In this emotionally charged memoir, Hall tells the story of her first 15 years with her severely autistic son.
The author was a successful acting coach for children in feature films and television. In her mid-30s, intensely spiritual with strong ties to her Jewish religion, she also felt the pull of motherhood. When that didn’t pan out, she and her husband adopted a two-year-old boy from a Russian orphanage. When Neal started to display autistic behavior, and Hall moved past her denial, she had the good fortune of hooking up with a doctor who counseled loving engagement with Neal—not to control, but to seek understanding—something that struck a familiar note from her professional work. Here she details the process of broaching Neal’s protective sequestration. She has gainful experience—even wisdom—to impart, as well as the engrossing tales of the intense realities of living with an autistic child, including the constant search for caretakers who appreciate “that the seemingly bizarre behaviors of autism have meaning and purpose.” Hall excels in capturing the piquancy of the Russian orphanage, the explosiveness of Neal’s caustic tantrums and, most impressively, getting readers into her son’s head to recognize the profound mental energy involved in organizing each little step of activity and the excruciating pain that attends sensory sensitivity. Answering a felt need for community, she started The Miracle Project, which brings autistics and their families together in a safe, dynamic environment to foster creativity through the theater arts.
A moving, unvarnished look at living with autism and a helpful guide to action.