Recently, I got to spend time with our cousins' oldest son, Dusty. He has Autism. I've been his cousin for 8 years now (Derrick's side of the family), and over the years, I have learned lots from this guy.
First, I picked up Dusty from his mother, and he already knew what he wanted. He wanted to sit in the back, not up front!!! He sat back there and looked at Nicholas, who was sleeping, and busted out laughing. He took Nicholas's toys that were laying in the back seat and put them so gently in the carseat with Nicholas. Then on the last toy he picked up, he stopped and stared at it, then begin smiling so big! I was happy he was happy!!! It started raining, and Dusty watched out of the window. Then I remembered having a sunroof. I slid back the inside of it so Dusty could see up, and he kept watching and watching. It amazed me that he was so amazed. When we got out at my house, it was still raining, and I said, "Come on Dusty, hurry!" He just pulled back my hand, walking ever so slowly, and smiled. He wanted to feel the rain. The simplest aggravations to me were the biggest pleasers to Dusty. We should be pleased with the simple things!
I also learned that Dusty is an excellent babysitter! He played side by side with Nicholas for 2 hours!!! Nicholas enjoyed watching him, and everytime Dusty got a toy, Nicholas wanted it...and vice versa!!! haha.
Another thing Dusty taught me is simple is good. I was showing him all of these different toys and things I thought he'd enjoy, and he went for the simplest things, and was the most entertained.
Also, we are creatures of habit. After I picked Noah up from school, which thrilled Dusty, we went back to our cousins' house to wait for their return. He walked in the door, changed from pants to shorts, went back to his room (which is where I saw these signs) looked around, and walked back to the living room, plopped down on the couch, and watched Tom and Jerry....laughing almost as loud as I was!!! I'd say he has his own little "home" routine!
Lastly, I have said this numerous times, but if Dusty had any other parents, he probably would never be as well off as he is. Autism is a serious, difficult condition, but his parents (and younger brother!) have made sure he's always had the best care, attention, and love. His mom stepped up to the plate, and made sure he'd have every opportunity as any other child. Of all of the mom's I know, she is at the top of the list for "most admired." His folks are so good to him.
If you never do anything else for me ever, please watch this 6 minute video. It features Dusty, and his teachers and parents! You can see his smile, and see why my heart melts everytime I see it!