An Autism Diary

A day in the life of David Hartley

Sweet Progress

David with his teacher, Mr. Hahn

David with his teacher, Mr. Hahn

My son got to be a part of a big ceremony for belt advancement at his martial arts school last night. 🙂  He just earned his first step up and is now proudly wearing a white belt with an orange stripe. ^_^  He got a cool certificate of achievement with it too as well as a new book and a special patch to add to his uniform.  Empower Martial Arts‘s Tiny Tigers program has been such a great addition to our lives here.  David’s teacher and two others who have stepped in as mentors for him and to help him out have been helping David reach so many goals, his brand new belt being just one of them. ^_^  Last night was definitely a night worth celebrating and I couldn’t be more proud of my boy and how far he has come. ❤

He still has severe Autism, his communication ability still is largely based in scripting skills and echolalia, he still has regressions that set him back, he continues to struggle with staying connected in “our world” so to speak, and many other issues.  At the same time though, he has made a lot of positive ground overall and I have his teachers and mentors at Empower, and the programs they have helped me and David participate in, to thank for a lot of it.  I even was able to trust David to walk to the car and retrieve something on his own!  He was in sight the entire time of course and I was sitting ready for an emergency knowing he could run off on me, but the hard work, heart, and influence that his teachers/mentors Mr. Hahn, Master Beisel, and Mrs. Beisel have been putting into him paid off in a tangible way tonight with him successfully staying focused long enough and well enough to complete his mission without incident! ^_^  I am so very proud of David and am looking forward to more progress and celebrations. 🙂  In the meantime though, here are some pictures to remember last night with. ^_^

David during the actual ceremony.

David during the actual ceremony.

Posing with the three who helped make it all possible :)

Posing with the three who helped make it all possible 🙂

celebrating afterwards at Applebee's per David's request

celebrating afterwards at Applebee’s per David’s request

close up of David's picture drawn at Applebee's

close up of David’s picture drawn at Applebee’s

David's old belt, and new awards (patch, belt, certificate, and book)

David’s old belt, and new awards (patch, belt, certificate, and book)

Close up of patch

Close up of patch

close up of certificate with patch and new belt in corner

close up of certificate with patch and new belt in corner

Congratulations David!  We are all proud of you :)

Congratulations David! We are all proud of you 🙂

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7 Comments

  1. Congratulations, David! You ARE the man! So is your dad. David, I love your art work and the way the people are visible right through their clothes. That says it all! 🙂 It’s what’s inside that counts, yeah?

    Your pal,
    Talmage

    • Thank-you very much. 🙂 I need to clarify that isn’t his dad (it’s his teacher) in the pic. I really appreciate your kindness and encouragement though. 🙂 David started dancing and smiling real big when I read him your comment. 🙂

      • That’s Mr. Hahn. I should have noticed. He’s lucky to have a student like my good pal, David. 🙂

        Years ago I read a wonderful book called, “Thinking in Pictures,” written by a woman who’s on the spectrum. She is unusually gifted with visual designs and understands the emotions of animals, especially cows. Here’s a link – though I bet you’ve probably already read the book: http://www.amazon.com/Thinking-Pictures-Expanded-Edition-Autism/dp/0307275655

        Thank you for posting pictures and blogging about David. He’s already helping other people with that handsome face of his and the strong thumbs up. Thanks for the thumbs up, David. I feel it! 🙂 I totally feel it.

        Talmage

      • Thanks for telling me about that book. I will definitely check it out. 🙂 And thanks for the encouragement too. It’s humbling but encouraging to know that my son and I can help and encourage others here. : )

  2. Teresa

    GOOD JOB DAVID!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂 You have done very well! 🙂

    • thanks ^_^ Did you notice the part about him not running off too? I was so nervous to let him try, but he did it! 😀 He is coming so far. 😀 🙂

      • Teresa

        LOL! I did 🙂

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