Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Challenge & Blessing called Autism

Our family has been making some winter preps lately which have kept us busy. I haven't been able to get to the library for about a month!

A little over a month ago, we had a Dr. confirm something that we have been beginning to suspect with our son, Micah. We learned that he has a mild form of Autism. We are so grateful to the Lord that the autism appears to be a mild form and not the very severe type. In that Micah and our family have been greatly blessed.

Several issues led us to have Micah checked out. He is very delayed in some of his development. At 18 months old, he babbles like a 6 month old and doesn't talk as he should be doing. He is unable to feed himself or hold his bottle/cup to drink from it. When he looks at you, eye contact is very fleeting and not a good maintained contact. There are many other signals, such as finger flapping, "zoning out", and obsessive behaviors that are very common autism traits.

Finding out that Micah has autism has been both a blessing and a challenge. It is a blessing to actually know what is going on. Now that we know, we can help him better. It is a challenge though on several levels. We now have to learn what we can do to help Micah to develop and thrive. One of the hard parts though is to grieve and let go of the ideas we had for him before.

All parents have hopes and dreams for their children. When you learn that you have a special needs child, you have to mourn and let go of many of those hopes & dreams. Not because you child will never be able to do those things. You need to do it so that you can better accept things as they are and then effectively work at helping your child to reach attainable goals.

I still have all the hopes and dreams that Micah will grow to be as independent as he is able. I know that with the Lord's help ALL things are possible. We will do what we can for him and trust in the Lord to take care of him.

I am learning to cherish the little things. A couple of months ago, Micah crawled across the floor to me and called me "Momma" for the first time. It was a special moment that to date has not been repeated. That moment was a gift that I am treasuring. When I give him a hug, I don't get the typical hug back but sometimes he will take his hand and squeeze my arm several times as I hug him. That is the way he responds to my hugs.

I am finding that Micah's autism is very eye opening. Through him, I am learning to never take the little things for granted. It is even blessing me in the way I am handling Abigail's 3-yr old moods. It is a slow process but I am gaining more patience. I am taking life in the moment and enjoying it even more than before.

Life with autism can be a challenge but I give the Lord praise in that He has blessed our family. We know that Micah will be fine. He will grow into a young man that the Lord can use to show His love and grace.

May the Lord be with you all.