Autism Treatment Center of America®
I_want_this_for_my_Son

Son-Rise: The Miracle Continues

Chapter 6 IX

We began the eleventh week in the program. As I came through the side door after a day spent working in tinsel town, I bumped right into Raun, who had been standing by the table. He peered up at me very casually, brought his right hand up from his side as if to take the oath of office, and then moved his fingers up and down against his palm. My God, he was waving hello!

Dumbfounded, I waved back. He watched me for several seconds and then looked away. What a simple and profound hello - the best I had ever had! Three months before, if I had walked through the door and thrown a hand grenade, Raun would have never so much as flinched or looked at me. Now this little man greeted me with a sweet and understandable gesture. My number was coming in. We were both the winners.

There was still enough time for Raun and me to play our favorite non-game before Samahria put him to bed. I took a cookie off the counter and showed it to him. I put it in the center of the floor, calling his attention to it. Then, as he watched, I ever so slowly placed a newspaper over it, hiding it from his view. He paused, staring at the paper for almost a minute. Then, with very little overt expression of interest, he walked over to the paper and sat beside it. He studied the photographs on the front page. His glance moved slowly across the newspaper and lingered at the edges. Samahria and I looked at each other, waiting silently. We had seen him do this before, each night, without ever going further.

But then, with a careful movement of his hands, Raun pushed the paper aside, sliding it off to the right until he had uncovered the cookie. Without ceremony, he picked it up and ate it. A random accident? We could only guess. We held our breath, reviewing the event excitedly. Try again. Take the chance.

I took another cookie and showed it clearly to Raun. I put it on the floor in another part of the room and slowly placed another piece of newspaper over it. From the corner of my eyes, I noted his primal intensity like an animal poised to pounce. My neck tightened and a flutter of energy ran through the upper part of my torso. As soon as I stepped out of the way, he followed swiftly in my tracks, lifted the newspaper, and quickly plunged the cookie into his mouth. Amazing! He seemed filled with a new sense of authority, a new confidence. Had it really happened? Did this mean he could hold images now in his memory and use them?

I grabbed a handful of cookies. I put one under the base of a light chair in full view. He followed, quickly lifted the chair, and took the cookie. I put another on the counter out of sight. He again followed, lifted his hand, and felt around on the top of the counter, his little fingers walking across the Formica until finding their mark. He grabbed the cookie and rewarded himself. I placed a cookie on top of the chair. Another under the pillow of the couch. Another inside my clenched fist, which he soon assaulted and forced open. Determination. He found every cookie. We applauded and cheered him. We were drenched in our exuberance. And he was, too.

He enjoyed this game immensely, excited and eager to pursue and find the food. We played for over half an hour. Had I ever really believed that he would be able to do this? What a blessing to receive so much more than I had ever envisioned! Although I had always wanted Raun to find the cookie, I never felt disappointed when he didn't. We had taught ourselves and those who helped us to play the game of "what is," not the game of what could be or what might have been. No worry about the future. No regret about the past. Only loving Raun and working with him in each unfolding moment. That was the secret.

And now, suddenly, "what is" changed, and a diamond appeared in the sand.

Chapter 6 Part X