Please note: this book was originally published as Effervescence: A True-Life Tale of Autism and of Courage
Please visit Simone’s website to view more information, as well as TV and radio appearances: autismembrace.com or effervescentclarity.com
An excerpt from Autism: Hot Pink and Zebra-Striped:
Imagine a beautiful little girl, with long curly, wild red hair, spinning in circles, completely delighted by all that she feels! She wears a long, blue dress, a replica of the one Cinderella wore to the ball. As you watch her, you get the sense that she isn’t dreaming of Cinderella; in her heart and in her body, she is Cinderella.
Now picture the same little girl, lying on her tummy, spinning on a merry-go-round, dipping her beautiful, long red hair in the puddle of mud that encircles the merry-go-round. When it comes to a stop, she savors the wonderful sensation of the cold mud running down her face. She then submerges her entire body in the puddle, as happy as can be and entirely oblivious to the stares of the people around her.
Now picture that same little girl, in her comfortable home, surrounded by a family who love and adore her. Her mom asks a simple question, like: “Sweetie, what kind of cereal would you like?” Instantly, her beautiful face is filled with intense emotion and she screams, more like a wild animal than a child, for five minutes, or it may continue for two hours. The only thing that might interrupt the screaming is her stopping, occasionally, to frantically bite her wrist, hard enough to leave teeth marks.
Would it surprise you to learn that I have just described a high-functioning autistic child?
Now take a peek at the same child at age twelve, entering her classroom each day. Her teacher marvels to herself, as she watches this young girl navigate skillfully, smoothly and seemingly naturally throughout the classroom. Had the teacher not known her student’s history of autism, she likely would never have guessed. In her own words, the only time this teacher is aware of the child’s autism, is when she reads the amazing stories and illustrations created by this extraordinary girl. She would then muse to herself: “There is no way a “typical” grade-seven student could write and draw like this!”
Do you get the feeling that an amazing transformation has taken place? Is the child no longer autistic? Has she grown out of it? Has she learned through behavior management to “manage” it? Was she just “a little bit autistic” and now she’s “better?” There is no simple answer; autism is far too complex and diverse a disorder for it to be addressed so simply. But it is a fascinating disorder and this child’s life has been an incredible journey! Her name is Genevieve.