A Respectful Visit… to the Home of Sebastien, My Autistic Son
This is the second part of our evolving story of the budding relationship between Sebastien, my autistic son, and David Trevelyan, a passionate and talented digital artist and sculptor who has lived in Bali for the past three decades. David and Rani (his wife), as well as Jerome (my husband) and I, are all on the same page about taking the time to cultivate this relationship with as much empathy and sensitivity as needed.
For me, it offers a living example of an empathetic way of relating to autistic individuals, which can help to unleash their full potential to live meaningful and fulfilling lives. In my mission for A Mother’s Wish, it is my sincerest desire to put forth an alternative perspective that embraces and celebrates diverse identities and ways of being, instead of imposing the mainstream over the atypical. I strongly believe that ALL of us, regardless of where we lay on the “spectrum of humanity”, will benefit from being open to diverse ways of connections.
Dear Kah Ying and Jerome,
Yesterday, Rani, my wife and I went to visit Sebastien at his home.
We arrived at exactly 10:00 am as scheduled. Bema met us at the parking lot and brought us in. I brought my drawing kit and a printout of the social story — a picture & text story that you (Kah Ying) had created to prepare Sebastien for the visit. The social story set out clearly what was going to happen during this visit to ensure that Sebastien would feel comfortable about the visit.
Next, we were introduced to Hari and invited into the house. We assembled in the living room, while Sebastien finished cleaning the kitchen and sweeping the floor around us. It seemed that Sebastien was happy and comfortable that we were there. We both held up our respective copies of the social story to show each other. When Sebastien was finished with his chores, he calmly sat down with us as we got to know Bema and Hari. Everything was calm and friendly.
As per the social story, Sebastien then showed us his bedroom. Everything was impeccable. Sebastien seemed proud of his space: he showed us his books, wooden boxes and the wooden lamp he made.
We went back to the living room and Bema showed us Sebastien's paintings. I feel that Sebastien is an amazing abstract impressionist painter. Both Rani and I loved his paintings.
Next, Sebastien, Bema and Hari set up the woodworking tools where they normally work and began to cut wood. At times, I helped hold what Sebastien was cutting. As he was working, I brought out my art kit and began to draw; so we were both working at the same time and this seemed to delight Sebastien.
After the woodworking session, Sebastien helped me put away my pencils and pens. I write this for I feel that this was a very special moment. He checked out my art kit and was fascinated by it; so I showed him my drawings of textures and patterns in my sketch book. He liked my repetitive marks; so I showed him how I made textures and patterns by using and writing my name over and over again. As I wrote my name over and over again, I spoke my name out loud repeatedly and he joined in. Then I wrote Rani’s name repeatedly, followed by Sebastien’s name. There was a connection made at this point…
Finally, we all went into the garden (Sebastien's farm). Sebastien seemed to love this space.
At exactly 11:00 am, we said our good-byes. It was important for Sebastien to walk us out to the car. At the very end, Sebastien picked up a beautiful blue flower and gave it to Rani. (Oh ya, Bema gifted us with some honey from a friend’s farm.)
The entire time we were there, Sebastien was comfortable and seemed to enjoy our visit. The energy was good. I was deeply moved and inspired by our visit to Sebastian’s living/working environment; this is a very special space. We felt that it is a caring, giving, and loving environment and that Bema and Hari are very good with Sebastien. Rani and I both really like Bema and Hari.
Being invited into the inner sanctum of Sebastien’s world has profoundly inspired me. Understanding and learning about Sebastian’s world helps me understand something about myself and how truly remarkable life is.
I will say that how you’ve set this up and what is going on there is totally amazing. Well done! Sebastien is in a good place and is getting excellent attention care and love. Both Rani and I were very impressed on many levels. This was a very rich experience for Rani and myself. Sebastien is very special, as was our visit.
There is MUCH more I would like to talk about like his painting and other observations. I’ll save this for another time. I just wanted to give you a sense of what happened and how we felt.
With much gratitude and reverence for this opportunity, thank you to all, especially Kah Ying, for manifesting this meaningful occasion/opportunity.
Love, Light & Joy,
David and Rani Trevelyan
P.S. Bema mentioned to Rani that Sebastien has come a long way since the beginning and is continuously improving.
P.P.S. I would like to say something about how impressed I am with what you and Jerome have done for Sebastien.. Your care and attention to and for Sebastien are profoundly inspiring and meaningful to me :)