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Son-Rise: The Miracle Continues

Chapter 6 Part XIII

Raun sat on the back seat of my bicycle during an early-morning ride. As we pedaled through the neighborhood, Bryn rode alongside on her five-speed racer. Raun sat quietly, staring at the trees and houses as they flew by. The motion captivated his attention completely. He slid into a peaceful and meditative state. We arrived at the park, the very same one where the word autism had sprung to life in my head.

The previous two and a half months seemed centuries away from that time. Yet, as I put my son on the swing and looked intently into his eyes, I realized that, although his progress had been dramatic, sometimes spectacular, Raun's normal operating capacity remained far below that of other children his age. In language and sociability, this nineteen-month-old boy continued to function at an eight- or nine-month level. Only his large motor skills and some small motor activities were appropriate to his chronological age. His development of motor skills and reflexes had far outpaced his development in all other areas.

As I reviewed our journey with Raun, many delightful images flooded my mind. No matter how the world might label my son different, handicapped, or retarded, I wanted to stay in touch with his beauty, his singularity, his daring, and his accomplishments. When physicians, family, and friends deemed him terrible and tragic, Samahria and I created a different vision, seeing in him a child of beauty and wonder. I knew our son was neither terrible and tragic nor beautiful and wonderful. Those words reflected beliefs - what we chose to make up about the little boy we saw. I really liked the vision we had created; it brought us happiness and hope and freed us to try for more when others counseled us to turn away.

Initially caught in the grip of his own inertia, Raun had moved down the human river and allowed himself to float more into the mainstream. He had even learned to jump the rapids, and to use the currents to his own advantage. He had begun to make the world his, to be with others, to permit contact, and to express some of his wants. He had reconstructed his nervous system, opening the door to memory by learning to retain objects in his mind. For a severely autistic and functionally retarded little person, he had performed mind-boggling mental gymnastics, all of which would serve as foundations for future expansion and growth. At the very least, these newly developed skills gave him additional know-how, additional ways to deal with himself and his environment.

If he moved no further, I would feel rewarded by our work, knowing that in touching our son we had touched what was most beautiful in ourselves. This he had given us, by being there - by being Raun.

Chapter 6 Part IX