Arrow Fat Left Icon Arrow Fat Right Icon Arrow Right Icon Cart Icon Close Circle Icon Expand Arrows Icon Facebook Icon Instagram Icon Pinterest Icon Twitter Icon Hamburger Icon Information Icon Down Arrow Icon Mail Icon Mini Cart Icon Person Icon Ruler Icon Search Icon Shirt Icon Triangle Icon Bag Icon Play Video

Always In My Heart

When Dayton was born it truly was one of the best days of my life.  I never knew true love until I saw him for the first time.  He was a happy easy baby for me and I enjoyed motherhood immensely.  As a new mother, I didn’t have preconceived notions about how a child was supposed to act or what milestones he was supposed to hit when.  He was just my sweet little buddy and I determined to let him be himself.  When he didn’t walk or really talk until he was over a year old or he struggled to potty-train or stop sucking his binky by four years old, I still continued to just focus on his strengths and help him through his struggles the best I could.

When Dayton was little he struggled with balance, coordination and knowing how to use his body.  When he was excited he would flap his arms and jump around the room.  He would sit for hours setting up cars around the edge of a table or lining up his dinosaurs according to size.  If anyone messed any of it up he would fall apart.  He wouldn’t eat certain foods due to the texture - this included any vegetables.  He would throw up if he had the wrong texture in his mouth.  He struggled with loud noises and lights.   Dayton didn’t give good eye contact in a conversation and struggled to know what was appropriate and okay as far as making friends with other kids. He could talk to adults though, usually about whatever subject he was obsessing about at the time.  There was the elephant phase, the dinosaur phase, (Yea, I became a temporary paleontologist) the alphabet and three letter word phase, the Pokémon phase, the car phase and several others.  He knew more about his favorite subjects or current interests then about everyday life.  He could talk your ear off about his current phase for hours if you let him.  During the dark and scary Pokémon years I felt like his main language was Pokémon and I struggled to speak it.  We would go into a store and he would find one of his “fellow tribesmen” wandering down the toy aisle and they would have a discussion that I did not follow or understand.  Yea, that was a tough phase.  I still shudder at the memory.

I remember trying and trying to teach him how to ride his bike and then gave up.  Somehow he got the impression that in order to go to kindergarten, he would need to know how to ride his bike so he went outside and taught himself how in an afternoon.  At this point, I knew my buddy had something going on with him but I just didn’t know what. I remember when he was in kindergarten, the school was recommending that he be taken out of class to get special help because his testing was so bad.  His teacher was confused by this.  She said she had never had a student come in that knew all the alphabet so well, could spell so many words, or had so much knowledge about dinosaurs. 

“He could end up being a doctor or engineer with how smart he is!” 

Little did I know that this would be the dichotomy that is Dayton his whole life.  When Dayton was in 2nd grade, the school counselor and psychologist brought me in and told me that he wanted to do some tests on Dayton.  I said yes and we started the long process.  This was when I was told that Dayton has Asperger Syndrome.  I was told it is a high functioning form of Autism.  Dayton had a lot of the behaviors.  It made sense to me because although he was amazing he also struggled with some things quite a bit.  He was artistic, intelligent, had an amazing memory and a sweet disposition, but he also really struggled in school, didn’t understand how to make friends, or how to deal with stress and didn’t have mind-body connection.  The more I learned and researched the more I started to understand what challenges were ahead for him and what I had to do as a mom to support him and advocate for him.  It was my job as his mother to help the world open their eyes to the amazing person before them, help fight for him to get the support he needed and help eliminate stress for him as much as I could.  You see, when someone with Autism or Asperger Syndrome is stressed out, the behaviors that make them stand out are more prevalent.  It has been a long journey but I have been determined to make sure he has every opportunity to be successful and happy.  I have been accused of being a helicopter parent but unless you have been in my shoes you don’t get it.

