An Autism Diary

A day in the life of David Hartley

David’s Princess :)

To Princess Dakota : )  Thank-you for your kindness and friendship : )

To Princess Dakota : ) Thank-you for your kindness and friendship : )

Ok, this post was a long time coming.  Ok, maybe not a long time, but it is still overdue.  Life always picks up when I stumble upon a great post idea. lol 😉  A big thank-you to the family for letting me share this here too. : )

The other night, while eating at our favorite local fast food place, Taco Shop, a little girl quietly came up to us and said hi.  She then asked David, who was currently climbing all over my mom at the moment, to play with her.  David did jump down and look at her and started talking about his trains. lol  We guided him through saying his name and asking for hers and as soon as she said her name was “Kota” (short for Dakota) (please forgive me if I am spelling her nick name wrong) David started squealing in delight and jumped back up on his grandma (my mom) and said, “Kota! Kota! I talk to him!”.

This immediately made us all laugh and me to jump in to correction mode as I helped redirect him to say “her” instead. lol  He then jumped back down and started going on an echolalia based rant about his trains and playing with them and wanting her to play with them and what all their names were, etc, etc. lol  She was so patient and kind with it all though and eventually I was able to get David to stop long enough to ask her what she likes.  Always working on those social skills. lol  He also was flapping, and jumping, and giggling, and grinning from ear to ear the whole time.  He doesn’t have many experiences with kids his age being kind to him and wanting him around.  And he was loving every second of sweet Dakota’s attention as a result. : )

Dancing together

Dancing together

Soon they were talking about a mix of  Dora the Explorer, Diego, animals, and of course the ever-present trains. lol  Lots of cute exchanges back and forth too that I wish I could have recorded for you all to hear.  Especially the ones where David took things too literally or didn’t hear everything quite right. lol  A good example of one of those was when Dakota and I were talking about Diego’s Jaguar and I reminded David how he calls the Jaguar a spotted cat and out of nowhere David snapped back at me very crossly with, “She is NOT a SPOTTED CAT!  She’s DAKOTA”.  This had us all laughing again for sure as I tried to re-explain myself.

Soon after this, David grabbed Dakota by the hands and placed one arm around his waist and the other on his shoulder and proceeded to dance with her to the music coming out of the overhead speakers. lol  Dakota didn’t miss a beat either and joined right in once she figured out what he was doing.  It was sooo cute. 🙂  Her family got video of it and I got a few pictures (only one came out right from them dancing though) (hoping to get the video soon 🙂 ).  When they stopped, David bowed down in front of her and said, “thank-you you’re highness”.   We all smiled and chuckled at that and the ever sweet Dakota returned his gesture. : )

resting together : )

resting together : )

This soon evolved into them both just grabbing each other’s hands and dancing together in between the two tables while singing their own music.  Dakota singing a beautiful version of “You Are So Beautiful” by Joe Cocker while David sang various Thomas the Train songs. lol  Neither one of them seemed to care they were dancing to different songs or even different beats as they both just continued happily along with each other. : ) Afterwards, David stood there silently for a little bit then must have decided he was tired as he suddenly laid down.  Dakota looked at him, shrugged her shoulders, and then quietly decided to join him as she laid down right next to him.  It was such a beautiful and kind gesture. : )

My favorite part of the evening though was when David decided she must be a princess. : )  It was so cute and so precious and he is still fully convinced of it.  His reasoning, I later found out, was that princesses are kind, love animals, and make good friends. lol : )  I have to hand it to David on that one.  Based off that definition, Dakota is indeed a princess. : )  And a beautiful one at that. : )  Such a sweet girl was in our presence that night, and neither David nor I will ever forget her gift of friendship. : )



  1. Now that I think of it, he had a couple of dancing positions he put her in. lol Including the classic one hand on his shoulder and the other in his hand. : ) That form was used the most. : )

  2. marciakayx

    So lovely. I am sure Dakota and her parents were as enchanted as you were. I know I am!

    • definitely a fun night for us all : )

  3. Wonderful. Proof that this boy is going to find his way and be happy with support from his Mum and all the many people who care about him. One of my gentlestitches comments is “we are all in this together” and we are.

    • so true : ) on both subjects 🙂

  4. caffieneplease

    Yes!! I’d say she is an angel as well as a princess. There are many caring and kind kids out there. They make such a difference to our kids who struggle with the social stuff.

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