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.


Anonymous said...

I have so missed hearing from you, but I understand the busyness of the season. I praise God that you have been able to get answers for Micah and I will pray that God will continue to bless you with the answers that you will need to meet his needs. Thank you for your transparency and willingness to share the good and the challenging parts of life. I thank God for blessing me by letting me cross paths with you.


Jenna said...

May the Lord bless you in your journey with Autism. My son Luke was diagnosed with Aspeberger's almost 2 years ago. He is 13 yrs old now and has so many struggles,but is still blessed to be high functioning. His older brother is a very popular, well behaved young man and Luke is often asked "why can't you be more like him?"...Luke told me, "Ryan is having his reward now, but mine will happen in God's time."

Darlene said...

One of the best things you can do for Micah is to treat him as if he didn't have a problem. By that I mean that you discipline him and give him chores just like you would have done if he was "normal". Many times parents of children with "differences" add to the child's handicap by "making allowances" that they don't make in the other children. In his case, because it's "mild", he can do most of what other kids do.

I have a son that I've come to believe has mild autism. He didn't talk until he was almost 3 years old. Oh, he would point and grunt or communicate in other ways, but not talking. He would make repetitive noises. If he started "barking" he would "bark" all day. If he went "brrrmmm" (car sound), it continued all day long. It drove me nuts. He will still get on a roll with noises and he's 17!

He has an odd gate when he runs, despite being athletic. He will have emotional outbursts over small things - that's getting better as he gets older. He has a very high IQ, but he has dyslexia, ADD and audio-processing issues. He had vision problems that went untreated by 7 MD's in 2 states.

He just feel through the cracks with a lot of things. We were able to homeschool him and that has been a real blessing. He's now working on his Eagle project. Yes, he didn't earned it at 14 when a lot of boys in his troop did, but it has been his own efforts that have gotten him to where he is now, not mine. (Because I left it for him to do in his own time. I wanted it to be his work. I would remind him that he needed to do the work, but let him not do it instead of walking him through it or doing it myself - which is what a lot of "walking them through it ended up being.)

There's a whole world out there that mildly autistic kids can function in, it's giving them the skills to do it and not "babying" them. With some kids that's easier than others. Even "normal" kids will all be different and need different discipline from other siblings. I've got one I could have "talked to" or beaten to death and she would have just rebelled. But to send her to her room or to have make her write "lines" (I will speak with respect to my mother. lol) and she was in tears and the behavior was not repeated for a while - and this in an ADHD kid. Another child, the merest hint of disapproval and she was in tears. They're all different. Love, consistent rules, being on the same page with your spouse and more love seem to be the trick. (It's unfortunate that my exhusband never would follow through with what we decided. He loved playing "good daddy" and making me "mean mommy". Not so good for the kids and they have suffered because of it.

Good luck with this journey. Prayer will be your best help for our Father in Heaven knows your children better than anyone and HE didn't send them here to fail. Nor did he send YOU here to fail! (Success is getting up one more time than you've been knocked down! Though some days that's harder than others.

Linda said...

It is so nice to hear from you Paula! It is sad that little Micah has autism. That has to be a challenge for not only you and your family, but for Micah as well.

My thoughts and prayers will be with you my friend!


Blessedmom said...

My heart goes out to you Paula. You are right, autism is both a challenge and a blessing. Before I found my calling to be a stay at home wife and mother, I worked one on one with autistic children. I loved it, and pray that one day the Lord would allow me to work with these special children again.

It fascinated me how they learned, because they are fully capable of learning so much, but you have to know the right way to go about it. I still have your address from when we did a swap a year or two ago, since you're not able to get to the computer very often, I'll snail mail you. Talk to you soon.

In His Grace,

Paula said...

I realize your family doesn't eat the junk most "modern" families do, but look into dietary changes. I've heard some really amazing things about the changes that can happen with an "autism diet". So glad his case is mild. With lots of love and prayer I'm sure your little one will be wonderful.


Brenda said...

I have a son with Asperger's Syndrome, an autistic off shoot. He has been difficult and challenging....but sooo special. He is 17 now and doing really good, better than I ever thought possible. It is nice to know so young. We didn't find out until he was 3. Brenda

TEAM HALL said...

I've been thinking about you a lot, since reading this post. Our China born, adopted daughter (6) has Autism as well. It's been a tough row to hoe. I don't know you in person, but from your other posts, I know you're one strong lady! You will do great! One piece of advice if I may...go with your gut instinct when it comes to the care of your child. You don't have to listen to everything the so-called professionals have to say. Autism has become quite the "industry" and there are a lot of people with their finger in the pie taking their slice along the way.
My heart goes out to you and your family,

Le-Teisha said...

I too have a special needs son. He is 19 and things that the school and doctors said he would never do he is now able to do. He is a joy and a blessing to have and although the road isn't easy it is well worth it. I will pray for you and your family.

Jeanne said...

Paula, God has given you a special gift in Micah. You are truly blessed and so is Micah. This will be challenging but God will see you through it. Keep Faith and know that He is always with you!

Alice said...

I used to work with kids with autism, although the ones I worked with had other serious disorders as well- so my brother gave me a book he though I might be interested in, "Look Me in the Eye" by John Robison. John Robison has asbergers, but wasn't diagnosed until his 40's, it's a really interesting look into the mind of someone with an autistic spectrum disorder (also it's nice to see how much he has done with his life).

Scarlett said...

You have likely already read about this, but many people are saying that a Gluten free diet helps autism. I can't say one way or another, because I have not dealt with it first hand. Might be worth some extra reading up though. Good luck and God Bless.

Sharmayne said...

Hello Paula,
Thankyou for sharing how the children are doing. I'm sad to hear about Micah, but like you, am grateful it is not a severe type of Autism. Please know that your sisters from Country Scents will keep your family uplifted in prayer as you learn different strategies to help Micah & yourselves. Love & Hugs, Sharm

debbieo said...

I do not know your story but I am curious if your child with autism had been vaccinated. I have been listening to Dr. Scott A. Jonson and I am now convinced we should not even go to Dr.s. He doesnt say that but that is my feeling.
take care,
Mrs Olson