"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Monday, April 5, 2010

autism awareness month

The word autism strikes fear in the heart of many... I always thought it was a parents worst nightmare and I thanked God daily that he had only chosen me to work with autistic children and not walk that road as a parent...
until Noah was diagnosed as having autism. 

I am convinced that Noah was born autistic... and that he was born just the way that God intended.  He never liked to be held as a baby. He missed every developmental milestone... I was so thankful to have him that he could have had 2 heads and he would have been perfect in my eyes... but on that day he was diagnosed I was so scared and I grieved what Noah would never have... what he would miss out on... on what that meant for all of us... and then I got busy. I educated myself, I read everything, I prayed.

Noah amazes me. Autism didn't beat him. As a mom my heart still aches for him as he struggles with issues, when things are not as easy for him, but he has taught me so much.  And I thank God for that. Noah isn't private about his autism. He tells people. That is just how he is... there is nothing to hide or be ashamed of... he is how God made him... a special creation...

Noah sees things in black and white. No gray. Ever. Right or wrong... hard when there is so much gray...  He is so very literal... raining cats and dogs? not possible. Humor is hard for him.  He has a great sense of humor but sometimes struggles understanding jokes (although he loves to kid around).  He is sturctured and doesnt deviate from the plan...

I read somewhere that while the average persons brain is like a funnel...  we can take everything that is swirling around in the top of the funnel and pull out what the most important things out while still noticing the small stuff (lights, smells, noises) but not needing them to come down the funnel.  A person with autism has a brain like a collindar. Everything...every noise, light, sound, smell, touch invades their brain at the same time with the same intensity...  makes so much sense to me.  Pain is perceived differently... a hangnail can cause hours of anguish and true intense pain, yet Noah broke his arm and while complaining that it hurt finished out the school day. Cutting his hair and fingernails hurts.  Noises hurt.

I forget that I have to explain everything... in great detail. Whatever gets left out... gets left out.  I asked noah to turn on the water, shower and then turn it off.  And so he did. For quite awhile. And then he started not smelling so great.  I never happened to mention that soap and shampoo were involved. He was turning on the water, showering, and then turning off the water...

Noah is amazing. He loves, he trusts, he is good and polite and kind. He is smart and memorizes everything. I no longer grieve what Noah lost to autism. I thank God for what he has given us, blessed us with.  I wish we could all have a bit more of Noah in us... it would make for a better world.  I cant say that I wish autism on anyone on any family. I wish there was a cure. But it is no longer my worst nightmare. It is just a bend in our road. And i will continue to celebrate each and every milestone...

This year Noah played football for the very first time. We, all his friends their parents and our family, knew this was not going to go great. How could a kid who doesn't like to be touched play tackle football. Noah was determined.  He has all the plays memorized. He knows how to play in his mind.  The very first game Noah tackled a guy and didn't just make the tackle but cleaned this kids clock.  When I took my hands away from my face from cheering what I saw I will never forget. The game was still going on, the clock running, but the team had rushed the field, picked Noah up and were cheering him on like he had won the superbowl. I was immediately wrapped in the arms of his best friends mom who was sobbing... 'he did it"!  

"For you created my inmost being;

you knit me together in my mother's womb.

 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

your works are wonderful,

I know that full well." Psalm 139 13-14

1 comment:

Whitney said...

This was moving, and so well-written! Thank you for sharing!