The Diagnosis

A young child plays on the floor with cubes of varying size. Grasping two, he pretends they are fighting. Another one says “vroom!” like an automobile, wrecking into the other two cubes as he gestures explosions. “Pshooooooaaaaa!!!” He looks at his mother, then at the neurospecialist, smiling and clapping at his cacophony.

The specialist stares into his notes. The mother peeks over his shoulder.

“Mommy! Mommy, hey! Mommy!” Finally she glances over, but her son seems fine, in no immediate danger, so she awaits the diagnosis.

“I’m sorry Mrs. Carpenter. He shows all the signs. He is NOT autistic at all. We must begin intervention immediately.”

"This is more the results we're looking for, Mrs. Carpenter. Does he like spinny things?"

“Hmm. No autism here. Does he ever seem to line up toys? This is more the results we’re looking for, Mrs. Carpenter. Does he like spinny things? Opening and closing?”

FLASH! It’s Flash Friday, the day when Seeking New Earth authors write short stories up to 1000 words (“flash fiction”) or 110 words (“microfiction”). Both are sure to instigate the imagination and stimulate the synapses. Did you like what you read? Want to explore the story some more? Or maybe you want to try your own hand at some flash fiction? Leave us a comment below!

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2 responses to “The Diagnosis

  1. This reminds me a bit of the Twilight Zone episode “Eye of the Beholder” — what is desirable changes, and often enough “normal” – even if it is maladaptive — is seen as the desired outcome.

    As you’ve noted, there are some benefits to those with autistic minds. There are also some drawbacks, of course.

    Have you read “The Speed of Dark” by Elizabeth Moon? It may be of interest to you — “what if someone could cure autism? Should such a cure even be offered?” A great, great book that explores the issues.

  2. I think my favorite part of this one is that little hint we get – the mom’s reaction. We’re told at the end what makes this world different from our own. But mom’s detached reaction to her son, SHOWS us one way that plays out. Yay for showing!

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