Excerpt from Chapter 1, Hiding the Truth
No one knew what made me tick, not even Uncle and Aunt. Sometimes I cried because the kids at school and the teachers didnâ€™t like me. The school counselor told Aunt Harriet that I have a condition called Aspergerâ€™s Syndrome. Mrs. Bunker, my first grade teacher, had me tested. I remembered, like it was an hour ago, the day when we learned the results of the test.
â€śAllison is very intelligent,â€ť Mrs. Williams, the school counselor, had said. â€śShe has an IQ of one-forty-five, but she shows signs of Aspergerâ€™s Syndrome. Allison needs to be in the city where she can make friends and play with other children.â€ť
â€śShe has plenty of friends,â€ť Uncle Deb had said, scowling. â€śHalf the animals in the woods will let her pet them.â€ť
â€śMrs. Williams means children her own age,â€ť Aunt Harriet said. â€śI agree. We need to move into Puttersville.â€ť
â€śHarriet Gray, if you want to live in Puttersville, you can take Allie and go. But donâ€™t expect me to support you!â€ť Uncle Deb shouted, right in front of the principal, Mrs. Bunker, and
Mrs. Williams. Heâ€™d stalked off.
â€śIâ€™m sorry,â€ť Aunt Harriet said, shaking her head.
â€śAllison is falling behind in her school work,â€ť Mrs. Bunker said. â€śEvery time I check on her, she is drawing and not doing her assignments. She wonâ€™t look at me when I speak to her.â€ť
â€śAllisonâ€™s social skills are not commensurate with her age,â€ť Mrs. Williams had reported.
â€śShe doesnâ€™t play well with other children. She needs friends to play with.â€ť
â€śI do want friends, but the other kids donâ€™t want to play with me,â€ť I said. â€śSo I draw.
Someday Iâ€™m going to be a famous artist.â€ť
â€śAllison is a great little artist. You should have seen her snow sculptures of animals last winter,â€ť Aunt Harriet said. â€śThey looked so real.â€ť
â€śMrs. Gray, Iâ€™ll ask our special education teacher to write an Individualized Educational
Plan for Allison. Sheâ€™ll call you when it is ready, and you and your husband can come and sign it. It will contain goals for Allison getting her work done in school and socializing with other students.â€ť
That was six years ago. Did the goals work? Maybe I did a little more schoolwork because my teachers gave me extra time to draw after I finished my assignments. But did I make more friends by my thirteenth birthday? No one was coming to my party.
That night, I wrote my first entry in my new diary:
Uncle Deb and Aunt Harriet fight all the time. About me. Aunt Harriet wants to move so I can have friends. But will I? The same kids who live in town go to school with me, and theyâ€™re not my friends. So I donâ€™t think moving will change a thing. They wonâ€™t play with me, so why should I play with them? Sometimes Iâ€™m sad because I donâ€™t have friends at school. But other times I donâ€™t care. I donâ€™t need them if they donâ€™t want me.
The fire that burns within me drives me to draw and paint. Someday Iâ€™m going to be a famous artist. Iâ€™ll have my own art gallery and charge other artists to display and sell their paintings. Everyone will want his picture in my gallery, and I will be the artist everyone talks about.
â€śAllison,â€ť Aunt Harriet yelled through my bedroom door. â€śCome get your socks and put them away like I asked you to.â€ť
â€śSorry, I forgot. I locked my diary and put it on the shelf in my closet, then went to get my socks. How can I remember to put away socks when I have no friends and no one came to my birthday party?