Greetings and Welcome!

This blog will document random events and moments in our life and home as we make our way through the world of Autism.  “We” are James and Shelley, a husband and wife team and parents of two “neurotypical” children, Maya (14) and Will (9), and one “non-neurotypical” child, Joel (5), who was diagnosed as having Autism in 2011.

The name for our blog, Unlocking Doors, has a two-fold meaning.  There is the metaphorical meaning which has to do with the mysterious nature of Autism and our daily endeavor to break communication barriers with our son and to further understand his actions and quirks.  Then, there is the literal meaning, which requires a little background information.  Up until about two weeks ago, Joel was unable to open most of the doors in our house, which was actually beneficial because of his often-times destructive nature.  This little guy loves to tear up paper and he does not discriminate against books, magazines or important pieces of mail therefore these things have to be kept out of his reach.  Anyway, about two weeks ago things got quiet (which is NEVER a good thing) and then we heard the sound of running water.  We followed the sound to the bathroom where little Joel stood in the bathtub completely naked with the water running and all of our toothbrushes (except his) were in his hands.  He was using them to scrub the bathtub floor.   The toothbrushes went in the trash, the boy was dried off and dressed, and we all reconciled ourselves to the fact that from now on, all of the bedroom and bathroom doors would have to be locked from the inside to prevent further catastrophes.  Now, anytime one of us needs to use the bathroom, we have to use a screwdriver to pop the lock.  The same goes if we need to fetch something from one of our rooms.  This is just a tiny aspect of the reality of life with a small, Autistic child, but we find it very worth it.

Having a child with Autism is both a challenge and an adventure.  As you can see, we never know what each day will bring, but we look forward to sharing these little slices of our life to help spread Autism awareness.  We have come to realize that Autism is not the end of the world and that there are many positive things that can come from a diagnosis and hope that this blog will have meaning for everyone whether they are a part of the Autism community or not.

Leave a comment


  1. Hi there!

    Just found your blog. I am the mother to 4 1/2 year old twins. My daughter is “typical” and my son was diagnosed with PDD-NOS this past December, but that changed to Autism this past week. My son is verbal, but does still use gibberish when playing by himself or in excitement. My husband and I were in denial for probably a year. I think we still were even after the first diagnosis in December. It really took this last evaluation to slap our faces to wake up. I cried for a week. I am scared to death of the future. I am pretty sure I have come to terms with it now. Anyways I look forward to following your blog! I wish you and your family the very best! Take care, Andrea

    • Andrea,

      I’m so glad you found our blog. This interaction with other Autism parents has been the most rewarding part of this process. We are well aware of the effect denial can have on parents in our situations. I don’t how many posts of ours you read, but the one titled Loving Loving Lampposts goes into detail our bout of denial and how we recognized the signs of Autism in our son while watching the documentary Loving Lampposts. If you haven’t already watched this, I highly recommend it. It made a huge difference in how we decided to handle the diagnosis and embrace our son’s differences.

      Thank you so much for the comment. As soon as I finish posting this reply, I’m heading over to your blog. The very best to you and yours.



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