Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Precious Blessings

Today, I am writing to share with you a precious blessing. Over the
past month, our family has gone through some changes that affected
routines for Little Man. As anyone familiar with Autism knows, this can
bring about stress on your autistic child or loved one. With this in
mind, we relaxed the routine to give Little Man the time to adjust.
With that decision came a blessing.

Instead of doing structured therapy with Little Man at home, I have been
simply letting him enjoy his days. I gave him all the time he wanted to
play in a quiet room. With 7 people in the house, I felt it was
important to give him that time to adjust to the increased activity
level. Today, he spends very little time playing in a quiet room
alone. He has chosen to spend more time each day with the rest of us.
I have left it totally up to him. Only Little Man knows how much of the
stimulation he can handle. He now only goes to that room for very brief
periods unless he is tired and wanting to lay down. When he is with us,
he is more engaged in what we are doing. He may not always participate,
but he is there with us and taking part in his own way.

A few days ago, Little Man began to feed himself his cheese crackers.
What a blessing! At 42 months of age, he has finally figured it out and
is consistently doing it. We now leave a little 3-section container
where he can get to it stocked with his favorite cheese crackers and a
couple of other snacks. He goes to it whenever he is hungry and feeds
himself. We are now working on getting him to feed himself finger foods
at meal times.

Today (Tuesday) Little Man came up to me and signed "cookie." I hadn't
taught him that sign yet, but months ago had used it. He had remembered
that sign and asked for a cookie today. I gave him a cookie, broken
into finger food sized pieces in his dish, and he gave me his cup. I
asked him if he wanted water or milk. He looked towards the
refrigerator instead of the water pitcher on the table. I asked if he
wanted milk and he signed "yes" which is another sign I hadn't worked on
with him. I got his milk for him and he was all smiles.

The relaxed atmosphere is benefiting Little Man more than any structured
therapy has to date. We are involving him in our daily activities just
as you would a young toddler or child. I am finding that he is eager to
participate. He is enjoying the connection with us and now seeks it
out. Our son is turning into a more confident child. No more outbursts
from frustration. No more hitting himself or screaming out because of
not being able to communicate his needs. He is gesturing or signing
consistently now.

I know that it is the Lord's blessing and grace that is aiding him. It
is as though a switch has been flipped on inside of Little Man. He has
always been a joy in our lives. Seeing his joy in the realization that
he is able to convey his wants and needs is a humbling event that just
shouts out to my heart how much the Lord is involved in this journey.

So many friends and family, especially our church family, have been
keeping Little Man in their prayers. The Lord is hearing our prayers
and answering them. I feel so grateful to the Lord for allowing me to
see Him through our son. Not a day go by that the Lord's presence is
not being shown to us. He is with our Little Man with every step he
takes from the isolation and withdrawal of autism to being an active
participant in our family. It renews each day my conviction that Little
Man will one day be able to stand up and share his testimony of what he
has been able to do & how far he has come in his life in spite of his
autism through the Lord's power and grace.

Ready for Thanksgiving

I am ahead of the game this year and am loving it. I am taking a very
proactive approach and preparing ahead for the holiday season. One area
is in the stocking of the pantry. As of last week, the only things I
still need to buy for the Thanksgiving dinner this year is the turkey,
fresh cranberries and possibly acorn squash. Here is an idea of our
typical Thanksgiving menu.

Turkey - usually bought a few days before when prices are at their lowest.
Dressing - I bake bread to use in the stuffing/dressing. The other
ingredients are items that I normally have stocked in the pantry year round.
Whole Cranberry Sauce - I make this using fresh cranberries. This year
I may try home canning it since finding the recipe in the Ball Blue Book
canning guide.
Baked Acorn Squash - this is a favorite in our family. Sometimes, I
will make it glazed.
Candied Sweet Potato Casserole - a favorite containing pineapple and
Pumpkin pie - made from fresh pumpkins
Sweet Potato Pie - one of my favorites
Shoo-fly Pie - a rich pie made sweetened with molasses
Dinner Rolls

This is always the start of "holiday cookie season" in our family. We
have a couple varieties of holiday cookies made. This year, I have some
autumn themed cookie cutters and plan to let the kids help make &
decorate some sugar cookies.

Of all the ingredients, I am so thrilled to have all but what must be
bought fresh. Who knows, one year we may even be so blessed as to raise
our own turkey. If we had a shelter and safe pen for it, we could buy a
turkey pullet in the spring and raise it until needed for Thanksgiving
dinner. I am looking forward to the day when I can say that we
literally raised each vegetable and meat used in our holiday meal. That
day will come soon enough. Until then, I am just grateful to be as
prepared as I am for this year's special family dinner.