We do NOT want him labeled!

(You Want to Test My Kid for What? Devotional #4)

Proverbs 22:1  A good name is more desirable than great riches.

My husband and I were caught in a catch 22. We were pretty sure that our son was not, “normal.” But our state won’t let anyone in their employ help our son without giving him a label, first. It makes sense that the state can’t okay the disbursement of funds unless there is documented need for those funds. But we were afraid that getting that label would fundamentally change how the world treated our son.

I suppose we could have had him tested and labeled by the school district without telling anyone we knew about it. But the label would follow him throughout his school career. Eventually word would get out. We could have chosen to have him tested by a private agency, but again, if he needed help once he became school-age, the label would have to be shared with the school district. We knew that realistically, there would be no way to keep such a label from affecting him.

We were afraid that people would consider him to be stupid, that they would not give him a chance at life, that they would make fun of him or find ways to manipulate and use him. So we decided that at two years of age, a label was not what we wanted for him.

Was it selfish on our part to not move forward with testing? Were we just too scared to deal with the implications of a label? Possibly. Do I sit and wonder what our child would be like if we had decided to get help for him earlier? No. We made the best decisions we knew how to at the time, and I believe God will honor that.

What things do you worry about should your child receive the label of, “Autism?”

Thankfully people today are much more open to treating those with differences as an important part of society, compared to previous generations where people with differences were often hid away.

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You want to test my child for what?

(You Want to Test My Kid for What? Devotional #3)

Psalm 121:5  The Lord watches over you.

When our son was two, my husband and I decided to have him tested for developmental delays, as he was not talking as well as his sister 15 months his junior or his nephews who are exactly 7 months younger than him. During his two-year check-up, I asked our pediatrician where she would recommend that we go for testing. She didn’t think there was anything wrong with our child, but gave me the names of some agencies none-the-less.

We decided to go with the Early Childhood and Family Education (ECFE) department in our school district. When I contacted them with our concerns they agreed to send an early childhood specialist to our home to ask some questions and observe our child. They would then be able to recommend next steps based on her observations.

When the specialist arrived, our son was happily playing at his train table. He let her play with him and acted as he normally does. Part of me was hoping that she would find nothing wrong with him, while the other part of me was hoping she would.

After playing with and observing him for some time, and then asking me numerous questions, she left, with the promise to return in several weeks with her findings.

Several weeks later she and another specialist arrived at my door. We sat down in the living room, and the second specialist asked me a few questions like, does your child have driving routes memorized? After answering affirmatively to most of her questions, she said the words that would change our lives forever: “We would like to test your son for Autism.”

In a bit of shock, I thanked them for their time and told them that my husband and I would discuss it and get back to them. Surprisingly, though they confirmed the thoughts that I had had for almost two years, I gladly agreed with my husband that he was too young to be tested for something so serious. Many children didn’t talk well at 24 months, we reasoned. Besides we didn’t want him labeled, and then treated badly because of the label.

Are you thinking of having your child tested for developmental delays or disabilities?

If you have a pediatrician that you trust, like we did, I would recommend asking him or her where to start. Otherwise, I would contact your school district for information on early childhood screening.

My family thinks I am making things up.

(You Want to Test My Kid for What? Devotional #2)

Ecclesiastes 7:8  “Patience is better than pride.”

I am a very analytical person, and I have been known to struggle with overinflated fears. On the other hand, my mother and sister like to take life as it comes. My husband is analytical, but he tends to look at life from a more optimistic perspective than I.

So when I shared with these individuals that I thought the baby may have autism, they pretty much laughed at me. The good thing about no one else recognizing his disability is that he was treated like a normal child. No pity was given or special allowances made. All hopes and dreams for a normal life for him were firmly intact. He was loved and adored as the whole child God created him to be.

The bad news, from a human perspective, is that he did not start receiving the assistance that he needed until much later. However, from an eternal perspective, there is no bad news. God knew the family He was placing this child into. He knew when this child’s disability would be recognized. Everything is going according to His plan.

Are your concerns or the concerns of others about your child grounded in reality? Are you finding yourself needing to wait for others to agree with you that your child needs help?

Remember that God cares more about your child than even you do, and He can work miracles in the lives of everyone involved.

Something is not Quite Right

(You Want to Test My Kid for What? Devotional #1)

Isaiah 61: 1-2 (1) “ …the Lord has anointed me … to comfort all who mourn.”

When my son was six-months old, I started to notice how he would play with just one thing for weeks at a time. As an infant he became obsessed with spinning ball cage attached to his exercise saucer. When he was a year old he would hoist himself up by the stereo system and play the music that he wanted to listen to, for hours on end – literally all day, except for when I pulled him away to eat and sleep. This lasted for two weeks. He then switched to a new obsession. One thing that remained constant was his desire to spin things. He would try to spin a sheet of paper, a square block, his sister’s dolls, anything.

He also seemed somewhat behind in his speaking skills. He had started to say words at 15 months, but stopped when his sister was born a month later. It is not unusual for children to regress when a new sibling arrives. However, when he was two, he started to speak a little, but by three years old he still said very little.

I was convinced that he was not normal when I took him to Musikgarten class. He spent the first few classes curled in the fetal position with his face buried in my lap. When he finally did try to participate in class, he had fun, but was not at all in the same world as all of the other kids. I cried the whole way home. What was life going to be like for him? What was I to do?

What are some of the things that your child does that seem odd to you?

I found the following list of behaviors from the Autism Society of America to be helpful when trying to decide whether or not I needed to look into help for my child:

  • Lack of or delay in spoken language
  • Repetitive use of language and/or motor mannerisms (e.g., hand-flapping, twirling objects)
  • Little or no eye contact
  • Lack of interest in peer relationships
  • Lack of spontaneous or make-believe play
  • Persistent fixation on parts of objects

Thoughts on the release of the Libyan bomber

Micah 6:8

“He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

 

I cannot imagine the pain endured by the families who lost loved ones on the flight that was allegedly bombed by the Libyan recently released from the Scotland prison. But from what I heard of the Scotland leader’s speech, the leader understood and respected the above Bible verse. His country had acted justly in imprisoning the Libyan, but now they were loving mercy and walking humbly with God by releasing the Libyan to his family.