Autism Treatment Center of America®
I_want_this_for_my_Son

Son-Rise: The Miracle Continues

Chapter 6 Part X

The following day, Samahria phoned me at my office. Her voice seemed supercharged.

"Bears, something's happening. It's not in my head. I can see it. Yesterday, he could track the cookie even after you hid it. Well, you know how he could only deal with one puzzle piece at a time and only with explicit direction. This morning, I tried something different. When I gave him the puzzle, I scrambled all the pieces into one big pile. Bears, Bears, do you know what he did? He worked it all out by himself -without any help or guidance! He matched every piece to its place, one after the other. It was awesome to watch!" She squealed, then laughed. "Do I sound like a crazy person?"

"You sound wonderful, just wonderful. I'm thinking -"

Samahria interrupted my sentence. "He can retain more and more. He's switched on like a thousand-watt light bulb! Oh God, I'm so excited for him - for me, for all of us"

All of our efforts had been dedicated to bonding with Raun in the hope of motivating him to pierce through the invisible wall of autism. His tiny steps had giant-sized implications now. The toys and games not only allowed us to join hands with him, but had become, finally, meaningful educational tools. If he could retain data and recall it, then his capacity to learn had increased tenfold. The depths of his mind had opened. In the midst of discussing possible ramifications, we both suddenly stopped speaking. In the silence, I could hear her breathe. In the silence, I could feel the intensity of our connection to each other and to the little boy we had just begun to know.

"You're doing a super job, babes - really, a super job." Samahria didn't answer, and I could hear her sobbing softly on the other end of the line. "Hey, I love you."

Another stretch of silence as she began to find her way back, gasping for composure. "Don't mind me. I'm really very, very happy and very silly. I'm just celebrating."

Although we both realized what this new milestone could mean, we encouraged each other not to form any expectations. Allow Raun to develop his own capabilities at his own rate, we agreed. We trusted that when he wanted to and could participate and learn more, he would.

The periods between those times when he appeared remote, aloof, and self-stimulating became noticeably more productive. He became increasingly willing to interact. In the park one day, he approached several children playing in the sandbox. When they offered him a shovel, he scooted away. But then, from a distance, he watched them closely. Perhaps, for the first time, those random, unpredictable events around him had begun to make sense. Several minutes later, Raun turned and looked directly at one little boy standing near the swings. He smiled at the child and then, with no apparent warning, walked right up to him and hugged him, placing his cheek gently against the little boy's face. The youngster became frightened and started to cry. Our son backed off immediately, confused and concerned. He mimicked his little friend - scrunching up his face as if he too were sad. After several minutes, when the other child stopped sobbing, Raun moved cautiously toward him again and stroked his arm. His new friend eyed Raun curiously, then smiled. With this act of communion, this sharing of affection, a very delicate and oftentimes frail human being had made his mark.

This day, the sun began to rise in Raun's eyes.

Chapter 6 Part XI