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Autistic Girl

You MEET people at their own level, just as you don’t discuss philosophy with a baby learning to talk . . . you make NOISES at the baby. Now there was an autistic child at Arizona State Hospital. $50,000 had been raised and the child had been sent to Chicago for very special care. And a lot of psychiatrists, psychoanalysts worked with the child until the $50,000 was gone and they sent her back completely unchanged. One of my patients was rather lonesome and she liked to be a do-gooder and she visited the Arizona State Hospital, saw that ten year old girl, and finally persuaded the authorities to let the girl go for a walk with her. And that girl went with her, grimacing, and mouthing sounds, and grunting, and twisting and acting very peculiar. And this patient decided to bring her to see me. She brought her in. She had told me first about the girl and I told her, Yes, I’d see the girl. I assured her I couldn’t take the girl as a patient but I’d see the girl once. And she brought the girl in, and introduced the girl to me and me to the girl. And the girl made a number of weird sounds and so I REPLIED with weird sounds, and we grunted and groaned and squeaked and squawked for about half an hour. And then the girl answered a few simple questions and very promptly returned to her autistic behavior. And we really had a good time squeaking and squawking and grunting and groaning at each other. And then she took the patient back to the hospital. In the ,night time she took the patient for a walk. She told me later, “that girl almost pulled my arm off, yanking me down the street, she wanted to see you. . . the one man who could really talk her language

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