There is such thing as a tesseract. – Madeline L’Engle
I thought about A Wrinkle in Time tonight – in the most unrelated setting you could imagine. Tonight our family attended the opening ceremonies of Christopher’ baseball league. Families with children of all ages watched the kids round the bases as their names were announced, listened to a local school’s marching band, and ate pizza and snowcones. Afterward, the kids ran around playing tag, tossing baseballs, and jumping in the bounce houses. As I stood in the middle of all of this, something struck me. This was all so effortless for these kids. No one has to work with them to teach them how to interact with each other; they don’t have to be prompted to socialize, reminded to not touch strangers, or taught a script about how to speak to new friends. How is it that what comes so naturally to most children is so completely elusive to children like Michael? I watched him in the bounce house. He was having so much fun…………but it reminded me of those movie scenes where the focus is on one character and you see the characters around him fade away (supposedly in his/her imagination) leaving the character alone in a street or party or whatever. I wonder if that’s what life is like for him.
Getting back to my original quote……….I began to think tonight if somewhere along the way in Michael’s development, his brain “tessered”. In the children’s sci-fi story “A Wrinkle in Time” the main characters learn how to travel through time by way of a method called “tessering”. Tessering is explained to the children in the story as:
Mrs. Who took a portion of her white robe in her hands and held it tight.
“You see,” Mrs. Whatsit said, “if a very small insect were to move from the section of skirt in Mrs. Who’s right hand to that in her left, it would be quite a long walk for him if he had to walk straight across.”
Swiftly Mrs. Who brought her hands, still holding the skirt, together.
“Now, you see,” Mrs. Whatsit said, “he would be there, without that long trip. That is how we travel.”u see,” Mrs. Whatsit said, “if a very small insect were to move from the section of skirt in Mrs. Who’s right hand to that in her left, it would be quite a long walk for him if he had to walk straight across.”
I wonder if Michael’s mind “wrinkled” over that part of it’s development, as though it couldn’t be bothered with the long trip it would take to learn how to socialize normally. Unlike that insect in Mrs. Whatsit’s description, though, Michael’s mind didn’t quite get to where it was supposed to go quicker. I feel like his brain NEEDED to make that long trip – not tesser from one place to the other. He NEEDED to slow down and notice people, learn to acquire language, and pick up those social cues and skills.
There are people in the autism world who are obsessed with playing the “blame game”………..blame it on the vaccines, the environment, missing prenatal supplements, family members with neurological issues, etc. I don’t think about those things much. My focus is on how to help Michael now and in the future. But for some reason tonight, standing among all those families who never have to give the social and developmental development of those children a second thought, I got to thinking about all of this. As we know, when clothes “wrinkle” the fabric is all still there – just a little discombobulated. I believe that once we figure out how to smooth out those wrinkles, we’ll have the key to unlocking all that is hidden within these special children.