Next stop, the 4th floor.

So here we were.  We had a 3 year old son with Autism.  He had an IEP in place for his services.  Our two other children knew that he was different but had the empathy to want to understand.  Not to mention they were eager to help.  Things were on the upswing, right?  

I mean we were in the midst of creating the modern day Autism success story.  That was how delusional I was at that moment. It was like I thought we were just stuck on an elevator for 3 years and now we would bolt to the next floor.  I truly thought it would be that simple.  

I thought with the services he had just started to receive would kick in like a training regimen.  Why wouldn’t I? He was progressing.  I had two eyes and I knew what I was witnessing.  

He was running, he was talking more appropriately, and he even showed some interest in some playing.  It was like we were breaking barriers at the Rubin household.


The dilemma with the elevator ride is that once it stops, you have to get off.  This is what happened as we met with Sawyer’s team to go over his VBMAPP results.  For those of you wondering the What is vb mapping for autism? It is according to Mark Sunberg, “The Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program: The VB-MAPP is a criterion-referenced assessment tool, curriculum guide, and skill tracking system that is designed for children with autism, and other individuals who demonstrate language delays.”

At 3 years and 10 months his developmental level was at 22 months.  It was a moment of clarity that woke me up.  All of the progress I saw was farsighted.  I now look at it as just hope and faith.

We had quite the elevator ride ahead of us and the 4th floor was just months away.  

He’s not like you

Cobe would come downstairs each morning from age 2 to 3 with his Tony the Tiger orange colored blanket by his side.  He would snuggle beside me as we’d watch some Toy Story and giggle at every moment.  It was a routine of being father and son.  

In a blink of an eye, he was dressed up as Spider Man pretending to shoot webs across the house. You could hear his sound effects echo down the hall.  It was childhood at its finest moment.

The memories of those moments are vivid.  Father and son playing.  Acting scenes out from a movie whether it be a battle from Mulan or Michael waiting for Marry Poppins to arrive.  These were moments that you wanted to have time stands still.   

Sawyer was there for many of these moments as a baby.  I would just watch him sleep in his swing or show smiles at Cobe and I as we played together.  


At the time, I just looked at Sawyer thinking that he would be next.  He would be Buzz Lightyear, he would be Darth Maul swinging his light saber at my Obi-Wan.  It would he and I on the couch snuggling just like Cobe and I did before.

These were my wishes as a dad.  I thought the normal would just be normal because that’s what I thought it would be.  I didn’t know that it could be anything different.  I promised myself a dream.

This is where I was late at night.   I would stare at an IEP report with black ink telling me milestones that my son may or not achieve.  It was like the rated G movie I got to enjoy with Cobe had morphed into a rated R drama and bypassed the hopes and dreams of Sawyer’s childhood. 

This is where I truly understood that he was not like you.