An Autism Diary

A day in the life of David Hartley

A look at yesterday

For my first blog, I actually want to tell you about yesterday.  If I wanted to keep this place feeling like sunshine and roses I definitely would allow myself to conveinently skip this story as my blog didn’t even start until today.  However, one of the main purposes of this blog is to give an authentic look into David’s day to day life.  Both the trials and the triumphs.  The laughters and the struggles.  So here we go…  (I do promise they won’t all be this long by the way)

Yesterday (9-11-2012) was a day I agreed to help watch a couple of young boys aged 6 and 9.  It was only going to be for a few hours and they were very mature and respectful so I figured I could handle it.  I usually don’t agree to helping out with babysitting/kid watching because I already have my hands way to full with my two.  The original plan, since they were neighbors, was that I would just go check on them around dinner time to make sure they ate and then come back around bedtime to make sure they got ready for bed and went to sleep.  And then of course be on stand by in case they needed help or ran into trouble.  However, when their mom brought them over before she left so we could meet (the kids and I hadn’t officially met before) I was outside with David and Joshua and all four kids started happily playing with eachother so the boys decided they wanted to stay at my place.  I looked immediately at David and tried to assess how well he was adapting to the new people in his space and he seemed pleasant and playful about it so I agreed.  I guess my heart aches for David to be able to form friendships so badly I can still talk myself into believing new situations like this will go smoothly and have happy endings of new friends and future play dates and the like.  Sadly, this apparently is still not the case…

First off, let me make sure to emphasise how great and wonderful our two guests were.  They were kind, patient, respectful, and even for the most part calm.  The problem came with David.  He got really attached to them almost immediately which was evident when the oldest first tried to go back home for a little and David chased after him shouting “Don’t leave! You can’t leave!”.  I had to go after David and assure him repeatedly that his “new friend” would be back soon while I pressed my arms around him in a tight bear hug in attempts to calm him down.  This was the first glimpse of what the night was about to hold for us all…

Soon after that I took everyone to the playground behind our apartment to help them run off some energy and hopefully sneak in some vestibular and proprioception input for David (basically a lot of deep pressure and movement that’s helpful for regulating sensory systems) to help offset his overstimulation that was rising steadily with his excitement.  This worked well at first and I smiled as I watched my sons play with the two neighbors happily.  Climbing ladders, sliding down slides, balancing on the border “balance beam”, running around with each other.  For a brief moment I got to feel what I imagine most moms outside this world of Autism get to feel on a regular basis.  Simple enjoyment at watching my children play with their friends. : )  Soon though, even this was proving not to hold up as well as I hoped as the neighbors got bored and David was getting more intense and less socially correct (invading space, chasing too much, etc).  So with that we headed back home to the apartment where at least I knew I could keep track of everyone and we put on Toy Story 2 which turned out to be a favorite of all four boys. 🙂

Okay… everything seems to be going pretty smoothly so far considering the situation right?  Well… this is where the story starts to take a turn.




  1. marciakayx

    Bless your hearts, all of you! Cindi, you are a wonderful mommy. Please try hard not to despair. I know it is so hard and scary so much of the time. He is in there, in that little body, sometimes he can be coaxed out and others you just have to wait on him to appear but he IS there. I am so glad his little brother helps him so much. I know this was so hard for you to live through, I hope you find support and release through this blog. I am certainly benefiting by it. Love you!

    • I think the scariest parts for me will always be when he struggles with his communication. I’ve been there with a son that couldn’t tell me even the littlest thing and I don’t want to go back. It was so hard on David because I could rarely understand what he needed, wanted, or was trying to get across during the times he regressed enough to lose his speech.

      Thank-you for the encouragement and reminder. ((hugs)) I think back often to that same fact (he’s in there, he hasn’t disapeared) many times to get me through the rough patches. You have been a great and treasured friend to me who took the time to help me get this fact solid when we first got our diagnosis too and I am forever grateful to you for that. 🙂

      I’m glad the blog is benefiting you too. It is turning out to be a good release/sounding board for me as well. : )

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