An Autism Diary

A day in the life of David Hartley

My Precious David: The boy behind it all

Thomas on the shirt and Woody tucked safely into the seatbelt with him 😉

With all the excitement and the ever looming “to do” lists surrounding our corn maze fundraiser these last couple of days, I haven’t been able to get a blog about David in.  So I thought I would take a few moments to share David’s side of all these adventures. : )

He’s getting excited about the fundraiser.  He knows how to say “Autism aware!  David’s team!” when you say it first for him (echolalia basically), but he’s getting to where I think he is understanding what it means.  At least it seems he’s starting to grasp the concept that people are coming together to help him get his dog. : )  He has really been wanting this dog too as he loves animals so much and he is starting to understand that the dog we’re trying to get him will help make it safe for him to go to the park more often and can help him when he’s struggling or just needs a friend.

The service dog hasn’t been the only thing on David’s mind though.  He’s still an avid Thomas The Train fan for one. lol  Just a handful of hours ago I was laughing with my best friend over how he incorporates so much Thomas phrases and sayings into his day to day life and interactions.  Most of them are just random quotes from the numerous movies he’s watched, but every once in a while he gets some new vocabulary from them that he can actually use in context.  My favorite example of this is how he uses the terms from Thomas and Friends to describe “happy” and “mad”.  For David, he honestly doesn’t understand those words, but he’s demonstrated clearly he understands the concepts behind them.  He just uses different words.  “Thomas words” as I like to call them. lol : )

“Happy” = smiling, “mad or angry” = cross.  It’s so cute when he does it too.  He still has such an innoncence about him and I honestly hope he never loses that part of him.  When he gets real upset he’ll be quick to tell me he’s cross.  However, when he’s been grumpy or is getting tempermental over something at the moment, I will ask him “David, are you cross?” and he will promptly say “No. I not cross.  I’m smiling”.  It’s like his way of saying he’s not really mad or angry with me and that he’s still happy overall.  These moments with each other almost always end up in giggle fits and tickle fights and I wouldn’t trade a second of them for anything else in the world. : )

Then of course there is always the Woody (from Disney’s Toy Story) obsession and the love of all things cowboy related. 🙂  He likes other characters and other shows too, but Woody is definitely at the top and Thomas comes in a very close second. : )

There are so many wonderful things about David that I long for those who encounter him to see.  Sadly, because he does struggle with his Autism so much, many strangers or surface level aquantances can never get past the book cover so to speak.  All they can see is the Autism, whether or not they’re willing or able to realize that’s what they’re seeing.  But what I see, and what those that have taken the time to draw closer to David, and take that “Third Glance” as it were (a phrase I learned from a wonderful blogger that you can find here), is a beautiful and passionate young boy.

David is one who has a passion for life that can’t be outdone and is matched by very few.  He doesn’t let his struggles keep him down and he has a heart pure enough to love unconditionally and forgive quickly.  He’s so adventurous and loves to explore.  He’s creative and talented and has on numerous occasions filled our home and surroundings with beautiful and colorful art.  We got to work on his “canvas” choices though as I rarely get to keep his art due to where he put it. 😉 lol

David is very smart, even though it’s hard to formerly test him and get good results.  He works hard on everything he does and loves to please others.  He always has Joshua’s back and is very protective of his fragile and easily frightened little brother.  He even helps Joshua in his schooling/learning as since they were both barely able to get around (and not even talking yet) David established a line of communication with Joshua that seemed almost surreal.  It’s like they had perfected the art of unspoken communication and brotherly love and bonding.  As they have learned to speak and have gained a voice, these ties and connections have only grown stronger.  It’s a beautiful sight to behold in my opinion. : )

There is so much more about David than I could ever include in one blog post (at least without turning it into a book 😉 lol) but I hope and pray this gives a good start for anyone wanting to take a closer look at this precious boy I call son. 🙂



  1. marciakayx

    Lovely! Just lovely! Thank you for sharing that part of David we don’t get to know.

  2. Thank you for sharing your personal life on here. By doing it I am learning more and more about Autism!

    • dogfordavid

      That actually means a lot to hear. : ) I am very glad I have been able to help : )

  3. Sherry

    Emily, just want you to know i have enjoy each & everyone of your blogs :)) your boys are precious & are lucky to have you. God Bless You & your sweet children.

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