On Monday night at 8pm, be sure to tune in for our newest episode of Hope Saves the Day on Autism Radio .Tonight's show's Guest will be with McNall Mason, Who is Max’s mom.
Max was born on December 13, 2002. I suspected early on there was something about him that wasn’t “normal” compared to other kids his age because he skipped over important milestones like crawling and he never once EVER put anything from the floor into his mouth, his speech was delayed and other signs. Even though deep down I knew something was different, I didn’t pay too much attention to it and/or I brushed it off with some form of denial. So, it wasn’t until about age 4, when his childcare teacher clued me in that I learned about Autism Spectrum Disorders and Aspergers.
Back in 2007 autism and aspergers were not as well known, talked about or as exposed as they are now so I had no idea what kind of wild ride we were in for or even where to begin and I won’t bore you with all the details of my process, but if you are interested in more specifics, please contact me and I’ll be happy to chat.
Let’s just say that whatever I thought I knew about parenting from having two other kids was not applicable to Max and I was humbled by my lack of ability to reach my child. So, armed with nothing but some articles on the internet, I headed to a giant bookstore in Portland called Powells and bought every single book I could find written by someone on the spectrum who reminded me of Max. My mission in life became to learn Max from the inside out. If he couldn’t tell me what was going on for him I was going to have to try to put myself in his shoes.
This was a painstaking process that eventually paid off and I think of it in similar terms to a parent having a deaf child and being forced by necessity to learn sign language.
Through my journey with Max, I’ve learned a ton about love, expression of love, brains and how they’re wired, logic and when it’s too much and how to speak “Max”… and if you know about autism, you know that when I say I can “speak Max”, it doesn’t mean that I can relate well with ALL people on the spectrum – because – the nature of a spectrum is that where one person lands on it contributes to them being an individual so nobody else on the autism spectrum is exactly like Max.
In 2008, I started Max N Me Studio as a way for us to work on art projects together, socialize Max and to raise money for autism and autism related causes. Max and I created art pieces based on the quirky things he says and we displayed them at places like Olympia’s Hands On Children’s Museum, cafes, coffee shops and were invited to sell them at an Art Stroll in Seattle where we made $300 and won an Honorable Mention award, both of which thrilled Max. At that time, I also started a FaceBook Fanpage called “what did you say Max” as well as a Twitter page called “what Max said“.
Unfortunately life happens and before we could make giant strides with our art, and really sink our teeth into using it to raise money for autism related charities, I went back to work and everything was left in limbo… and eventually the domain name registration expired and I gave up the website and did little to maintain the facebook.
Four years later… 2012: I left my job in January, Max is older… we still do art … and now we’re working on books together. The first book is called Max From The Planet Of Cool and it’s based on Max and was written and illustrated by me with lots of help and input from him. I was able to regain the maxnmestudio.com domain name and now I’m writing the about us page and I’m sitting here feeling excited to work with Max to create books and possibly other pieces of art to raise money for the charities we support… sort of going back to where we left off and it feels GREAT!
My hope for this site is that it’s a celebration of individuality, a fun place to hang out and it positively impacts the world but most of all positively impacts the people and organizations that that live in Max and my world.