Autism is a developmental disorder of the brain with no known cure. It manifests with different symptoms in every individual and that’s why it’s called a “spectrum disorder.” Autism Spectrum Disorder mainly impacts sensory processing, social skills development and language abilities.
At age five, Max was practically non-verbal, ate a very limited diet of ham, cheese and raspberry juice, didn’t sleep through the night, showed no love or affection, broke his toys, threw things, wandered off without regard to safety and had raging temper tantrums for seemingly unknown reasons.
By age seven, Max had learned to talk, enjoyed a varied diet (including veggies and fruit) and he was no longer spending 90% of his time in his own little world. He participated in our life, played with toys instead of breaking them, ran around with neighbor kids and was getting ready to start first grade.
Max is now 11 and attends public school, is 100% mainstreamed with no special services (no 504 plan, no IEP). My once non-verbal, “in his own world” son now meets standards in all core subjects. He also plays sports, has friends, gets invited to birthday parties and play dates, hugs me and tells me he loves me, creates cities out of Legos, draws, paints, sings, dances, earns an allowance by doing chores, walks our dogs and enjoys a very typical life.
In 2010, Max and I began making art together and it turned out so great that we took it around and sold it in galleries and art shows. I did the sewing and Max directed the fabric, design, color choices and embellishments. Together we scavenged around junkyards and beaches for found objects and drift wood and artists from all over the world sent us boxes of miscellaneous art supplies from their studios.
After our characters were made, Max decided what each one “said” and then we chose a piece of wood to fit both the piece and the saying and I stamped the words. (collaboration at its finest!) It quickly became a fun way to raise awareness for autism while making a little money to buy Legos and teach Max social skills.
MAX ‘N ME STUDIO WAS BORN…
Throughout 2010 we participated in fun activities with our art… like an exhibit at the Children’s Museum, exhibits at restaurants and this art show at the DubSea coffee shop…
(psst… like us on FaceBook to see more photos)
(see those floating social media icons?)
(we do book readings and speaking engagements and give the book proceeds to charity.)
(and KOMO made a short documentary about us which you can conveniently watch right now!)
“it’s awesome that you eat candy canes on your planet… but here on Earth we eat green beans and steak… so as long as you’re visiting, you might as well learn to eat like us, right?”
“oh, you don’t clean your room on your planet? That’s too bad ‘cuz here on Earth, we don’t like to step on Legos, they hurt our feet”