power of language

Memories of mothers and daughters with autism exemplify the power of language

How can Emily take advantage of it if she’s constantly screaming?

This is a question that evokes violent memories of Valerie Gilpier, co-author of Emily Grodin’s mother, I Haven Buried Under Years of Dust. Emily was born with autism, and Valerie – along with her husband Tom – prayed for progress by taking her to various therapists during Emily’s 25-year life.

Emily’s symptoms are typical neuroatypical ones: compulsive behavior, physical arousal, self-harm, and destructive screams that disappoint Valerie’s countless daughters trying to fully understand her daughter’s feelings and thoughts. The setup looks simple and can also be predictable: a family routine, a true life story based on developmental disorders. However, the beautiful revelation of their stories cannot be found anywhere.

The story begins with Emily’s violent hitting, who attended the UCLA program for students with special needs. This is a blow to the family. Currently, he lives in his own flat, which is professionally supervised and holds the highest permits of all time.

But when Emily is in her mid-20s, her background with both attorneys Valerie and Tom is even more frustrating and optimistic that their daughter is making some progress towards independence. Rather, they discovered that his condition worsened with age.

It is not easy for Valerie to understand this, as she elaborates this in her memoirs. She feels her daughter walking away. She took Emily on a tour of Ireland that expanded her perspective on the world, even if Valerie thought this could be catastrophically alarming. But Valerie, who is told that at the time Emily is born, her daughter will never be able to communicate, Valerie is determined. And so, as it turned out, Emily.

As autism became better understood, Emily’s concept of intelligent and inaccessible antidote gave way to something narrower and more human. According to Valerie, a group of Emily’s behaviorists began treating her as if she was a broken horse – that is, a unique Pavlovian animal that could train.

Then Emily has a breakthrough. It is not as unexpected as it is deadly. But when it comes to the transformation of this sea, Valerie bravely chooses the official: she throws this post to Emily. Pieces of poetry, memories, letters and impressions flowed from Emily’s iPad. His grammar is flawless. The rich metaphor of his writings. It seems he’s not just a writer; She is a stylist here, the narrative undergoes a powerful transformation. Emily stops being the subject of the story and starts releasing her own version instead.

After caged her inner life for so long, her agency is on the brink of extinction. In a particularly touching episode, she describes her grandmother Valerie’s mother who started developing dementia. Seen through the lens of autism, Emily’s poem of mental impairment presents both her family and her own existence in a deep and cyclical way. This is fine. She’s beyond despair and wins tears.

Could our dream come true, will Emily finally be able to tell us about her life? Ask Valerie at the beginning of the book. The answer is no spoilers: yes, it does. But the fight and victory endured by the mother and daughter is much more than the journey of a rotten hero. After communicating with the outside world, Valerie has no idea what Emily is going to keep in mind: Will she be full of love? Is it hate? Is it full of chaos? Or worst of all … nothing full? The answer is not as simple as any possibility, similarly, no one can be dismissed by label or diagnosis. Finally, their stories are a gentle look at how language allows us to reveal our souls.

This is universal. Heartbreaking and bred in equal measure, I’m bearded under the Dust of Years, not only to find someone’s voice, but also to teach others to understand that voice – the whisper of reverse cry.

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