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"A Light Inside Her"

By Dr. Hamsterfuzz

"Cindy" has severe autism and had been restless and hard to reach. She had pulled onto the floor everything in the room that wasn't securely fastened and a guard was stationed just outside to keep her safe and prevent her from leaving. We were told by the nurse that we could try this particular room, but that we probably wouldn’t succeed with an interaction.

When Dr. Loopy and I entered, Cindy was rocking back and forth in a chair with her back to us. We approached, calling her name and talking to her. I began juggling scarves while Dr. Loopy played the guitar. Cindy ignored us so we came around, sat directly in front of her, and continued to juggle and play music. Still no interest. About to leave, I instead reached into my pocket for a magic trick called a D'Lite, a fake thumb that lights up your thumb when you press it. Dr. Loopy had one, too. I slowly reached out, being careful because some children with autism don't like to be touched, and extracted a red light from the tip of Cindy's finger.

"Did you see that?" I asked Dr. Loopy. "She has a light inside of her." "Wow," said Dr. Loopy, "That's amazing!" Cindy began to engage.

Cindy's interest grew as Dr. Loopy and I passed the light back and forth and then took turns throwing it up in the air and catching it. I put the light back into Cindy's finger and then Dr. Loopy took it out again. Cindy rocked backward and let out a long, hearty laugh. Dr Loopy passed the light to me and I put it into Cindy's finger, saying and visually demonstrating that she should pass it on to Dr. Loopy. She raised her arm and pointed her finger toward Dr. Loopy, who took the light and passed it to me. We passed the light around and around. Each time, Cindy reached out her finger to receive the light and then again to pass it on, stopping only occasionally to let out a peal of laughter. The guard was intently watching us through the window: this was the first time he had seen this level of connection with Cindy.

It was time for us to leave. "We'd better put it back; it's her light and I think she'll need it," I said, reaching toward Cindy's finger one last time to return her radiant light.

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