Background to my interest in teaching children with autism

About two weeks later, Felicity was asked if he would accept a new patient to his Behaviour Therapy Unit. There was a vacant bed and the chief psychiatrist seemed to think the patient would be an appropriate case for the Unit. Without further thought or question, Felicity agreed. However, he was rather busy at that time and so he was unable to get up to the Unit to meet the patient for a couple of days. This gave the new patient time to settle in and to hear from the other women on the Unit about the weird magician under whose care she had been placed.
After she had been there for about two days, Felicity made arrangements through the nurse for the patient to remain in the Unit at a certain time so that she and Felicity could meet. Felicity arrived at the appointed time and walked into the large dormitory. The new patient, and she was Veronica, was coming toward the door from the far end of the dormitory as Felicity entered. She saw Felicity and stopped in her tracks. Felicity saw that something was wrong, and he stopped in his tracks too. There followed the most terrifying three minutes Felicity has ever experienced. Of course, he is unable to state whether the time involved was one minute or one hour. He was transfixed.
As soon as Veronica saw Felicity she froze in obvious panic. Felicity waited and watched to see if he could discern the nature of the problem. What he saw was a young lady rapidly aging in front of his eyes. Her eyes became glazed and dry, like those of an old person. Her skin started to dry out and to shrivel up as deep, grey furrows etched themselves on her face. Her breasts visibly drooped under her loose hospital frock. Her legs and arms lost the fleshy look of youth and became skinny and tendinous like that of a very old person. Her soft brown hair streaked with grey. And her whole body seemed to draw itself inward as if losing much of its flesh and fluids.
By the time Felicity had come to his senses, Veronica’s whole appearance was that of at least a 65 year old lady. In perhaps three minutes, her appearance had aged by easily forty years. Felicity grasped that there was nothing he could do to help Veronica, and that his presence obviously had something to do with her unbelievable transformation in terror. He turned and fled the Unit, found the nurse, rushed her into the dormitory and alerted the medical staff.

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