I have been keeping a strong focus on writing about the superhero craze that both the big and small screen has been experiencing over the course of eight years. It seems like every day we see news about where these avengers, men of steel, and caped crusaders will go - and continuously, audiences worldwide are clamoring for more of it.
What makes society so fascinated with heroism so much so that these movies continue to make billions of dollars year after year? I believe it is because of the human spirit longing for the abilities to reach for the stars and also the idealistic view of doing the right thing regardless of the odds stacked against us.
Thankfully, we know that heroes are indeed real and they don’t need to have supernatural abilities to help make the world a better place. We see our troops who put their lives on the line to serve our country everyday. We have seen people who were able to stand against oppressors for what they felt was right for society. And also, we have seen many who have let their voice be heard for the betterment of our cultural fabric.
Today, I want to talk about a real-life hero whose actions truly speak louder than words. Her name is Kayla Takeuchi.
Kayla does not have the ability to speak. Unfortunately, through her earlier years, although she was able to have thoughts of her own much like her fellow friends, she did not have the proper equipment to let her thoughts be heard. And for nearly 16 years, everything was locked inside her mind - just itching to be revealed to the world.
It was when she reached 16 years of age where she was able to let her voice be heard through facilitated communication, which allowed for her own thoughts to be heard for real. Kayla herself expressed her feelings about this in a documentary called, I Want to Say:
“I felt like I was in a prison. I didn’t feel human, but my mom never stopped believing in me.”
I cannot imagine the thought of having so much wanting to express to the people in my life and not being able to do so for a good portion of my life because I was not given the equipment required to do so. What Kayla experienced and was eventually blessed to be given should inspire many people to find the proper tools that will help young children who demand their voice to be heard.
Kayla’s accomplishments have ranged from earning high marks on her tests as well as having the opportunity to deliver a keynote in 2009 at Syracuse University’s Facilitated Communication Institute.
We were blessed with the opportunity to meet Kayla at Clovis Community College, where she attends classes, and got to know her and got graced with her positive attitude. She has a smile that epitomizes why people become photographers - oh so radiant, but oh so sincere.
Kayla will next be featured at a national facilitated communication conference sponsored by the Institute on Communication and Inclusion at Syracuse University. More information can be found at syr.edu. Kayla will be on a panel with three other young adults who type to communicate. Conference will be held at Columbia, MD. She's been asked to present on her journey to find her voice and where she is now.