|this is a freeze frame from a video I shot of Max playing outside.|
My friend Ellen, who writes Love That Max, a blog about her son, also named Max, who has Cerebral Palsy, summed up a similar feeling (but much more eloquently than I have here). When she writes "My child with cerebral palsy is not defined by his disability. He is a cheerful, outgoing, spaghetti-eating, purple-loving kid who happens to have CP" she could be talking about my Max (minus the spaghetti and love of purple).
My Max, he loves tomatoes, waffles, and bouncing on his trampoline. He has a devilish smile when he knows he is up to no good, and his favourite tv show is Elmo. When he enters a room, he wants to be noticed and always announces himself with a huge grin. He is strong as an ox and we suspect will easily clear 6 feet tall (and then some). He is an amazing climber, loves to run, and would spend the entire day outside if we let him.
Max also has Autism. All that means is that he has to work really hard to fit into a world that isn't set up to accommodate him. I call him the "hardest working kid in Autism" because every day he works his butt off to learn, to master new skills, to figure out what makes the rest of us tick. That's more than I can say for most people. When is the last time that you had to try multiple times to make your needs known for something relatively simple like a glass of water, or an apple? Imagine having to exert that effort every time you opened your mouth. Now you understand why we can't stop smiling when Max says things like "Max go downstairs" and "I want milk mommy".
The point I am making, is that Max is more similar to your kid than he is different. He calls out for his mommy and daddy when he falls and hurts himself. He breaks his little sister's toys. He likes to play in the dirt and get completely filthy. He's a kid. A kid with Autism. But most of all, he's Max.