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Revealing Autism

Chapter 5

Secrets of autistic behaviour


She had phoned a few weeks earlier. I mostly listened to the story she had to tell, a long one, with many details.

She could not remember any problems during the pregnancy, the birth was a little longer than normal but the doctors did not consider it unusual.

A few months later the child showed the first symptoms of a problem; she noticed them but the pediatrician just laughed at her. This was followed by a sudden arrest of any development in speech and by stereotypical behaviour. After several hospital visit and examinations to specialists, finally the verdict had been pronounced: autism

As I was trying to remember all the details I sat down on one of the divans in the lobby and once more gazed out of the window. What a contrast, I thought, between the beautiful play of light on the water at the repetitive, desperate behaviour of an autistic child. What harmony and beauty, what imperfection and incoherence.

Suddenly I just felt powerless. What could I tell the child’s mother if she asked me how much of the beauty and wonder of the world, as it lay before us, her son would ever see or understand?

In the terrace window I saw a reflection of a mother a child, the child dragging his feet as if he did not want to walk.

When the boy was in the middle of the lobby he let out a scream that froze the room. The hotel porter looked up but something stopped him from making any kind of comment or reproach.

Even in his mother’s arms, as she moved forward to escape hostile glances, the boy continued to make noises and to bight his left wrist.

I rose and went toward her, although I realised it might make things more difficult. Just as I had feared, the boy became more agitated, although I had only smiled and shaken hands with his mother. I took her by the arm and steered her towards the corner of the lobby. It looked like the right place, a huge sunshade on the terrace cast a shadow across that corner of the room. It was cooler, without any plants and the table and armchairs were on a white carpet. We settled down and the boy began to settle, then the conversation began.

As often happens to people I talk to, after a while she smiled and asked me if my voice was natural. I have a low voice, which seems to inspire trust and serenity. My voice is just a natural thing, I do not change it. But it is a useful work tool. The first thing I learnt from Dr Delacato is that a loud or sudden noise can disturb an autistic child.

The above is an extract from the publication by Dr Antonio Parisi entitled "Children who do not look you in the eye" written by Dr Anna Lisa Buonomo.

Chapter Six - Neurological Organisation >>

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