Dayton just turned 18 and I celebrate the trials and triumphs.  I have always spoken openly with Dayton about his Asperger Syndrome (AS) so he was armed with knowledge about how his brain works.  He challenges himself and his behaviors on a regular basis.  He chooses interests that make him push beyond his boundaries.  For example, his AS challenges his mind/body connection so he has chosen to focus on body building.  For a few years, he was on the wrestling team at school for the same reason.  He is constantly teaching himself how to talk to people and what is appropriate to say.  Our big family has helped a lot in this department. We are loud and in your face.  As Kody says, we are aggressively friendly.  This has taught him how to interact with a lot of different personalities and people.  He also decided to push himself in school by taking Honors and AP classes.  This isn’t always easy for him.  If he is dealing with something stressful it throws off his focus then his school work suffers and he can struggle to get back on track.  Going from elementary to middle school and then to high school was a huge adjustment every time and I would lose him for a while to his old behaviors.  No matter the situation though he always pushes himself beyond his limits so he can excel.  He is still so very talented too.  He is so gifted with anything artistic or creative.  He is better at managing my garden than I am.  He is an amazing chef and is always being asked to bring something to a family get-together.  He is an amazing brother to his siblings and a sweet kind son to his parents.  He is constantly reading books about finance, investing, business building, self-improvement and the world around him.  I know better than to argue with him when it comes to facts and news.  He can argue his politics with facts and knowledge better than most, but still has a heart and sensitivity.  I am just so proud of him.

I know that having someone in your life with Autism or AS isn’t always the success story that Dayton’s is and I know some are even better.  Every person that has Autism or AS have different challenges and struggles and at the same exact time amazing gifts and talents.  These amazing people don’t fit in the little box called “normal”.  They challenge us to think beyond that box to the galaxies beyond and they are different.

“We need to expand our minds and hearts to see each for who they truly are.”

I wish every parent would sit down and explain to their children that not everyone will look like you, sound like you or act like you and it is still fun and cool to be friends with them. 

The piece I designed to bring awareness to Autism and Asperger Syndrome is a heart with the words “…always in my heart” and a puzzle piece, the symbol for the cause.  These amazing people are always in our hearts because we love them and their differences.  They are a gift and help make our lives richer. I dedicate this piece to my handsome son, David Dayton. 

I love him so much and I am so grateful for the challenge and gift that he has been in my life.

  • Post author
    My Sisterwife's Closet

Comments on this post (80)

  • May 08, 2018

    Hey Robyn,
    I have just read about your journey with Dayton and his Autism.
    I just want to say thank you for sharing it with all of us.

    I never miss a show of Sister Wives and I wasn’t aware of your plight until now.

    Bless you all.


    — Joan Ewer

  • Apr 10, 2018

    Hi Robyn, I have a dear friend who has high functioning autisim. I watched him struggle throughout high school when it came to interacting with others and I can relate that yo the struggles you and Dayton face with this disorder. Ive watched every episode of your show and seen Dayton grow up from a little boy to this gorgeous young man! He should be so proud of the man he is becoming! An inspiration to many young people growing up with the same kind of challenges.
    Take care & God Bless

    — Amie Chippett

  • Apr 08, 2018

    very nice to read the story about your son.
    I just recent got the diagnose ASS (autism) am a 48 year old female.
    I still refuse to use the word on myself.
    for a part because the dont qualify it in holland anymore in asperger pdd-nos.
    I am a high functioning autist too my psychiatrist says.
    but am very easy disturbt by sounds and stress, ppl that do not do what they promice insecureties ppl tha say i call you tomorrow for example example without calling a time..
    i always was wondering why i had sutch a hard time as a single mom with 2 kids. but now i got the answer.
    my son probably has it too but he comes trough the tests again and again..
    it,s pretty hard to raise a kid with special needs when you have autism.
    i never had help/support because they just discoverd t last year.
    i love the show sisterwifes ;o)

    greetings from holland

    — Marian

  • Apr 04, 2018

    I absolutely love this piece and Dayton’s story. When I was reading this story, it was like reliving my son, Jacob’s, life. Jacob has AS and is currently in college majoring in Theater Arts. This June he will earn his Associate’s and this fall begin on his Bachelor’s. He is committed to bringing knowledge and awareness of ASDs to anyone willing to learn and to those oblivious to the fact that they need to learn. He stammers in his speech, which makes conversations hard work for the other party. However, on stage… his presentation is smooth as glass. Just another example of how their obsessions work for them.

