Siblings 'In Their Own Little World'

Posted: May 12, 2000

Melissa, 6, always has a sunny smile when she squeezes the hand of a stuffed toy and it says, "I love you. I'm your friend."

Her brother, Nathaniel, 8, stops and listens when he hears music on the television, with cartoon characters dancing. Then he'll pick up a rubber band and wave it around, like a flag at a parade.

These children are diagnosed with autism. The dictionary defines it as self-absorption and withdrawal into fantasy.

Their foster mother has a gentler explanation. "They're in their own little world. And you do your best to draw them out."

They attend a school where they receive speech and occupational therapy, and both take medication for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and have severe developmental delays.

Because of those delays, every small step is cause for celebration.

They are in good physical health and eligible for financial subsidy. A committed family is needed.

These children and others are available for adoption. The process usually takes 2 to 12 months. For information, write to: National Adoption Center, c/o Paddy Noyes, 1500 Walnut St., Philadelphia 19102, call 215-735-9988 or visit the center's Web site at www.adopt.org

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