Autism After 40: “Where Did That Come From?”


Dad here. 

Big Dude is a perpetual three-year-old but many times we see him mature and show a different side of himself that makes Mom and me scratch our heads and ask rhetorically, “Where did that come from?”

One such ritual is Big Dude’s insistence that I am fully dressed for the day from the moment we greet each other. Big Dude picks out my shirt. There are several that are his favorites. He chooses my trousers, shoes, and socks.

If I am standing he will often push me gently onto the bed to remove my slippers as I do for him. After my trousers are on, Big Dude will get my necklace, with a religious medal, from the dresser and drape it over my head.

He will help me with my shirt and, with my help, pull buttons through the holes. Often he sits on the floor and struggles with my shoes. He will reach into the night stand and get out my shoe horn, which, it should be noted, is strictly off limits for Mom to use.

Usually after the dressing ritual, Big Dude and I will go to the study and I will give him a shave. After that he will take the razor and pre-shave back to the bathroom. By now Mom is about ready with breakfast so he and I will help get ready to eat.

Why do I tell this story? Because you may be a few years behind us and wonder what is next. Will we ever see a change? Will he or she ever show us affection and do for us, just a little?

We did not see this coming. It just happened. He shows us a great deal of affection and puts us first in many ways. He seems to live for the ritual I described above.

So wonder no more.

Hang in there.

My guess is that you will see changes you least expected and wonder as we did, “Where did that come from.”

The Big Dude, Mom, and Dad are a blended family that have been traveling their autism journey together for the last 25 years. Big Dude is 49 years old, nonverbal and profoundly autistic. He is a big man (6’, 5” tall!) who is 95 % teddy bear but could break an adult’s arm during a violent meltdown. But Teddy Bear Big Dude is full of affection, enjoys meeting people, and loves pasta! Mom is a retired nursing professor who has been the Big Dude’s advocate for all his life. Dad is Dude’s stepdad and has been part of Dude’s life for over 25 years. He and Dude are BFFs. Dad is a retired Army officer. Together they are living life to the fullest. Follow them on Facebook: The Big Dude: Life with Autism After 40


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