leo in bloom magazine


My Journey – by Jacob Gruen

Dear Friends,

I am so glad that you are enjoying these accounts of Speller beginnings! It has been a very full month for this Leo in Bloom issue, and we just have a couple more Speller authors to share with you.

Today I am happy to share the words of Jacob Gruen, a fellow Southern California Speller who I have had the pleasure of hanging out with at the beach in person with the Teva Community crowd and also at various events on Zoom (including Spellers & Allies Advocacy Network meetings)! I love that he writes about finally being able to express the experience behind motor loops, and about the newfound sense of pride that comes with communication. I also love that he talks about working with Debbie Spengler, who is an amazing practitioner and therapist and a very important person in my own journey!

Your Friend,


My Journey

by Jacob Gruen

I started spelling in my teens.  I am now almost 21.  It has changed my life profoundly.

In the beginning, it was a lot of work to get my thoughts out.  I didn’t realize it could lead to such robust conversations.  I thought it was just another way that I would be taught, not that I would be able to communicate freely.  I did not realize that I was not limited in the least. 

I have a motor loop that impels me to put too much toilet paper in the toilet.  One morning, it happened before we left to work with Debbie Spengler.  When we arrived, Deb asked “How are you guys?” and my mom responded that “It had been a rough morning.”  When I sat down to work with Deb on a lesson, I instead launched into an explanation of the morning’s events that lasted for the entire session.  It was as if the floodgates had opened.  I started to spell and have not stopped since.

I was recently asked when did S2C take off for me.  I replied that it was when I realized that I could say anything. 

I have a deep sense of pride that I am smart and capable and am able to do anything I put my mind to doing. 

I am so grateful to Deb and to I-ASC for helping me find my voice.  I am so grateful to my mom for never giving up on me. 

About Jacob

Jacob Gruen is an almost 21-year-old speller who lives with his parents in Los Angeles, California. He began spelling four years ago and became open in 2019. He attends Access2Academics (A2A.) He is a classic rock nut and loves to paint abstracts.

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We welcome submissions from nonspeakers and will consider submissions from speaking allies. Our issues come out every 2-3 months; the next issue will be on TRAVEL for July 2023. Please feel free to contact us here to pitch a submission!

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