Over the years, he's improved further than we ever could have dreamed, and we love him very much.
Born a healthy baby boy- although I don't remember this part of the story, as I was very young- he developed normally up to the age of two. By that point, he even had a few words.
Then it all stopped. He became obsessed with everything blue, and would scream and cry without his blue tshirt (which I do remember quite vividly-he had about 10 so he could wear one every day). He was constantly unresponsive, and could focus silently on stones or a certain toy for hours at a time, without even looking up. At one point he was thought to be deaf because he was so wrapped up in his own little world.
My family sought help in the form of countless speech therapists (who I also remember vividly, and can only thank tremendously), and at the age of four, he could answer two questions. 1. What's your name? (To which he would reply "Joseph") and 2. How old are you? (4).
To my family, even this was huge.
But progress was still painfully slow, and we'd all spend hours talking to him, trying to get something out of him. My part in all this was simply to be as annoying as I could possibly be- to chase him and get on his nerves, because I was NOT growing up without a proper cousin.
He's in mainstream school now, and he wants to be a car designer. He's smart, loves Top Gear, and is surprisingly good with words! If you met him, you probably wouldn't even know that he's on the autistic spectrum.