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From Inside the Puzzle: Raising a Child with Autism Blog

A Visitation from California

Published July 20, 2015 3:03 PM by Devon Alley

(This is part 1 of a 2 part series.)

These past few blog entries have focused on A.'s online relationship with a boy in California who is also on the spectrum. This past week, M. and his mother flew all the way to Tennessee to visit us. It was the first time A. and M. met each other in real life, and I had a bit of apprehension about the visit - What if it went badly? What if they were both overwhelmed? Needless to say, my worries were unfounded, and they both had an amazing time.

We met them at a local restaurant on Tuesday. As soon as we arrived, A. and M. ran to meet each other with enthusiastic hugs. It was incredibly adorable. The two of them sat down at their own table, began quoting from their favorite Internet videos, and when they needed to release some energy, they both paced around the back of the restaurant, almost as if in time with the other. A. carried her video game plush character with her everywhere, and M. did the same. They both spoke to each other in very blunt, to-the-point language, and they shared similar rehearsed-sounding laughs. It really seemed as if the two were made for each other.

On Wednesday, we carted the kids off to Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge/Sevierville, where they explored indoor water parks and other amusements while we moms found other ways to amuse ourselves. On Thursday, we had a rather failed attempt at visiting Dollywood, even though M. was so very sweet and patient with A. and her paralyzing fear of insects.

On Friday, we went back to the mountains so the kids could explore further indoor amusements, and then we visited my in-laws out in the country. M. managed to convince A. that it wasn't so terrible to be outside, and at one point I looked out and they were way down the hill and in the middle of a cow pasture. I never would have dreamed in a million years that A. could be convinced to go that far away from the indoors.

Saturday, the kids had a quiet day indoors, and we ended the evening at a friend's house shooting off fireworks. On Sunday, they said goodbye, and M. and his mother flew back to California.

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