Special “06880” Podcast: Wynston Browne

A year ago, “06880” introduced Wynston Browne to Westport.

He was a non-speaking autistic 15-year-old. But in the previous month — using a spelling board — he’d made stunning advances.

Suddenly, his parents Lynda and David realized, he was not only not intellectually disabled — he is very intelligent.

Very, very intelligent.

Wynston and Elisa Feinman, with his spelling board last year.

That was just the start. A year later — now using a QWERTY keyboard — Wynston continues to amaze. His goal is to become a neuroscientist.

Wynston’s story is remarkable. But don’t take my word for it.

See for yourself.

Today’s “06880” podcast is just 13 minutes — the shortest I’ve ever done.

Yet it may well be the most powerful, important and inspiring of all 62.

Wynston, his mother Lynda Kommel-Browne and trained communication partner Elisa Feinman joined me last week at the Westport Library.

I visited him at home a few days earlier. We chatted for nearly an hour.

Because of his motor control issues, typing is not easy. But every word was his. Watching them emerge on screen was profoundly moving.

The podcast shows him typing answers to the first couple of questions. Verso Studios producer David Bibbey edited the rest, for ease of viewing.

I hope you’ll take 13 minutes to watch the video below.

You won’t hear Wynston’s voice.

But you will never forget his words.

13 responses to “Special “06880” Podcast: Wynston Browne

  1. What a shame, and what an awful parental and public school oversight, that Winston’s extraordinary mental facility was overlooked for so long….one would think that the most basic observation of his behavior and response to his surroundings would have at least prompted some further investigation of his considerable capabilities long before now.

    • You watched that and that is what you came up with? A condemnation of his parents? They were new to this too when their child was born and diagnosed. Their world was turned upside down. I am willing to bet they did all they could based on the knowledge they acquired to try to make their son’s life as good as it could be. More power to them for keeping up the good fight to ensure that their child and others like him get the best shot at life that they can get.

      • Thumbs up, Dan D (& Dan W)

      • hmmmm; I understand your take away from my comment, Dan, but I was not condemning anyone; simply trying to feel what Wynston must have been feeling all that time he was being treated as less than he is….

  2. Jan Degenshein

    Wynston is an inspiration for all of us. In his endeavors in neuroscience, I predict that he will discover inroads into the full spectrum of everyone’s means to communicate. It will have a profound impact on how we all teach, learn, and interact. In the process, he will expose and obliterate prejudices that have no place in our lives, and help us all celebrate inclusivity.
    Congratulations, Wynston, on your courage and tenacity.

  3. Eric Buchroeder

    It was only 50 years ago that kids like Wynston and my son Bryan were sent to Newtown and put in padded cells. We have come a long way. My wife and I send our love and congratulations to Wynston and his parents.

  4. Wynston’s family must be so proud. He is lighting the way. Thank you Dan. Very inspiring.

  5. Linda Pomerantz Novis

    Yes, Another Thumbs up, to both Dan W. & Esp. Dan D-:-)

  6. Tracy A Flood

    Bravo Wynston and family and speech partner. Keep fighting- sadly it is still an uphill climb. You are remarkable xoxo Tracy

  7. I’m curious to hear from Wynston at what age he realized he possessed an intellect others did not recognize in him… and to better prevent this from happening to others of at least that age, what clues he thinks educators might look for to better recognize said ability?

  8. Mary Palmieri Gai

    Way back in the day…like 30 years ago…people were
    Finding results with Facilitated communication. Some thought it was wishful thinking. It was a similar thing with a communication board. Annabel Stehli, a Former Westporter, wrote “the sound of Miracle” where auditory training was used to help her autistic daughter get trained about what to hear…how to hear. (Some autistic kids can hear their own blood coursing through their veins) Georgie is married with children today. I’m so thankful and hopeful that this could be another key to open up people with all types of Neuro diversity like my son Michael. My heart is a bit more hopeful today.

  9. Mary Palmieri Gai

    Another recommendation is watching the story of Temple Grandin, who I had the privilege of talking to years ago when my son was quite young. I needed answers. She helped me understand. The movie made about her life is quite incredible. She invented a device that squeezes her body to make her calm and stable. I’m simplifying it but I think clothing with compression may be helpful too. She has her phd!!

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