An Autism Diary

A day in the life of David Hartley

Autism – It’s NOT who he is

First of all, I would like to thank all of you for your overwhelming and encouraging response to my last two posts about David’s Autism (1, 2).  I have to admit that those were hard for me to write at first, but seeing that the posts were helping people made it so worthwhile.  I was so tired when writing the second part though (boys had kept me up all night two nights in a row…) that I missed one of the major areas that defines David’s level of severity.  His almost total inability in the self-care/hygiene department.  Between his fine motor problems, sensory processing disorder, and cognitive delays making it hard for him to understand what’s happening, getting even the simplest of hygiene taken care of can quickly turn into a nightmare and involves me having to brace him/hold him down while also trying to clean him up (teeth, bath, washing face, and don’t get me started on that hair…).

“Live in wonder. Laugh out loud. Love with your whole heart.” Fits my David perfectly. : )

For this post though I want to shift the focus onto who David is, in spite of his Autism.  I feel that whenever one has to take a cold hard look at reality of a serious and sometimes debilitating condition, it’s always wise to balance yourself back out by looking at the child personally.  It helps rekindle some hope that may have weakened and definitely helps in the smile department. : )

David has been severely affected by Autism, but that doesn’t mean that’s all there is to David.  He struggles in more ways than the average child his age but there is so much more to David than just his setbacks and challenges.

David is sweet, caring, loving.  And when he’s decided to add you to the circle of people he loves, it’s an honor not to be taken lightly as it doesn’t come easily.  When he puts his trust in you enough to love you, he is giving you his whole heart and his whole world.  And I’m telling you it’s a beautiful gift to receive. : )

He is full of life and adventure and treats everything he encounters with true excitement and passion.  Whether that’s a good thing or not depends on what he just encountered. 😉 lol  And David loves to learn even though it is difficult for him.  He never gives up and always strives to get things right.  He is always so eager to get into his worksheets, coloring books, and learning videos and there is nothing that he loves better than getting to go on an outing where he can learn more. 🙂

David playing with Grandma and Joy (an old stuffed animal from when I was 5) : )

Even though he may not understand most humor from others, David loves to laugh and can be very humorous and entertaining.  He is also very playful and has a great imagination (his doctor said that will be his strongest tool in his fight against Autism).  Between the two, he can put a smile on just about anyone’s face.  Even the grumpy ones. lol  I’ve seen him do it. : )

He is compassionate, honest, sincere, and trustworthy.  He may not always get the facts straight, but I can tell you confidently that when he misses one, it’s an honest accident vs a purposeful attempt to lie, deceive, or manipulate.

He is helpful and is always striving to please me and other respected people he’s allowed into his life.  He longs to see our smiles and to know he has made our lives, or even just our days, at least a little easier/better. : )  If only I could get him to understand though that as much as I appreciate his help, he enriches my life just by simply being in it. : )

my little artist : )

David loves music and can really get lost in it, just like his mom. : )  He loves to dance, rock, sway, and even “sing” along when he can.  We’ve had many the moments were a song was just too good to ignore in his opinion and the next thing I know I have a young boy breaking out into a dance style all his own in the middle of an isle at a resteraunt or store. lol  He tends to be extremely shy about me trying to record his dancing though so I have precious little recordings of it.  He is also a passionate artist and loves to draw and paint any and every chance he can get.  An old magnetic doodle pad has proven to be the best thing I ever got him (I can’t tell you how many walls and appliances it has spared lol).  He’s on his third one now too. lol

He also loves animals too and is very protective of them once he bonds with them.  Which can actually not be that great at times considering he has also “bonded” with some crickets, spiders, and other bugs that got inside the house. lol  I have been quickly and firmly instructed to leave his “friends” alone on many occasions as I tried to get the critters back outside (or squished if I think he’s not looking).  He has even named a lot of them.  The times he did that got interesting and challenging real quick.  Oh dear lol

Over all I guess I am trying to show that although David has his struggles, and even though those struggles can be intense and interfere with his life, my precious son is so much more than that.  Something I hope one day will be easily seen by all who he encounters. : )



  1. marciakayx

    Wow. Thank you for sharing your wonderful boy. He really is amazing!

    • Thanks : ) I’m pretty proud of my little guy 🙂

  2. anautismdad

    I wrote a post once that I was the father of a child first and foremost and then the father of an autist. I always need to consider Xave’s autism, but by recognising him as a child first is to make him more than just a label.

  3. sherry

    a very touching post.

  4. Tasha

    Truly beautiful!! It can be frustrating at times because you want everyone to see what your child is truly all about!! They are not just their challenges and sensory issues. There is soooo much more. But just as you have said there is only an elite group that ever gets the privlege to truly see this!! Thanks for these words this morning!!

    • you’re welcome and glad you liked the post. : ) Thank-you so much for your comment : )

  5. He has a strength about him which shines out of his handsome face.

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