An Autism Diary

A day in the life of David Hartley

Falling Back, Looking Forward

There is so much to tell and yet I am finding it harder than usual to find the words to write.  I think my biggest issue right now is figuring out how to summarize everything and still make it understandable.

The biggest thing is that David has started to struggle again.  He’s been disconnecting more and more and his stimming (especially the flapping and spinning) has increased big time and his echolalia has started taking over more of his speech than usual.  Considering he’s already at a 80% level with his echolalia use, having that rise is a pretty impacting thing to have happen. 😦

I am trying not to worry about him and have been watching him more closely, but David has definitely gone downhill again.  He’s still the happy little boy that’s full of life and laughter, but his cognitive skills has taken a hit again, some of his memories have apparently disappeared or at least gone to a place in his mind where he can’t access them at the moment, and his over all muscle tone/control has taken a hit as well.  In other words?  David has had another regression… maybe more than one. 😦

Today we had another horse lesson and his set-backs and lost skills and abilities stood out like a sore thumb so to speak in that environment.  While reviewing the parts of the horse (flank, hooves, mane, etc) and while saddling up, he kept suddenly going into “disconnect” mode and would start spinning or flapping.  And twice he tried to suddenly run off today too.  One time he actually succeeded and almost got hurt and spooked a nearby horse in the process.  I had gone into the office area to help Joshua with a bathroom break only to hear what no Autism mom likes to hear.  The sound of someone suddenly screaming my child’s name with a slight panic in their voice and using the words “come back!” or “stop!”.  I got back to the door just in time to see someone catch him mid-run and take him back to his teacher.  My heart was pounding for sure.  He hasn’t tried to run before at the stables/ranch.  And when he was brought back, he seemed oblivious to and unaffected by the whole thing too which doesn’t help ease my mind any.

I was ready to end the lesson for the day right then and there, but when David seemed to calm down and return focus to his teacher, I let him continue.  And, as always before, once he got up on that horse’s back he was a whole different David.  I still can’t get over how much of a calming and “gathering” affect animals tend to have on him when he is struggling so much.  Especially horses and dogs. 🙂  He still struggled with focus a bit while up there though today, and his loss of muscle control showed up most while up there with his new inability to stay sitting straight in his saddle, but at least for that short time today, I had my David back in our world so to speak and was able to communicate with him clearly and he with us.

The teacher and I talked though after today and have decided to cut David’s lessons in half and just do them more often until he is able to get back in the swing of things.  We also are going back to the basics of his first couple of lessons until he can show signs of remembering and being capable of utilizing the skills he had mastered before.

It’s times like these that Autism fights to get me down… when I struggle to see past it and all it can cause and take away…

But that just means I look over at my sweet boy’s smiling face and set my ears to hear more quickly that infectious giggle of his.  That’s what helps keep me going.  My sweet David.  Fighter, hero, friend, precious son.  I will never give up hope. ❤



  1. Yikes. I had no words, only virtual hugs.

    • The hugs are greatly appreciated ❤ Thanks : )

  2. so sad and frustrating. xx

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