On World Autism Day, I try to give an update on Everett. I am so glad to tell you that he is doing fantastic.
For the first time since he was 3 years old, we are not in any therapies. This has been a big transition for us, especially me. I never wanted to stop because of what a huge resource it has been for our family. But he was ready and it was time. For the past year, he was going to grief counseling. He had some major breakthroughs of understanding death and the process of it which has been so helpful. He talks about his dad and other family members that we’ve lost daily, and it is with more understanding and much less frustration. He still has immense sadness, and he handles it appropriately.
He started high school in the fall and absolutely loves it. Most days on the way to school, he tells me that “I’m a high school man”. And then often includes Everett telling me that Jack is a high school man too. I’m grateful for teachers, administrators, and students who support and care for our special boys. One of the classes he is taking is Art. He really enjoys it and this fall he came home with a painting of a truck that I thought was fantastic. A couple of weeks later he came home with the painting of a train that was also really good.
Everett loves to reenact and make up stories with characters from whatever books and shows (mostly Thomas the Train) he is currently watching. He calls many of our family members by specific names from the books and shows. Everett has a memorized phrase that he says to each person he interacts with regularly. It’s his way of having a conversation where he knows they know how to respond without having to keep spontaneous back and forth interactions going which is hard for him. I had the idea that he could paint everyone in the family a picture of what he associates them with and give it as a Christmas gift. Everett was excited about this process, so I bought the supplies and a few days before Christmas he got to work. I tried to help by organizing it and helping the layers dry before he started on new colors. My help went over like a lead balloon, and let’s just say like lots of good art in the world there might be some rage sprinkled in to the inspiration. He did quite a few and we ran out of canvases and hope to do more for next year.
Here are the ones he gave out at Christmas with a little description.
I wish I had done a better job of taking photos of Everett giving these out at Christmas. It was really special and I can’t wait to spread more love and joy that way. The best part was how proud Everett was of his paintings. While he was working on them, he was talking out loud about how each person would react when they opened their gift.
One of the biggest myths about Autism is that there is a lack of connection and that couldn’t be further from the truth. Everett is deeply loving and connected with his family, friends, and teachers. He stretches me to be my best everyday, and I love getting to be his Mom. Happy World Autism!