I have two good friends coming to speak for an autism group I have been volunteering for 6 years with POAC-NoVA tomorrow!
I am stoked because one of these people changed my sons life forever.
Previous to meeting David Hamrick http://www.weatheringautism.org I believed that if Bird worked really hard and tried his best he could hang clothes at a TJ Max as an adult and that my husband and I would buy the house next door (sorry Kim, we do love you but talked about buying your house) so that he could feel like a bigger guy even though he would be dependent on us for the rest of his life. I was not to horrified by this idea as I really would love to keep one of my kids forever but only if they wanted to stay and had the means to support themselves and be independent.
I met David at my first weekend Partners in Policymaking (PIP) an amazing 9 month class that teaches advocacy and legislation to parents with special needs children and adults with special needs. It was a life changing class for me but more on that another time.
Myself and thirty classmate who I would spend almost a year with sat down for a session and introduced ourselves to one another and told the class why we were able to join PIP. I wrote down each persons reason such as Beth Jarvis -son with Asperger’s syndrome, Adam Toobin- Cerebral Palsy, David Hamrick- Asperger’s syndrome and this went on for more than an hour. One of our instructors John Richmond was actually a student in the Loovas Study of 1987! Not a researcher or behaviorist but a child with autism! John looks more typical today than I do! He teaches in Richmond and has a radio show! I was stunned when I met him.
At some point a really tall and good looking David sat down next to me while we were still meeting one another as a group. I got up to use the rest room and call home to check on my kids who were only 5,5 and 6 years old when I started this class. When I came back David looked a bit sheepish and I noticed my paper had been….RED PENNED! DAVID RED PENNED my list of people correcting my spelling (always been really bad) and grammar (even worse)! I looked over at him with his little smile and said,”Thanks” sarcastically. Then I noticed he crossed off Asperger’s Syndrome and wrote HFA (High Functioning Autism). I looked at him and pointed to my paper and said, “No, Aspie” and he said,”No, autism. I did not speak until age 4.”
David is well dressed, extremely articulate, great public speaker and has a masters in METEOROLOGY, a job, drives a car and has a ton of friends! I could not wrap my head around the idea that my son who also did not speak until age 4 could have such an amazing life! OH MY GOSH! BIRD COULD BE HAPPY!
David and I have been very close ever since spending holidays and special times together.
David is now in a commited relationship with the super hot, very brave and extremely likable Lindsey Nebeker a hip chick with autism! On sight she is nothing like what I though a woman with autism might appear but again the spectrum is endless. Lindsey also did not speak until 4 and is now changing the face of autism and added to my list of very few very close friends who I love.
I wrote Lindsey this today.