Mafe Maria: Personal stories by autism parent mentor, Maria Stultz

Swimming Update »

After eight lessons of formal instruction—or, as formal as it could be with this child—Joaquin is now teaching himself how to swim. During his lessons we were fortunate to have Nanette, his most recurring instructor. As soon as she learned from me about Joaquin’s learning process and sensory sensitivities (I didn’t want his challenge to […]

“Leon”, a Filmmaking Project »

As the time for vocal exercises started to approach its end, and with an emerging motivation for animated Disney films, I noticed that Joaquin was using my computer to record his own movies. It was so exciting!… Completely spontaneously, he’d impersonate characters and record himself with PhotoBooth, and he’d even bring costume props to enhance […]

“Leon” Film Premiere »

Time to make the popcorn and get cozy. It’s finally time for the world premiere of Leon, a filmmaking project that kept Joaquin and I busy and very motivated all February and part of March. The movie is about a little lion and his friendship and adventures with two friends he meets along the way. […]

Steak Pimienta »

Joaquin and I have been working on a serious filmmaking project for several weeks, and we exported the final movie today! 61 mins with credits as Joaquin set out to do. This is a short clip with one of my favorite scenes. It took me a long time to edit it because I wanted to […]

Spontaneous Gorgeous Symbolic Gestures »

Watching this was so exciting!… Even to Heidi, who at the time didn’t know much about the gestures goal… It’s been just two weeks of very subtle “work” giving Joaquin’s brain little pieces to figure out symbolic gestures, and today he spontaneously gestures “move the couch down”, then creates another gesture reproducing with his hands […]

Hey! »

Joaquin welcomes Aaron DeLand in the playroom, and I have to celebrate remembering how challenging transitions (and new people) used to be for him.

Friend Eliza »

Over the last month before turning three years old, Joaquin started writing numbers, drawing their outlines, spelling words and writing some, all by himself. His memory is amazing. His focus, passion, and control when drawing and writing is (I believe) extraordinary. All signs of a beautiful mind at work. And, as exciting and reassuring as […]

Slash »

Bollo’s latest hobby is to type on my computer. He selects a key, presses it, and says out loud the name of the corresponding character. Letters and numbers used to be fun, but he’s now totally into three new characters: guion (-), igual (=), and his favorite ever: slash (/). Check out the pride in […]

These days, Joaquin… »

At 1.5 years old, Joaquin: Walks around “our property” (the backyard) like Simba, the Lion King. Announces poops and pees (and perhaps farts) by becoming very serious and saying popó in a solemn tone to express the gravity of the situation. Demands more than two choices to select a video to watch. Two?!, he moans […]

Lately, Joaquin… »

Understands my words way more than I expect. Signs “milk”, and says “mama” and something very close to “bird”. Reads books out loud and talks in an adorable unknown language that includes words like “apbm”, “capbm”, and “puapua”. Knows exactly what we’re talking about when we sing the tune made by a certain toy, book, […]

Trompita tastes bananas »

Don Joaquin has officially started eating solids and I thought his fan club would enjoy seeing him take his first meal of cereal, milk, and bananas. Please notice the face he makes, and how he throws himself and holds on to the chair on the last bite (towards the end of the video)… What a […]

Born Free »

Right between getting a breast ultrasound (no worries, it was just a cyst) and falling prey to a terrible cold with a fever of 102°F, I went to the baby store to shop for some toys for little Joaco. Wasn’t planning on buying anything big, when suddenly this awesome product crossed my path… The Bumbo […]