There’s a terrific new book entitled: I am in here: The Journey of a Child with Autism Who Cannot Speak But Finds Her Voice by Elizabeth M. Bonker and Virginia G. Breen. The title is a line from the poem Me written by Elizabeth when she was 9. The story is yet another example of a nonverbal child with autism who was helped by Soma Mukhopadhyay’s Rapid Prompting Method. Elizabeth’s mother, Virginia has tried any number of therapies with the hope that something, anything will help her daughter. It is not a story about a cure, but rather a message of hope in the face of continual struggle and perseverance.
Virginia writes about using a three pronged approach in her battle with autism – Mind (academics), body (biomedical interventions and diets) and Spirit (the more difficult concept of something greater than ourselves, which Elizabeth seems to have a solid grasp of.) The mind, body & spirit concept particularly resonated with me as it was this very idea which captured my grandfather, Walter Paepcke’s imagination when he envisioned a place of contemplation and learning in his creation of what came to be known as the “Aspen Idea” more than 60 years ago in Aspen, Colorado.
I can claim full allegiance to the mind and body portion of this, however I must admit the spiritual piece continues to allude me. Though a close friend of mine said to me recently that for a person who professes not to believe, I certainly spend a great deal of time thinking, reading and discussing the subject. She then said, “It’s kind of like the wife who’s husband everyone knows is having an affair. She’s the last to know.” When I answered her with a perplexed look, she said somewhat exasperated, “Come on, Ariane. You’re the most spiritual non-spiritual person I’ve ever met.”
I’m pretty sure she meant that as a compliment.
For more on our journey with Emma through her childhood marked by autism, go to: Emma’s Hope Book