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A + for The A-Word: The most authentic look at Autism on screen.

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I worked for several years with a succession of autistic children—which mostly means boys—kids who were mainstreamed in regular education classrooms, with a classroom aide assigned to shadow them. That was me, the shadow. 

We also lived next door to a family who had an autistic son who became one of our son’s closest playmates, until we moved away at the end of elementary school. Chris, with his funny idiosyncrasies is the source of some very sweet memories, as well as moments of high drama. That’s what you get with autism, children who can be deeply involved when their needs and passions are directed and shared but who can sometimes find it frustrating when those needs are brushed aside. 

It’s typical for an autistic child to want to talk about dinosaurs—or whatever the passion is—and be frustrated while the rest of the kids have moved on to another topic. The autistic child is focused on that stegasaurus and exactly how cool it is, just not quite getting that the others don't shar…

#ThrowbackThursday: Turkish Delight

It’s #ThrowbackThursday and I don’t think I could throw it back any further than this, my earliest memory. 

Turkish Delight 

There's darkness everywhere, shapeless black all around except for a blur of wavering yellow light in the distance. Something has woken me up. Muffled voices in the darkness; a man's—deep, hushed, whispering. Then another—higher pitched, a lady's? My mother's? I hear my name, "Simone" but I can't make out the rest; just sharp, staccato sounds. A shadow crosses the yellow light, so huge it blocks the brightness, and there's nothing but blackness again. The dark shadow, darker than the darkness, is moving fast, coming closer, heading towards me and I'm too terrified to move or breathe or close my eyes. If I stay perfectly still maybe it won't get me. I watch as the black blur moves towards me, growing larger as it comes closer and closer and just as it reaches under the blanket to scoop me up with its big hands, I want to cry because I can tell from the smell that it's my father. "It's Daddy" he says, pulling a blanket around me, and I relax into his arms. I still can't make him out properly but I know it's him, the way his neck feels, warm and bristly, the way his skin smells of cigarettes and Brylcreem.  He moves with me toward the yellow light, and I see now that it's the ceiling lamp in the hallway. There are tiny bugs frozen behind the frosted glass just like always.
Read the rest of the story [here ...]

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