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A Son Who Does Not Know How to Ask/ The Jewish Week

A Son Who Does Not Know How To Ask

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Elicia Brown

Elicia Brown
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Elicia Brown
Special To The Jewish Week

It began as the typical nightmare of so many parents, but concluded with an unsettling twist: Danny, age 3, had made his way through the door, down to the building’s lobby and out onto the lively sidewalks of Manhattan. By the time Hannah Brown found her son, in a shop near her Upper West Side building, she was beside herself. But Danny? He registered no concern.

The experience served as one of several wakeup calls that Danny was different from other children, that Hannah’s first-born child — though he spoke some full sentences even at the age of 1, though he liked to cuddle, loved to hug — was, in fact, autistic. The experience also informs an introductory scene in Hannah’s debut novel, “If I Could Tell You,” just published last month by Vantage Point Books.

“In 1999, no one really knew what autism is,” says Hannah, who moved to Israel with her Israeli husband more than a decade ago. A former columnist for The New York Post and a current media critic for The Jerusalem Post, Hannah turned to fiction to write about what she calls “the most dramatic thing in my life — autism,” believing the genre would allow her to show “a whole broad range of what it’s like to raise a kid with autism.”

In her novel, Hannah (no relation) draws much from life. She really knows a little boy who compulsively draws accordions, but can’t tolerate their music. She really knew a little boy (her own) who referred to his bald baby brother as “Moon,” despite the commonly held conviction that autistic children lack imagination.

 

To read more, go to: http://www.thejewishweek.com/features/all_she_wrote/son_who_does_not_know_how_ask

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