Joelli is an artist. She finds beauty in the everyday things most of us take for granted, be it sinking a basketball goal, or the look of a happy puppy who's missed her all day. She is the second of my children, both of whom have autism. Joelli is so unique. She, unlike many of our kids, wants friends. She enjoys the company of children. Although she is over-competitive, she still wants to include other children in her life. She never had a great deal of development, then regressed, as so many of our angels have. Instead she just took her own pace, as she does with everything else in life. She didn't sit up on her own til she was almost 9 months old. She didn't walk til she was 18 months old. She had a weak leg, which quickly got stronger once she started walking, because she began jumping on the trampoline with her brother almost immediately. She was diagnosed at 2 years old, with PDD-NOS, and then with classic autism at age 4! Joelli was almost 5 before she really talked, and it's still echolalia now, at age 8. She is brilliantly smart. If she's interested in what you are asking her, she can tell you the date and day of whatever she is interested in coming up. It often amazes me. She walks up to people and asks them their names and birthdays, and will tell them what day their birthday falls on. And she remembers their birthdays. Which is kind of funny because she wants to celebrate them for them, even though I have no idea who she is talking about sometimes. People are often set aback by her approach, and it breaks my heart. But it doesn't stop Joelli from being the friendliest child with autism I've ever seen. She has been drawing and painting since she was 2, and at 4 was drawing so clearly that I could tell exactly what she was drawing in detail. She is my Joi, my l'il monkey, my sweetheart, and my Tasmanian devil.