noehl m. appileche
You walked into your office, and found a thick manila folder sitting on your desk. It wasn’t much of a surprise – you had been asked to help assess the new applicants for a scholarship to the school, and this was at least the third envelope you had seen just this morning. You slid into your chair, it creaking loudly as you leaned back to settle into what looked like an interesting read. You pick up the envelope and tip it, letting its contents falls into your other hand. To the credit of whoever gathered all this information, everything is organized into separate folders.
The first folder was labeled ‘BASICS.’ You fingered through the papers in there. The first was her birth certificate, confirming that Noehl Marienne Appileche was born on October 3rd, 2003, in New York City, to an Alexander and Karinna Appileche, at 7:38 a.m. She was seven pounds on the nose, a hair under twenty inches long. All of her neonatal testing was there, everything showing that she was physically healthy at birth. Following those was a death certificate, that of Karinna Bethany Appileche, who passed the same night of her daughter’s birth after severe complications. Reading that put a small knot in your throat, but you swallowed it down and continued on. There were a few CPS reports, mostly confirming the children were healthy when the single father applied for welfare from the state. Her school application was there, along with the scholarship application and a note, written by her father, begging to allow her in.
Her ‘MEDICAL’ folder was next. It was pretty thick, most of the papers with the same letterhead – Bellevue Hospital Behavioral Health Department. The very first page looked different, noted written in nearly illegible handwriting – obviously a doctor. Luckily, the page behind included those notes typed on a computer: “Noehl A. – age 3. Brought in by father. Lack of social interaction and speech. Repetitive head movements and rocking. Inattentive. Psychological evaluation performed. Patient diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.” A brief overlook of the Bellevue stack revealed them to be assessments – she must have been going there for some sort of therapy or treatment. They were recording her progress from her diagnosis, and according to the notes, she had come quite a long way. The last report indicated she was currently a “bright, intelligent, loving child with the ability to properly communicate with others.”
Keeping the previous items in mind, you continued to her ‘EDUCATION’ folder. You let out a sigh as you felt the weight of it. Opening it, you found a total of seven papers. Just seven. The first was an IEP plan from her elementary school – a personalized curriculum meant to help her succeed in school. And according to the following papers – yearly assessments by her teacher (it seemed like she had the same one from Kindergarten to fifth grade) – it was working. She had ended fifth grade with upwards of an eighth grade reading level, an average vocabulary, and (with a large amount of help) the ability to complete her math assignments. Those certainly seemed hardest for her. You pulled out a stack of post-it notes, quickly scrawled something, then continued on. It was troubling that there was nothing to indicate she continued on to middle school. Not a single transcript, not even a home-schooling notice. Her disability, more than likely, had something to do with that.
‘MUTATION’ followed. It was only a single paper, written by one of the professors who had gone to meet her in person, and took a history from her family as well as experiencing her gifts first hand. They typed, “Noehl, thirteen years old, has illusionary powers that are focused within the subconscious, although, according to family, she is slowly gaining conscious control of them. She is able to place her mind within an illusionary realm, to escape from external stresses or anxieties. She can bring others into these worlds by touch. Normally, they are incredibly simplistic, normally a white room with some books, painting supplies, or small toys. She has gained the ability within the last few months to control these illusions, but doing so shortens the span of them from hours to, at longest, fifteen minutes. She cannot consciously end these illusions, however. She instead snaps out of them, leaving her with a headache and fatigue. Watching them externally, it’s apparent that both her mind and her body are within these imaginary realms. After watching her hands repeatedly come together and apart, when asking her what she had been doing, she answered ‘reading.’ The motions witnessed were her turning the pages of a book. The mutations seem deeply linked with her autism, as, according to family, she tends to retreat within them more often when her autism is aggravated by chaotic or stressful situations.”
There was just a ‘MISC.’ folder left. You moved to pick it up, and all of the papers slid right out and spilled onto the desk. Photographs were spread out, pictures of a dark haired little girl as she grew from a baby to her current age of thirteen. Most pictures, at least the ones where she looked at the camera, she tended not to smile. She had an obvious love of the color purple – she was constantly wearing it, and her bedroom was decorated in all purple. And, according to the massive amounts of photos with her eating cookies and other desserts, she had a sweet tooth. A raggedy stuffed rabbit appeared within most photos; according to a note on the back on one photo, its name was Pookah. You held up one photo to get a better look at her. She was a cute little girl - dark hair down to the middle of her back, fair skin, slightly almond-shaped brown eyes. She was skinny, and still looked like a young child. Maybe she’d yet to hit puberty? She was only thirteen, after all.
Under all the photos was some artwork. You pulled one out, and marveled. If it wasn’t obviously in colored pencil, you’d think this drawing was a direct movie still from The Princess and the Frog. Another was a perfect replication of a scene from The Lion King. A small pair of letters on the bottom right corner, ‘NA,’ indicated that these were her works. You looked her others over for a little longer, then quickly put another notation on your post-it, before working to get everything back into the folder. Finally, they were all stacked, and back in the envelope. You carefully bent the metal clip to seal it, sticking your post-it note on the front before finding something in the drawer of your desk. You pull out a stamp, mark the envelope next to your post-it, before leaving the office and putting the envelope into an inbox on another door.
“Find math tutor. Encourage the arts.”