This picture was taken at Thanksgiving, and you can see its not usually what kids wear (or rather, don’t wear) at their Thanksgiving celebrations. What you can’t see is that right next to him is all the men in our family taking a big family photo together. Charlie wanted no part of it. We took this photo to at least have a pic of him on that day, despite the way we all were feeling.
This photo represents a time when Charlie’s Autism had taken over his whole self. His whole world. He refused to wear clothing because (and I can only assume this, because he was not verbal at the time) it hurt his little body just to wear sleeves, tags, waist bands. We could never comb or cut his hair, because he couldn’t handle the sensory aspects of it without total meltdowns. He refused to be in photos, never mind smile. His world was entirely separated from everyone else. He couldn’t tolerate our world, and he couldn’t even speak to express how or why things bothered him, so he’d just scream. All. day. long. Since he couldn’t tolerate our world and we couldn’t get inside his, he was isolated. His sadness, isolation and lack of joy broke our hearts every single day.
We were blessed beyond belief shortly after that Thanksgiving. Through the financial help of both sides of our family, Charlie started intensive therapies. He got the early intervention that so many children don’t. His brain not only healed, but he learned skills to cope with his sensory problems. He isn’t entirely in our world now, but the two worlds are finally connecting. We have finally met the son that was inside that little body all along. He’s passionate, loving, and a comic at heart. He finally found joy.
I realized after writing all this, that its only fair to post a pic of him now, to compare and rejoice. Here’s Charlie this past weekend, almost 3 years after that last photo: