Dave may be flipping through magazines, pausing to stare fixedly at design details or leaning in to inhale the scent of the pages.
Lindsey typically sits down to eat alone—from a particular plate with a particular napkin placed just so—and may slip so deeply into her own world that Dave has learned to whisper "Psst…" when he approaches so as to not startle her and, on a bad night, make her scream. Every day of their relationship, these two beat tremendous odds.
"I decided to focus on the friendships I'd managed to make," she continues, "and quit worrying about love altogether."That's when she met Dave.Autism has been making headlines lately, especially now that more and more children are being diagnosed with it.Celeb mom Jenny Mc Carthy, for one, speaks and writes about her son's autism. Or both."The attention, good and bad, has made it somewhat easier for adult autistics to find acceptance in the world."I was very anxious about how she would manage as an adult and whether she would have a social life at all or find love."Yet Lindsey's torment fueled a determination to learn the very skills that eluded her.Her best resource: Dale Carnegie's self-help classic .There are two bedrooms in the cozy Jackson, Mississippi, apartment: Dave Hamrick's is like a dad's den, with a striped beige armchair and a hanging map; Lindsey Nebeker's is darkly girly, with spiky dried roses hung over a bed topped by a graphic leaf-print quilt.After work on any given evening, Dave and Lindsey are likely to be orbiting the home separately, doing their own thing.Still, successful relationships aren't very common, especially relationships in which partners have autism.Lindsey and Dave have experienced their fair share of heartache: at school, among so-called friends, in their search for partners.She became silent, and I knew I had blown it."Depressed, Lindsey burned herself with a curling iron and cut her arms with safety pins, hiding her injuries with sweatshirts."Lindsey's struggles were heartbreaking," says her mother, Anne Nebeker, 63, a retired teacher in Logan, Utah.