It is openly known that Max's character has Aspergers Syndrome, which is an Autistic Spectrum Disorder. He has a "radius" within the house that he follows and must ask his parents before he deviates from that radius. Even when an aunt assures Max that it is okay, Max insists that he must ask his parent's permission first. Max is also good with photography, he just doesn't understand why it's inappropriate to take pictures of girls crying.
"They may have autism, but they are more than just autism," Helton said. "It doesn't mean they aren't intelligent."
"I think we all have some characteristics," Helton said. For example, most people engage in self-soothing activities such as fidgeting and many people become interested in one topic.
Those with autism are highly sensitive to sensory stimulation. The buzz in a light–or the sudden absence of it–can cause a major disruption. Food texture or strong smells can cause a meltdown.
If things do not stay in a pattern, those with autism can become very upset. This high need for control, Helton said, is not a choice and it is very uncomfortable.
What is problematic for the autistic child as well as his caregiver, is that the child cannot express what is bothering him. Sometimes, in the midst of a meltdown, the child does not want human contact and may find any attempts to communicate with him upsetting.
"I think autism has been so misunderstood," Helton said, who added that those with autism often have unique personalities. "If we could just celebrate that."
The Chuska team will consist of Davis and Helton as well as members of Helton's family: Jim Kunze, Thomas Tower, Val Tower, Caitlyn Tower, Lathan Springer, Jeanna Hembree, Trevor Erhardt and Marcella Erhardt.