    I love Dayton, and I love the Browns.

    — Milissa R.

  • Mar 19, 2018

    Thank you for sharing your story about Dayton. I can’t believe he is 18 years old! I was his sixth grade math teacher at Leavitt – he was a great student and it’s so nice to see that he’s become such a wonderful young adult. I enjoy seeing him from time to time on the show. My 22 year old daughter is autistic as well and continues to teach me something new everyday! Best wishes to you and your family.

    — Staci McCarthy

  • Mar 17, 2018

    Beautifully said. Dayton is so fortunate to have you as his mom! Love you and your sisterwives!

    — Melinda

  • Mar 08, 2018

    I have a 28 year…back when he was in school, it was NOT as common as it is today, so we struggled and he stayed under the radar all thru school. I was told repeatedly to stop comparing him to his brother, who was VERY social. But as a mom, I knew.

    Reading this story was like reading my son’s story. My son is a college graduate, but still struggles with every day social situations. Yes – elementary to middle…middle to high school – very difficult transitions…actually it got easier as he got older because the other kids didn’t care and left him alone.

    I know that my son will always need me to kind of “keep an eye on him”…and I am here as long as he needs me to.

    Thank you, Robyn for the very candid story.

    — Lucy Heid

  • Mar 01, 2018

    Dear Robyn,
    I’m a child psychologist and specialize in working with people in the spectrum. Thank you so much for sharing your parenting style with Dayton as well as some of the challenges and achievements. He is a gifted artist and you are a great mom! Both of you are doing a world of good! Best wishes and thank you for your post.

    — Tracy

  • Feb 27, 2018

    Hey Robyn your story touches to many. This month February is Marfan syndrome awareness and I was wondering if you could make something in honor and memory of Marfan syndrome, my family has this disorder both of my kids and my sister had open heart surgery in 2017 who all suffer from this awful condition I have lost so many in my family with this, the Lord has brought us through so much ..If you could take a moment look at our condition and consider making a piece I know you could sell alot.

    — Annette Magallanes

  • Feb 14, 2018

    This is a beautiful story and piece. I have a nonverbal 4 year old daughter with autism who is the love of my life! I’d love to wear this piece to honor her.

    — Leah W

  • Feb 13, 2018

    So warmly and eloquently put, Robyn. With thanks from a Mom who has a son with struggles. Our diamonds in the rough. Mine is 18 too. When he was little, he used to sing, “This Little Light of Mine.” So apt, don’t you think?

    — MaryEllen Henry

  • Feb 13, 2018

    A beautiful story! Dayton reminds me a lot of my 14 year old Alex. :) I always wondered how Dayton did social wise with such a big family. It looks likes it’s taught him a lot, a sort of therapy! That’s great! I wish you all the best!

    — Melissa Bratten

  • Feb 13, 2018

    What a beautiful story! Thanks for sharing.

    — Christina

  • Feb 13, 2018

    Hey Robyn
    I have just read your post all about your amazing son and it’s was so lovely to read .
    My son has been battling cancer for nearly 4 years and has relapsed for a fifth time with new cancer on his lung ,he is so unwell and suffers so much it’s breaks my heart .I love how you designed a piece of jewellery dedicated to your son I dream of doing this for mine .
    Take Care
    God Bless your wonderful family
    With love
    Kelly Simpson x

    — Mrs Kelly Simpson

  • Feb 12, 2018

    Thanks for sharing- I was hoping your business was continuing. I have a 27 year old with Asbergers and bi polar and it has taken years but he now doing wonderfully/ it has been a journey. I used to have a blog called Asbergers mom on open salon and had a great following. They closed the blog for sone reason a couple of years Ago…

    I already ordered but will come back on soon and get this heart and your Suicide prevention bracelet— My mother took her life so I’m obviously a huge advocate and would be interested hearing about your impetus for creating.

    Thank you for both. Blessings for the coming year.

    — Pam parker

  • Feb 12, 2018

    Thanks for sharing- I was hoping your business was continuing. I have a 27 year old with Asbergers and bi polar and it has taken years but he now doing wonderfully/ it has been a journey. I used to have a blog called Asbergers mom on open salon and had a great following. They closed the blog for sone reason a couple of years Ago…

    I already ordered but will come back on soon and get this heart and your Suicide prevention bracelet— My mother took her life so I’m obviously a huge advocate and would be interested hearing about your impetus for creating.

