Excerpts from  

Take Him Home and Love Him . . .

A story of autism and how to cope with it.

by Mary Ann Puckett


"Before Stephen was born on September 11, 1981, my mother-in-law sometimes alluded to my excitement over his awaited birth. She would sing a few lines from an old song entitled "Paper Doll." The beginning lyrics are, "Iím goiní to buy a paper doll that I can call my own, a doll that other fellas cannot steal." It always seemed to be an appropriate song for the anticipation of having my own little doll.

To our surprise, on the way home from the hospital after Stephenís birth, my husband turned on the car radio and "Paper Doll" began playing. We had not heard that song played on the radio in many years, and we have never heard it played again since that day. I knew then that I had my own little doll to dress up, play with, and call my own. But, I didnít realize at that point that it would be for the rest of my life."


"At the Child Study Center, Stephen was examined by a number of doctors. Over a period of weeks, he was given a series of tests, including a CAT scan, blood tests, and an electroencephalogram, or EEG. After all the testing was completed and reviewed, the medical team met with us for an evaluation of the results.

I remember how strangely quiet the room seemed. The doctors walked in and sat silently at a table, looking through Stephenís test results for what seemed to be an eternity. I was very anxious to hear what they were going to tell us. One of the doctors finally looked up and said, "Take him home and love him. We donít know what else to tell you."