What’s So Special About Ev?

Well, lots of things are special about Evan but, as his mom, I am admittedly a little biased.

Evan is 10 and he is more comfortable in his own skin than anyone I know. He has a strong desire to make people laugh and to connect with others even though he doesn’t always know the best way of doing so.

There are many things I could say about my adorable son. However, in case your attention span is as short as mine, I will describe him in four words. Evan is sweet, silly, outgoing and inquisitive. He is also super smart – but that’s five words. Sorry.

Oh, wait, I forgot energetic. He is very, very, very, very energetic.

Evan wasn’t always a kind, extroverted goofball. He spent more than the first half of his life seemingly oblivious to the world around him. I refer to those times the autism fog. As an infant, he was extremely fussy, he didn’t sleep and it was impossible to bond with him.

His first few birthdays were difficult because we were looking for milestones that didn’t come. At the age of one, Evan had just learned to crawl. We were still waiting for his first word when he turned two. By age three, Evan left us wondering whether he would ever tell us he loved us.

As Evan got older, he slowly emerged from his autism fog. He began entering our world and he brought us into his. Many people ask what we attribute this growth to. While it’s hard to know for sure, early intervention was key.

We did (and still do) a lot of different therapies including speech, occupational and physical therapy, and a program called the PLAY Project. Just one month after Evan turned two, he started a full-day, intensive school program with a fabulous teacher.

Today, Evan is his own best therapist. He is able to work through some of his fears and anxieties by role playing, watching You Tube videos, and finding ways to desensitize himself to things he finds scary like sirens, clapping or fire (even a birthday candle).

If Evan were an adult, he’d probably be considered the “fun guy” at the party. He’s not afraid of what other people think. He’s clever, he’s quirky and he puts himself out there.

He also doesn’t understand the concept of embarrassment, so he often forgets to close the bathroom door, he can be the loudest person in the room at the most inappropriate times and he occasionally makes comments that he probably should have keep to himself.

When Evan gets frustrated or overwhelmed, he melts down. Typically this involves yelling, crying, swearing or using some form of inappropriate language. One of his favorite things to say right now is “I’m gonna burn the house down.” I consider this a huge improvement from when he used to say “mother f’er.”

Over the years, Evan has had a number of unusual interests including light bulbs, ceiling fans, subways and elevators, the color purple, people with curly hair and roller coasters. His current obsessions include music and theaters.

While he loves artists like Bruno Mars, Katy Perry and Ariana Grande, he’d much rather hang out with a girl who has curly hair than sing a duet with Adam Levine or Rihanna.

Much of his free time right now is spent “writing and illustrating” books. His most recent and unpublished work is an autobiography about what happens when you make bad choices, like purposefully breaking a crystal glass at someone else’s house. When he’s not destroying property, Evan enjoys setting up theaters in the basement and putting on performances.

Is Evan defined by his autism or does his autism define him? I think that autism is just a part of who he is and does not define him. On some days it’s hard to tell, but it really doesn’t matter either way because Evan really is one Special Ev.