Wow! I hadn't thought about doing this so soon, but I am so glad that I have chosen to do so. This past week, I have been incorporating Micah's therapy into Abbie's preschooling time. Abbie is on such a routine with her preschooling that it is not hard to add Micah into it. I set Micah up at the kitchen table across from Abbie and as she works on her file folder game or other project, I help Micah. What a huge blessing this is. Prior to now, Abbie would get a bit jealous of my therapy time with Micah. Now, I am able to help them both at the same time without any negative responses from either of them.
On one day, we got out the finger paints and I let the kids have fun. For Micah, I taped the paper to the table so it wouldn't get knocked off and frustrate him. Keeping in mind that Micah has issues with his hands getting sticky or dirty, I knew this was possibly a big mistake. I wanted to start working to help him understand that it is okay to get dirty hands. I put a dallop of yellow, red, and blue finger paints on his paper. Then I took his hands and smeared them just a little in the paint. At first, Micah simply looked at the paint on his hands as though he was not sure what to think about it. He must have decided that it was harmless because he started wiping his hands back and forth across the paper. The painted design looked like a rainbow by the time he was done. His time painting only lasted a few minutes, but for that brief moment in time, he was enjoying it.
Another issue that I am beginning to take charge of is his inability to feed himself finger foods. He seems to not have the desire to feed himself. I can let him sit in front of some fruit loops (his current favorite cereal) and even though he is hungry & crying, he won't even attempt to feed himself. I got him up in his high chair at the table and put a 2-sectioned dish in front of him. It is a small plastic container with 2 compartments. I put a handful of fruit loops in one section. While I had his attention, I slowly picked up the cereal one piece at a time and placed them in the other section. Once I had them all moved over, I repeated the process to place them all back in the other section again. All this time, I was quietly explaining to Micah what I was doing. It is surprising just how attentive he can be at times! If you can capture his interest, he really pays close attention to what you are doing. After I finished, I stepped aside asking Micah if he could do it. The first day didn't work out so well. He grabbed handfuls of the cereal and threw it to the floor. On the second day, after watching very closely, he carefully moved all the cereal to the other section one piece at a time. What a blessing! He saw what I wanted him to do and responded correctly! He only did it once all the way through, moving all the cereal pieces, but it was a big step up from simply throwing the cereal onto the floor. I left him to play with the cereal and noticed that he tried to grab a small handful and bring it to his mouth. He forgot to open up his hand, thus the cereal never made it into his mouth. Micah got very frustrated and threw the cereal down. I fed him the remaining cereal and he was quite happy again. I know from watching him that it is only a matter of time before he figures out how to get that cereal into his mouth.
The Lord is blessing us so much. Each week, we are seeing Micah learn a new skill or make a small step of progress. I am grateful to the Lord for allowing me to watch and take notice of the changes. It fortifies me during the hard days when Micah has trouble coping with changes to his routine. I thank the Lord for Micah and all of his personality quirks! Through Micah, I am learning to be a better Momma to both him and Abigail. I am learning patience and am finding the beauty in the smallest of things.
I realize that Micah is not handicapped at all. I have been. I have been handicapped with my preceptions of what a happy child looks like, with my ideas of what is acceptable in the world's eyes, and in my attitude towards the old saying that children are a reflection of their parents. In raising & working with Micah, I find that he is working with me much more than I with him. He is teaching me lessons about the Lord's loving acceptance of each of us for who we are. Micah shows me every day that the things that the world finds to be critical for our lives may have absolutely nothing to do with what the Lord finds to be important. The Lord doesn't care if Micah can feed himself fruit loops. He does care about whether or not Micah is loved and accepted as he is. He cares about whether or not we teach Micah about the Lord. To the world, Micah has a lot of areas to be taught and corrected in to become "socially acceptable", but it means nothing! Yes, we want Micah to grow into as independent of a young man as possible so that he will not have to be completely rliant on others. More importantly though, he needs to be taught that he was created by the Lord just as he is. The Lord has a purpose in mind for Micah. Through Micah, the Lord can be praised when Micah can declare to others "I may have autism, but look wat I am able to accomplish through the Lord's grace and blessing!"
Preschooling Micah is definitely going to be teaching him skills and information that will prepare him for homeschooling. It is also blessing me as I watch him grow and gain skills through the Lord's help. I'm learning to not set in my mind any limits on Micah. The only limits that he will have are the ones he sets upon himself. Through the Lord, we all are able to achieve the highest reaches of our potential. We only have to remember that it is through the Lord that we are able to do all things.