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Literature / In Two Worlds

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In Two Worlds is a novel by Ido Kedar. Anthony is autistic, nonverbal, and seemingly severely intellectually impaired. His parents, teachers, and therapists subject him to hours of miserable therapies every day, but he never seems to improve. In fact, Anthony is an intelligent boy who longs to communicate with others, but he is unable to control his own body, and lives at the mercy of its impulses. Until one day when everything changes.

In Two Worlds contains examples of:

  • Affectionate Gesture to the Head: Anthony's speech therapist Cindy ruffles his hair in front of his mother. In fact, she doesn't like him at all, but she knows he can't tell his mother what their sessions are really like.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Gary, who's three years younger than Anthony, likes to lord his superior abilities over him.
  • Baby Talk: Adults talk to Anthony in oversimplified sentences like "No eat sand, Anthony. No, bad. Bad." It irritates him so much he wants to eat more sand out of spite.
  • Character Tics: Anthony flaps to express emotion. Adults respond by saying "Hands quiet" without trying to understand why he's doing it.
  • Disappeared Dad: Anthony's best friend David's dad left when he was four because he couldn't handle raising an autistic son.
  • Double Consciousness: After he learns to type, Anthony feels out of place as both the only nonspeaking kid in his mainstream classes and the only verbal kid in the autism classroom.
  • Homeschooled Kids: After David was first mainstreamed, he was mistreated by teachers until his parents pulled him out and homeschooled him. Eventually they found a more accepting school.
  • The Illegible: Anthony has made a few attempts at communicating through writing, but his motor skills are so bad that the results look like he was trying to hold a five-foot-long pencil by its end.
  • Meaningful Appearance: Gary has his bangs cover his face because he feels invisible and ignored because Anthony's getting so much attention.
  • Precision F-Strike: Bette, the "autism whisperer," treats Anthony in an even more patronizing manner than everyone else, and is highly dismissive of the idea that he might be able to communicate. When his teacher Miss Harris holds up the letterboard, the first thing he types is "FUCKBETTE."
  • Sense Freak: Anthony likes to retreat into Autismland, as he calls it, when he loses himself in the beautiful sensory patterns of his surroundings.
  • Sensory Overload: When Anthony is mainstreamed, he's allowed to leave class five minutes early to avoid the crowds in the hallways. Even with this accommodation, he often has trouble retaining his equilibrium.
  • The Speechless: Anthony and David. Anthony can make a few sounds, like "sah-weh" for "sandwich," but only people who know him can understand them.
  • Stroke the Beard: Anthony's classroom aide, Bradley, is a hipster who has a habit of doing this.
  • Tantrum Throwing: Anthony becomes so frustrated after yet another fruitless speech therapy session that he picks up a handful of marbles and throws them around the office. He's disappointed when his mother starts picking them up, as he wanted the therapist to have to do it herself.