I’ve heard it a lot. “I wish you would write a blog”, “Why don’t you start a blog?” And truthfully, I’ve started many times, but have never actually jumped off into publishing it, because I was fearful and busy. And that combination will literally stop you from doing everything. I am still a little scared and I am also still very busy, but I’ve decided to not let that stop me this time. I also understand that I am at least a decade late to the blog game, but I still read them and I think they continue to have relevance.
So, what do I have to talk about? I hope lots of things, but I absolutely know that the main focus of this will be life with autism. I love to read, travel, and cook. So, I feel like recipes, trips, and book reviews will probably be sprinkled in. Autism is the underlying current of so many things in our lives – good and bad. The past year has been the best and the worst and I have a lot to say, but also I am tired and a little speechless. Because of those feelings and many other reasons my life has a tendency to be binary and that is okay.
I will slowly retell our story from diagnosis until now, but I want to start with this story.
Everett has never really been into fantasy or make believe. His brain has never really understood it until recently. One thing that I think is misunderstood with autism is that there isn’t a finish line to development. We spend so much time talking about the delays and where children aren’t, but what isn’t discussed is that they continue (or at least Everett) to develop skills and abilities forever. As I’ve compiled videos to share, it has brought awareness to how much progress he has made in the past few years. He won’t make any progress in one area for a year, but then will explode with skills. It is just the nature of this process. And if you are early in the therapy process, understand that this is a marathon not a sprint. You may not see any progress (and sometimes regressions), but you can’t stop. You have to keep going.
Everett has always loved Thomas the Train. And the creators are always coming out with a new movie that has new characters (aka new merchandise to sell). So, Everett’s new favorite train is Yong Bao the Hero. He is from China. Everett loves Yong Bao. In fact, I think we have at least four of them. And he treats Yong Bao as if he is alive. Yong Bao sometimes goes to school. He sometimes shares Everett’s water. He sleeps next to Everett every night. This morning Yong Bao was left in the car from the night before, and Everett had to rush him back in the house. As he unbuckled his seat belt and bolted out the door back into the house, he said, “Yong Bao, you can’t go to school today. It’s too dangerous for you.”
But my favorite thing about his pretend friend is that he wants me to take their picture all of the time. Here are a few samplings of our Everett and Yong Bao photo shoots. I can only think of teenagers and their staged friendship photo shoots that take multiple takes, filters, lots of poses, and captions to go along. Enjoy!