She babbles and spins and rocks in place as I rehearse in my mind, her history, as we wait our turn on the healing line.
(“ Hi…her name is Rita and he’s autistic, she doesn’t speak she just makes babbling sounds, and she has this thing (I look at the See it/Say It communication device) that she carries on a shoulder strap, that she uses for communication. I’ve been working with her since she was three, now she’s nine, (I’ve been in the field 30 years, myself) and I’ve worked with a lot of people with autism and now I’m training people to work with them . I’ve taken all these pictures for her of her favorite places so she can transition from one place to another. And see this, this is a token strip, and this picture of her doll means that she can earn it after she has earned these tokens, when she has had good behaviors. And…what else. Oh yeah…she does these behaviors they are called stims (that is short for self-stimulatory behaviors) and she spins around sometimes on one foot, and she flaps her hands, but when I say “hands down,” she puts them down sooo fast..because she knows me and if she doesn’t do that, she knows that she loses a token and she can’t get her reward, and that’s called “response cost,” and she knows that she better behave or that will happen. And…”
(Rita presses the “excuse me,” icon on her See it/Say It ).
“I have something to say,” the electronic voice says through a speaker on the device.
“Wait, one second honey, “ I say, as I “power down” the device. “I have to make sure I tell Pastor everything…so…he can help you.”
(So…what else…oh.. yeah…”When Rita was born, she was “normal” but then when she was about a year old something happened and she started to not speak, and her mom told me that’s when the rocking stuff and she seemed not to hear her mom anymore when she talked to her. But that happens sometimes with autistic kids, but they really are not deaf, they only appear to be that way…)
“Step up! Come on..right here..right here!” Says one of the men directing the line.
“Come on Rita,” I pull her along and her little legs leave the ground as I half-carry, half pull her to the front of the line. I pick her up and side step all the people who are laying down, some who look like they are having seizures.
“It’s o.k., honey, they’re all right,” I say to her as I feel her small frame tense.
One of the men motions us to move into first position and a woman comes over to us. And I see Pastor approaching but then he moves away from us and goes to the next person on line. Then a woman who is trailing behind Pastor stops in front of us. I recognize her from the healing crusades I’ve seen on
You Tube. She is one of his prayer warriors. I feel my heart sink a little but I there to do a job so I look at the woman and begin my speech.
“Hi..this is Rita and she is autistic and…”
But the woman ignores me. She places her hands on Rita’s head. She takes a breath and says,
“Father, heal your daughter.” And I feel Rita’s body go limp in my arms, and then she begins to shake. And I look at the woman and she looks at me and then suddenly her hands on my head and she says, “Heal him too, Lord.,…of himself.”
And that’s it. I’m gone. I feel a warmth, a power surging through my body and I can’t stand andI fall back , and for a second I panic because I still have Rita, but then I feel these arms catch me/us and bring me to the floor.
And I can’t move and feel Rita on me. I hear feet shuffle around me and I hear Pastor’s voice. “Bring her to me..” And I feel movement around me as Rita is lifted off me. “And I want to get up so bad to see what’s going on, but I can’t. I can’t move.
“Touch her again, Jesus,” I hear Pastor say. And then I hear….
My mind wakes up. I still can’t open my eyes. I feel her near me. But there is no movement. No spinning, no rocking…just…her. Standing. Quiet. Then I hear the words, but they are not electronic.
“I have something to say,” her sweet little voice says. I feel a wave come over me, and something inside of me breaks.
All rights belong to its author. It was published on e-Stories.org by demand of Joseph Trance.
Published on e-Stories.org on 24.05.2009.