Autism Treatment Center of America®

Son-Rise: The Miracle Continues

Chapter 6 XI

The frenetic pace of change and growth did not let up for Raun or for us. We introduced new toys and games and created more sophisticated social interaction during our sessions with him.

A new volunteer joined our program: Victoria, a very energetic young woman with enormous talent. She could express more beauty with her movements than an accomplished poet could create with words. She used sound and motion to express her feelings and thoughts, oftentimes spitting out wild ideas faster than a perpetual-motion dream machine.

She became an instant friend. Big Vic or Vikki, as we called her, had worked with handicapped and emotionally disturbed children as a music and dance therapist. She loved the accepting attitude that underlay our program and wanted passionately to work with Raun.

"Hey, take it from me, no one out there thinks about loving and honoring children. In all the schools and facilities I've ever worked in, all they want to do is change the kids - or leave them to rot. You talk about Raun like he's - he's a real person, worthy of respect and thoughtful consideration. Wow, he's like an honored guest in your lives. I wish someone would treat me that way." She paused and laughed. "Fat chance!"

Vikki's aggressive stance did not mask her caring. This incredibly vivacious human being had a soft and gentle side. Her blond hair capped an impressive physical presence; her blue eyes danced wildly in their sockets. We spent over a full week training her and teaching her how to internalize the attitude underlying our program.

On her first day, in the bathroom, before Raun had really had the opportunity to know her, Vikki sat quietly in the corner and watched. Immediately after her entrance into the room, Raun registered visible discomfort. Nervous. Skittish. Perhaps, even scared. He paced back and forth between the tub and the wall, flipping his fingers in front of his eyes. So unlike the way he'd been in recent weeks - a fracture in his usual passivity. He began to cry and cry until his tears turned into hysteria. He sobbed and choked at the same time.

Vikki tried to approach him, to be with him and soothe him. In response, he banged on the door, hitting the door knob over and over again with the back of his hand. He wanted out. She opened it for him. Raun threw himself through the doorway. He scrambled through the house, searching frantically. Finally, he found what he wanted - Samahria. Running to her, he wedged himself between her legs and pressed his tear-streaked face against her thighs. His little hands clutched at her blue denim jeans. Finally, he wrapped his arms tightly around her legs. Samahria stroked his hair, and he accepted her affection.

In most families, such an event might occur many times each day, part of the unsung union between a child and parent. But for Samahria and for me, this was a very special and singular event. In the nineteen months of his life, Raun had never before solicited anyone for protection or for help in soothing his anxieties. It had never been a question for him. Indeed, it had never even seemed to matter whom he was with at any given time. He seemed to lack emotional bonds. But now a binding union had become solidified. For the first time, he had ventured outside of himself to form a strong, trusting attachment to Samahria.

For her, a mother who had waited almost two years for her child to seek her, to want her warmth and loving, it was a deeply moving, very personal experience. Her son was coming home.

Chapter 6 Part XII