Paranormal Dice

by Nancy Bekhor

From left: Dale, Marley

That afternoon, on Special School  pickup, I was greeted by a brand new sight.

My son, 17 year old Marley, was teaching 14 year old Dale, the ipad game, Ludo. His teacher and vice principal were looking on.

A year ago, Marley would not have understood any of this… neither the  playing nor the explaining. Add to that, neither reading or writing. Entertaining others was a strong desire, but without coherent speech…he only had an audience of one. Anyone who cared enough to try to listen.  Whilst art has always been his prolific medium, he has rapidly begun developing speech, logic, sequence over the last couple of years. Textbooks list those with autism coupled with epilepsy in the most challenged bracket (read: too limited to develop significantly). The establishment view is: If you miss early childhood intervention there is only a significantly open window of development till adolescence! After that it’s over.  False! I say.

In some cases, its simply ‘more time to develop’ that’s required. (depends on the control or otherwize of the seizures)

Now back to the game of Ludo…

All the children fascinate me so I stepped over to watch, to learn, to get to know who Dale is…

What I saw was impossible!

Follow me on this: It was clear that Dale did not yet understand how the game worked. Press the dice, it rolls. Press the highlighted piece, it moves.There are no choices when only one piece is in play… easy right? Pressing as he went, Dale trails behind the automated moves saying to himself, “Where do I go?. Where do I go now?”

Now the impossible stuff happens:

Marley had 3 pieces in play. Dale rolled the first dice and he knocked Marley’s piece back to Start. His next roll knocked the second piece back, and his 3rd, the last one. Then he proceeded to roll 6 after 6 and ace the game. I did not need my university study of probability theory to tell that these odds are… yes, impossible.

I was astounded. This child seemed to be controlling the dice!

Then his mother walked in. I turned excitedly to tell her what happened.”He doesn’t even know how the game works!”He doesn’t even know the number the dice must roll, yet the dice rolls utterly in his favour everytime!”. “What is that?”, “Who knows what this ability to ‘know’ something with out ‘knowing consciously’ is for?”

His mother looked blankly at me.

I had to up the ante… more at stake would get her attention!

I glanced at the state of play: Dale was about to enter his final piece into the winners lane. Marley had one piece right outside of there.

In the next roll, if true to form, Dale would knock Marley’s piece off, prior to winning the game.

I turned my back to the game and folded my arms across my chest.

“Watch him throw a 3”, I claimed.

The dice rumbled as it rolled….

“He got a 3”, she called.


{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Kevin January 24, 2012 at 9:29 am

Excellent blog, will follow and check back often. Can’t wait to hear more.


Tom Anderson January 26, 2012 at 7:43 am

Thanks Nancy.

Nothing ceases to amaze me with Autism and nothing surprises me when Marley is on the case. My love to you both


Lyndal Davison April 2, 2012 at 10:16 am

Nancy, this is a great little taster for the direction in which you intend to take this blog, (and other related future projects,) on the subject of Autism. I get a real sense of where you are coming from and am left waiting impatiently for more insights and more amazing characters to get to know.


Kim Burford May 2, 2012 at 6:48 am

Hi Nancy. I provided respite care for Marley about 9 years ago. I remember those times fondly. I remember how much he loved Thomas the Tank. I now have a son who loves him too! I am reminded of Marley every time it’s on the tv! Hard to believe so much time has passed and Marley is grown up. So glad to find you are both doing well and I wish you all the best with this project.


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