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And Love Was All He Said - Growing Up Autistic 
by Michael J. O'Reilly

ISBN 1-58898-147-9

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From the pen of silence comes a thundering sound. It shakes our traditional concepts and turns our expectations into whirlwinds. What is this before us but the sounds of silence battering our fragile egos.
It all started with an “A” word, the kind of word mothers and fathers dread to hear. -a word describing the hurt of one in four children in modern America. The word is “autism,” that mercurial, slippery designation stamped on the hearts and souls of the innocent because for some unknown reason, their internal wiring has gone awry.

Autistic souls are mute, distant, reveling in solitary romps through time. They have their own world, curtained, sterile and stark. They never leave it. We dare not enter. Yet we claim to know it as deserted, dark, barren and at times ominous.

“Not so fast.” says poet Michael O’Reilly. “It’s not at all what you think. Pull back the layers of prejudice, ignorance, cold bias and touch me, hear me and above all, love me. Because I am you. You are me. The only difference is I am wounded. And it’s not my fault.”
Michael’s haunting poetry will change the way you look at autism and those you believe to be mentally marginal. He has molded the very language we take for granted and given it a soul we notice perhaps for the first time.
No one poem in this collection will be enough. Once you start reading Michael’s poems, feel his pain, share his insights and walk his angst, you will never be the same. For from the barren plains of autism, by the river of his dreams, Michael O’Reilly will prove to you what the great Teilhard de Chardin once remarked “Once you discover love, you will have discovered fire for the second time!”



Out of curiosity you may pick up Michael O'Reilly's book. Yet right from Michael's opening poem the reader becomes immersed in the true-life story of a keen mind trapped in the body of autism. The depth of emotion - anger, frustration, pain, joy and most of all, love - jumps from the pages. His poetry encases the reader with the depth of his passion for life. His poetry urges the reader not to just read, but to listen and hear the sacred story of someone who walks with autism. Michael O'Reilly is truly a courageous man for he lays himself bare for all the world to see and quite a man he is. This truly inspiring book offers hope to all those inflicted with a debilitating handicap. And Michael's book is an inspirition to all us "normals" of the indomitable human spirit. Michael is truly a "Kissable Soul".  by Chaplain Bob Cassidy, cassidyr@stjosephs-marshfield.org 04/16/01


Born in New York City in 1976, Michael O’Reilly was your normal, wide-eyed youngster until he reached the age of three. At that time, his parents noticed he began to withdraw and suffered selective mutism. The teacher at the pre-kindergarten class suggested Michael be tested and after several trips to various pediatricians and psychologists, it was determined that Michael was afflicted with a serious case of mild autism.

mikeoreilly_lg.bmp (138054 bytes) One day, Michael learned Facilitated Communication, a skill being taught to autistic children to enable them to break through and reveal their genuine selves. The scientific basis for this technique was developed out of the University of Syracuse. Michael’s dad learned as much as possible about Facilitated Communication and to his delight, found in Michael an apt and enthusiastic student.

Michael surprised his dad one day and told him that he wanted to leave his special education school and enroll in the local high school. Within two years, Michael graduated and was awarded an accredited high school diploma.
Michael then told his dad he wanted to go to college, so he entered Albertus Magnus College in New Haven, where he honed his writing skills and won the admiration of all for his unusually brilliant poetry.

Even his professor, a one time Broadway playwright, singled Michael out and lauded his extraordinary writing talents.

Several of Michael’s poems have been published in the Albertus Magnus yearly poetry special.

Michael offers this selection of his work to the general public because he sincerely believes he can make a difference not only for autistic persons, but also for each of us battling our own individual handicaps in life. For Michael, handicaps are challenges love can conquer. 

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