Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Frequently Asked Questions Series -- Why Did You Give Antoinette the Ability to Heal?

I'm asked this a lot.  Honestly, it was the one part of the story that I really worried about.  You see there's this (mistaken) belief that everyone with autism has some type of Rain Man-like ability.  They can sketch realistic pictures after a single glance.  They can pound out a Mozart symphony after hearing it once. 

The truth is that just as there is a range of abilities among neuro-typical people, there is also a range of abilities among those with autism. 

Because I didn't want to perpetuate that myth, I struggled with the decision to give Antoinette the ability to heal.  In fact, I almost didn't.  But for me, it can down to one thing: Antoinette’s healing ability isn’t about magic.  It’s about control.

One of the things people with special needs often face is a lack of control.  It can be extremely frustrating.  I see it in my daughter Grace.  She can’t control her own body.  She can’t speak. She can’t use a fork or a spoon to feed herself.  She’s thirteen and still in diapers.  Often, she gets incredibly upset over the things she can't do.   

Antoinette has similar challenges.  She's locked inside this body she can't control and she can't even voice her frustrations.  Add to that the incredibly scary fact that her mother is dying. 

I wanted to give Antoinette something she could control.  What she wants most in the world is for her mother (Rose) to live.  So I thought, why not give Antoinette the power to make that happen?  Antoinette can pick and choose who she heals.  Although she can’t say the words, “I love you, Mommy,” she can express her love for her mother by attempting to heal her, even if it’s at significant cost to herself. 

Ultimately, healing is an issue of power.  So many other things have been taken from Antoinette.  I wanted to give her power over the one thing that matter most to her--her mother's life. 

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