Robert Yates, a photo from school
I have been missing Robert a lot, and this morning I saw something when I opened my computer which reminded me of him: Google was touting a new Google Map, of Venice here
. Robert loved Google maps and would use them to navigate all over the place. For a person (me) who doesn't even know North from South, literally, I was always amazed when I came in Robert's room and saw him touring, primarily, New York City, the place he was most fascinated with, always. That was his preferred place to study and he knew it uptown and downtown, looking down from an aerial position and from under the ground...the subway maps.
He even liked the cartoon movie by Disney called "Oliver" because it was set in NYC.
above--that is Billy Joel singing
Here is one of the maps he would look at from Google. I recognize it, but I know he was far more adept at finding what he liked than I am, now. Robert would have looked at this one yes,
but definitely was able to study the subways, trains, docks, parks,skyscrapers and even the NYC fish markets in detail. In short, anything he wanted to see he could locate and find.
The other cool thing about Robert was that he was able to return to an url he wanted to go back to by memorizing the entire thing. For example, where you and I would look at a thing--a link to a thing--Robert would, if he wanted to go back to it, memorize something like this:
that is correct. He memorized urls because he could not copy and paste. He would come to me for example, and let's say he wanted a new Nintendo game...he would memorize the entire batch of code you see up there, and type in on my search bar after going to Ebay or Amazon, for example so I could look at what he wanted, and, he hoped, buy it for him..
One year we had to order a Pokemon card from Great Britain for his main Christmas present and it was expensive and it was slooooow. I had to explain to him that if he wanted it, he would have to wait until after Christmas. But the guy who sent it sent it fast and he had it for Christmas. This is not surprising where Robert was concerned. He made
Anyway, I chose url above because it leads to this game being sold on Ebay, "Vegas Stakes".
It is a gambling game (you have a name and a room at a fancy hotel). I think Robert's name was something discreet like "Mr. Smith", whenever he played this. We actually have this game, which he completely mastered to the point where he blew it out of the water. He would easily win a million dollars at a sitting. He played it intently for about two months until he got bored with it.
When we first had Dylan, and no one knew about what Autism was,the movie "Rainman" was the only way we could explain what Dylan had when people came to the door and saw Dylan behaving oddly. We also would kid around (not really very happy at the time but pretend-kidding) about taking him to a casino and being "set for life", because of the casino scene in "Rainman".
Well, guess what. Robert could do that.
Robert had a memory like a steel trap and never forgot a thing. So when Robert was into "Vegas Stakes", I am sure he would have been able to transfer that understanding to a real life situation. No Problem!
The Rainman situation was illustrated with great clarity by Robert, years after we kidded around about it.
Back to the maps, and Robert. Robert loved all sorts of directions. He enjoyed telling his bus driver where to go to get home from school every day. He would be the guide and say before each turn, "left" "right", "right!" "left!" the whole way home.
He always knew exactly where he was and what was going on to a T.
People dream of having their children with Autism growing up to have careers as data entry processors. Robert was training to do this at school. They told me that he never made a mistake and was better than most of the professional people they employed when he was doing this, I am not surprised. If it involved a computer or something mechanical, or a game, Robert was all over it.
I have been remembering little things about Robert as the time passes.
For some reason, I don't dwell on "what he would be like now". I would rather think about the real
Robert and what he was like when he was
here. He wasn't just a computer freak or a game freak, or any sort of person you could categorize. Robert was an extremely loving, warm and sweet person you loved being around. When he went to bed at night he would not stop hugging you goodnight. He would hug you fiercely, smiling delightedly, around ten times before he would let you go and he would go to sleep,
Those hugs were amazing.
Robert was a great hugger--he never wanted to let go.
So this is what I have been thinking about today, because of Google Maps, something I have never been able to use very well but something Robert was amazing with. Just another thing Robert was amazing with.
Thanks, Robert, for bringing such joy to us.
love, Mom xox
Labels: In honor of Robert around Thanksgiving