First time ever

For the first time ever, I was able to leave my son unattended with a group of peers on the school playground, and not worry about him exploding. And I was able to leave both of my children with a group of peers and one adult who may or may not have been capable of keeping the peace at the church gymnasium after Sunday School. I was able to relax and talk with friends, and come back 10 minutes later to find all children still having fun, in both instances.

Honestly, just a month ago, I would have laughed if you told me that was possible. I would not allow my son out of my sight unless I was confident that there was another adult who was aware of his needs and could intervene appropriately, if he became stressed out with a peer.

I finally feel like a normal mother!

I don’t plan on leaving him unattended for more time anytime soon. But 10 minutes is amazing! I am so proud of him, and his peers who have embraced his needs and support him, while teaching him how to act more, “normal.”

Thank you for all of your prayers! They are working! I pray for all of you waiting for a breakthrough, that it would come, and that God would hug you while you wait. For those of you who have children with more significant disabilities, who know they will probably never see such a breakthrough, my heart goes out to you and I pray God’s promise, that He will never leave you, and that His grace is sufficient.

Also, I realize that this new state of being may be fleeting, and may not appear again for some time. Just like when I learn a new interpersonal skill, but then get lazy and backslide. I hope, for his sake, more than mine, that he keeps on building on this ability!

autistic child + losing my mind

My heart goes out to whomever (or whoever, I can never remember which is the correct one to use when) it was that found my blog using those search terms.

I was to that point, myself, this past Monday and Tuesday. After a typical weekend of my son’s constant fussing over every little thing, picking a verbal fight with anyone in hearing range, I let out a sigh after dropping him and his sister off at school Monday morning, and started in praying for new hope, new forgiveness for him, new love for him, so that I would be happy to see him and support him when I picked him up from school later that day.

Usually just a few minutes of remembering God’s admonishments to love our enemies, do good to those that think they hate us (my paraphrase added – I think most parents know where I am coming from here), put others needs before our own, forgive as He has forgiven us, then, remembering that God promises to always give us the strength and support we need to accomplish those tasks gets me back on track. I usually feel energized, or at least a little hopeful and positive.

But this Monday, nothing helped. I was tired and frustrated. I knew that God had seen me through before, so I was able to be civil when I picked my son up, but there were no warm supportive feelings – just trying to do my job properly, hoping that the feelings would come back sometime.

Tuesday I wasn’t feeling any better. I had offered to help a friend out at a local Christian ministry that afternoon, so I showed up and was told that I would be calling people to set up appointments for them to talk to my friend about prayer ministry opportunities. Those of you who know me well are probably laughing right now. I really have a difficult time making phone calls, and calling people I don’t even know, to see if they want to sign up for something is definitely on the bottom of my list of things I feel comfortable with. But on the way to the ministry I had told God that I would be willing to do whatever He required of me, no matter how mundane or out of my comfort zone, so there I was.

Since I believed in the “product I was selling,” so to speak, it wasn’t so bad, and I actually enjoyed myself a bit. Though I must admit that I was thrilled that most of the calls landed me into voicemail, where I could simply leave a message. As my time was drawing to a close, I dialed the phone one last time and ended up contacting a live person. He told me that he was already praying for the ministry, so didn’t need to set up an appointment, but then asked if I wanted prayer for anything. Since my own prayers hadn’t been working like usual, I thought I best not pass up this opportunity.

I told this kind-sounding stranger that my kid was stressing me out. “He has Asperger’s Syndrome,” I explained, and I just wanted a little prayer.

“I know a lot about that,” responded the stranger, with warmth and hope in his voice. “I married into a family with two children with autism. Would you like to talk to my wife?”

I felt a little odd taking up some of my volunteer minutes to get help myself, but since I wasn’t going to have time to make many more calls, anyway, I decided that I would be crazy to pass up such valuable support. “Sure,” I responded.

I then spent the next 10 minutes learning about how this mom worked with her son, who is graduating from high school this spring. It was inspiring to hear the hope she had in her voice. It was also comforting (my husband shakes his head at this, because I guess guys are not comforted by learning that someone else has a tough situation just like you, but girls do find it so) to hear her exasperation, frustration, and to hear for real, again, that I am not alone in this crazy world of raising a son with Asperger’s.

She said that, “Love and Logic,” and “The Nurtured Heart” approach have worked the best for their family. I have heard about both, but plan to get better aquainted with them, and try to use them myself.

She recommended writing lists of their tasks so that there is less to argue about, and then sticking to the broken record of, “When your list is complete, then you can play on the computer.” She said that staying very consistent, but calm when consequences needed to be handed out, then praising for good behavior was helpful. Also, having a carrot to work for rather than a stick to avoid was most motivating, though the stick is unavoidable at times.

I still am so floored that He met me in such an unusual way. Had my friend asked, would you like to make phone calls for me, I probably would have said, “You know, that is really not my strength.” I am so glad that I allowed myself to heed God’s leading to do something that made me uncomfortable. Through my obedience, He was able to give me the exact encouragement I needed, in a place that I never anticipated finding it.

I pray that all of us who are “autistic child + losing my mind” would find the support we need in Him.

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.