    Thank you for both. Blessings for the coming year.

    — Pam parker

  • Feb 11, 2018

    I’m in tears after reading this. My daughter will turn 18 on May 1. She is autistic, she is on the severe end of the spectrum. It’s hard to put into words the struggles I have been through with Sophie. I couldn’t get a diagnosis. I begged for one so we could have early intervention but did not receive one until she was 5 years old. She cannot talk with words but she speaks with her heart. And this beautiful piece of jewelry is something that I’m going to save my money for because it is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. You are an amazing mother and I appreciate how open you are. The things you write about are things that I as a mother who has raised child with disabilities wants to keep close to my heart because I never know how people will react because it’s something that’s very hard to understand if you haven’t experienced it. you poured your heart out and I think it’s so incredible.

    — Charati Sizemore

  • Feb 11, 2018

    I have been praying for as many years as we’ve followed your coming into the family. I am not Mormon but I am a Christian who trust and depends on put LORD. I have an adopted daughter who has several dozen surgeries and God has brought us through each one. Because of our faith and experience I now write a devotional of encouragement and God’s wisdom. I know God uses all of our life’s trials and joys to show Himself to others. I can identify with Christine and her daughter’s scoliosis. Our daughter had two Lukay rods and the procedures are not to be feared. The rods literally saved her life from horrible pain. I am here for Christine as well. I pray God uses your experiences to show others more of Himself.

    — Linda Hunt

  • Feb 11, 2018

    Robyn, I truly admire your strength and courage as you bring your story to the world. My youngest son was diagnosed with AS at the age of 9 last year and we are struggling to find the best means of support fit him. He gets extremely agitated when something doesn’t go his way. How did you deal with the hyperfocused interests and getting him interested in other things. Right now the obsession is all things video games and is a struggle. To get him to do anything. But. Play video games.

    — Allison Flatt

  • Feb 09, 2018

    This post touched me. I’m going to share it with my great-niece – he son has Autism and I think she will find inspiration in your words. Thanks for sharing..

    — Brenda

  • Feb 08, 2018

    I’ve watched your show from minute 1 and I always want to know more!! You are an amazing family and if I ever could come to Nevada and just talk with you woman for hours. Thank you for opening up the world to everyone with a heart to love that may not be “mainstream”

    — Kathryn L Lowe

  • Feb 07, 2018

    Thank you for this post. My son (about to be 4) was just diagnosed with high functioning autism. I still feel so overwhelmed especially when thinking of his future and you give me so much hope that he will have a happy, full, and independent future.

    — Heather

  • Feb 07, 2018

    That was a very loving tribute to your son and I am deeply moved by your love and devotion.
    Dayton is quite the handsome gentleman and will continue to thrive with all the love and support he is surrounded by.
    God Bless

    — Barbara Gilbert

  • Feb 07, 2018

    HI Robin, I loved your story. I taught grades 7-12 math for 33 years and in that time dealt with students with disabilities. I had a student with turrets whose outbursts would always be curse words. Try getting a high school class to accept that! Not easy but we did. I had a student in an after school club with AS . The other students learned how to work with him and help him. His big issue was personal space. In all these (and many other situations) I learned a lot form these children. It taught me to b more patient, more compassionate, more understanding and to think outside the box when dealing with their behaviors. I wish Dayton the very best life has to offer. God Bless you and the family. Linda

    — Linda

  • Feb 07, 2018

    You are an amazing mother. I have two grandchildren with AS. They are the sweetest most loving kids. My grandson is 11 and granddaughter is 4. To me they are geniuses in their own right. They are wonderful, they have their days but all in all they are my special gift from God. My grandson lives in Iowa, which the education he is getting is wonderful and his mother is a strong advocate for him. My granddaughter will be starting kindergarten and my daughter, her mom, is already a very strong advocate for her future education. It is awareness that needs to be brought to everyone’s attention! No child left behind….all children need us to fight for them.

    — Jennie Olsen

Leave a comment