The varied behaviors of autism make the disorder extremely difficult to detect. While some children acquire language and can play appropriately, others can be mute and play in odd eccentric ways. As with many other parents, Catherine Maurice (1993) was puzzled by her daughter’s peculiar behaviors at 1 year of age. Maurice (1993), however, brushed off any of her daughter’s behaviors to, “the uniqueness of [Anne-Marie’s] personality,” since, “she was passing her regular pediatric checkups with flying colors” (p.5).
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It was my father who gave me my first gut-level comprehension of the word ‘autism.’ ‘From the Greek for ‘self,’’ he said. ‘The same root as ‘autonomous,’ ‘automatic’: That which is self-contained, self-directed, self-motivated.’ … When had Anne-Marie shared anything with me in the past year? When had she last responded to me, connected with me? If there was anyone there at all behind that mournfully empty face, she was not reaching out to us in any way that I could see (Maurice, 1993, p. 32-33).