My sister's middle son is a functioning autistic.
Stephen is going to be 18 years old in May. He is a delight and a challenge. And we love him dearly. He comes and stays with us every Spring break and a few weeks in the summer. It is fun having him, and it gives my sister a small break. Not that she asks for one or even thinks of it that way, but, it helps. Her oldest, Wesley is in college, and Elizabeth is 16. She does it all herself, for she has been a widow for almost 12 years now.
Stephen is at about the same mental level as Samuel. When we take the boys to the park, the other kids that they play with are sometimes puzzled at the big man acting like they do. But somehow, they get over it, and enjoy the games anyway.
Samuel has adored Stevie since he was about 2. It did not work out well for them until recently. Stevie didn't know how to deal with him, yet Samuel would follow him, adoring him and wanting to be just like him. Like I said, now it is working out well.
Stephen has some social graces. He is working on it. And has to be reminded often. Sometimes it is comical, but sometimes, it hurts people because they don;t understand. He is very good about trying to fix it.
Here they are after a wrestling match, in which Stevie was very gentle, knowing he had about 150 pounds on Samuel. lol.
Have I mentioned, I love this kid????