"Your son is Autistic. Not the Asperger's form that you hoped for, but the actual Autism. At 27 months of age, he has the cognitive level of about a 8 month old." I will never forget the feeling of having my heart drop into my stomach. My precious miracle baby was Autistic. I wanted to say, you are wrong. You don't see him as I do. He is just uneasy because he is in a new place with strangers. There were so many excuses running through my mind that I had a hard time hearing what the specialists were saying. "His cognitive ability is that of a 6-8 month old. He is non-verbal, vocalizing like a 6 month old, but may understand what you say at a 10 month old's level." "Physical development is 2 years delayed." The diagnosis just kept coming and I just wanted them to shut up.
We knew something was wrong about a year earlier. I had people asking me if Micah had Autism. The first time I heard that I wanted to let my "momma tiger" side loose on the woman. What nerve! To insinuate that my precious little boy had something wrong with him. By the time a 3rd person said something a couple months later, I was looking up the characteristics of autism so I could tell them they were full of bologna. Then I talked to a friend in California who has a daughter with Asperger's. That was when reality started sinking in. Not completely, but it was starting. I forced myself to open my eyes and try to take an objective look at Micah. Next, we took him to the doctor and voiced our concerns. Upon observing him, she agreed that something was not right and had 2 teachers who work with special needs kids come by. They all agreed that Micah was showing signs of autism. Next step was to have him evaluated by the Child Study Center at Oklahoma University Medical Center in Oklahoma City. That is where we got the official diagnosis 10 months later. During the waiting period until the appointment, I educated myself on therapies I could do at home with him and got started right away. Since that diagnosis 8 months ago, we have been going through the Early Intervention program with some improvement. He is doing better than when we started, but has much yet to learn and accomplish.
Some of the greatest change and growth has been happening to me. I have learned to be at peace in my heart about Micah's autism. Each day, Micah shows me a glimpse of the Lord. I see the grace and blessings of the Lord each time Micah smiles. I hear it when Micah laughs & giggles. When Micah snuggles up in my lap and wants a cuddle, I feel the comfort of my Lord around me. The first time I asked Micah to show me a circle and he pointed to a circle, I saw a miracle of the Lord. I praise the Lord for each miracle that I see every day in Micah. His ability to play along side his sister, Abbie, or his ability to just simply sit quietly with her and stroke her hair. Watching Abbie as she shows him how to work a more challenging puzzle, and she tells me that she is "homeschooling Micah", I see the love and compassion of the Lord. Abbie's complete acceptance of Micah is a glimpse of the Lord's love for all, no matter what they have done or who they are. When I see Abbie defending her brother, I am reminded of how the Lord watches over us.
Each day, I can find comfort in knowing that the Lord has Micah in His loving hands. Micah is a testimony of the Lord. He testifies to me every day through the simple actions and vocalizations that are just Micah being himself. I see the testimony of the Lord's love for us through seeing Abbie interact with Micah.
I thank the Lord for giving us Micah and Abbie. I thank the Lord for Autism and how through it, Micah is able to be such a testimony of the Lord to those around him. I am grateful to the Lord for Abbie's example of His love and compassion for us all. Though autism can be a devastating thing, it can become a great blessings to those who know or live with an autistic loved one. It all comes down to your choice in whether to see your cup half empty or half full.
For me, my cup is full and running over.
***After writing this post, I was blessed with another "seeing the Lord's hand" moment. On Saturday, March 5th, my son hugged me and said "love you" for the first time. We had been playing and he simply leaned against me, hugging me and the words came out. I hugged him and told him that I love him. I am realistic in knowing that it may be a long time before I hear those words again. I am full of hope and joy. I know that the day will come when Micah will be able to communicate on a daily basis and no longer be considered non-verbal. It is only a matter of time. The Lord is helping him and I know that the Lord will guide him through the maze of autism. One day, he will surprise everyone and share what is on his mind and heart.