Ronald Autry has always been called Ronald, never Ron or Ronnie, during the years that we have known him. We have spent time with his family in Vermont and visited them in Des Moines; we have spent hours doing jigsaw puzzles with Ronald, who is is a master of puzzles. We are the fumblers who lose pieces, which he ardently seeks until he finds. As he grew up, we often observed his parents’ mix of frustration and hope.
Until I was involved with Emory University faculty in a project on “The Child in Religion, Law and Society,” I would have called the now 24-year-old Ronald an autistic child. No more. Colleagues at Emory have pledged to look at the whole child first, and only then to deal with the problems each child has. To these professionals, the child is not an autistic child, but an individual mystery, rich in potential.