"These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world." - John 16:33

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Nothing short of a miracle...

This morning I had the most amazing thing happen with my son but before I tell you about it lets go back to December 7, 2009.  It's the day when our lives changed forever.  We would never be the same again.  Here is a picture from that August. This was his birthday before that fateful day.


Peanuts second Birthday Party
  Notice the lack of clothing? Notice his hands over his ears?  Notice his back turned from the other kids?  I had to open his presents for him because he just wasn't interested.  I picked this picture of him because it depicts where he was at the time.  For most of Peanuts young life he struggled with MANY things.  He was a choking  risk when eating (because of low sensory input in his mouth), he didn't make eye contact with anyone including us, he didn't even acknowledge the existence of his peers, he had Pica, he didn't play with toys purposefully (instead he would hold them and run in circles around the house), he couldn't push himself on a ride-on toy, he couldn't jump, he couldn't go up or down stairs without assistance, he didn't color, his speech was limited to severe Echolalia, there was a question that he may be having silent seizures, should I continue???

December 7, 2009 was the day our Peanut was diagnosed with Autism.  We had questioned it from almost the beginning.  Any time we asked a Pediatrician or a therapist they would tell us not to worry.  Then we changed Pediatricians and they agreed, Peanut needed to see a Neurologist.    After the numbness from receiving his diagnosis wore off we jumped into action.  We increased his speech therapy and his OT through early intervention.  We also enrolled him into an ABA based program called Parent 2 Child.  This was an incredible program and it was such a blessing to be a part of.  We also began to explore biomedical approaches as well.  We were weary but kept an open mind about it all.  We began a Gluten free diet first and Peanut seemed to come out of his "fog" that he was in.  It was like a veil was lifted from his eyes and suddenly he noticed the world.  His staring episodes stopped, he began talking spontaneously, and he even began to notice other children!  The rest is history. 

Jacob now is on a gluten free, casein free, soy free (aka GFCFSF) , organic (which includes no dyes, artificial coloring or preservatives), low sugar and low salicylate diet . (and yes, I'm able to find food he'll eat too!).  He takes multiple supplements daily, he does OT, speech therapy, Sensory integration therapy, music therapy, and ABA therapy.  His ABA therapy in an ABA based class with neurotypical children as well as children with special needs.  He has a 1:1 paraprofessional with him trained in ABA who does the trials as often as possible throughout his day in class.  He is in this class 16 hours a week (we plan to homeschool but utilize the special ed preschool right now to get as much therapy as possible.  He currently does some Bible based homeschool activities at home.) and he also receives home ABA therapy 1 hour per day at home, 4 days a week (So a total of about 23 hours a week of therapy, not including anything we do ourselves at home).  He now sees a  who going to help us to heal his poor belly (from leaky gut syndrome).  Since beginning all of these interventions (all were added slowly and one at  a time to be sure of what did and didn't work), he has made a steady improvement that started the day we went gluten free.  Here is a recent picture now of our little buddy.
All of this background was for a few reasons but primarily to preface the story I'm about to tell. Knowing the back story really helps to put things into perspective.
This morning I walked into Peanuts room to get him up.  He looked at me and said, "Oh!  You have a new shirt."  I was surprised that he noticed such a thing (he was right, I had bought the shirt last week and today is the first day I'm wearing it!).  He then began to talk but not to me.  I asked him who he was talking to and he introduced me to "Sign".  Apparently Sign, is Peanut's new imaginary friend!  She is a grey horse.  When I asked him where he had met Sign he said, "The Ark".  By the end of the morning he had located the small grey horse that he had been talking to (it was the grey horse from our Little people Noah's Ark).  We made a little bed for her to travel in.  Today is "share day" at school so Peanut decided he would bring Sign with him to school to show his friends.  We packed her a lunch (at his request, complete with a sippy cup) and after he made sure to feed her breakfast we were on our way (late again) to drop him off at school. 

After I dropped him off I told the story to my husband (who is away on a business trip right now)because I just thought that all of this is so cute!  The more and more I think about it, the more and more i sit in amazement.  Neither of my children ever cease to amaze me, but this goes even beyond that for me.  To me this is a miracle.  Peanuts life has been full of miracles almost since conception (see previous postings), and this is another one of those blessings. 

My child who a little over a year ago was diagnosed with Autism (not PDD-NOS, but classic Autism), was now interacting with peers (voluntarily), making eye contact, playing and speaking with a purpose, sings songs on his own and with others, and now even had an imaginary friend!  Anyone who works with or has a child with Autism knows this truely is a miracle!  Approximately 6 months ago you may have found me at my wits end.  I was tired (mentally and physically), I was stressed, and I think at one point I was even defeated.  I don't know if I could have continued on without God on our side.  Despite all the trials, all the stress, all the worries, we continued on because we knew it was all for a purpose.  We had faith that God would see us through, and he has. 

Again, I quote John 16:3, "These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world."  

Now please don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that all of these interventions we do will "fix" the problems of another child with Autism.  It's called a Spectrum for a reason.  Every child is different, and every child needs something different.  We were blessed to be able to find the right combination of interventions needed for Peanut to progress as fast as he has.  God may not "recover" your child, but he'll be there with you through it all. To those parents out there with children with Autism, or any disability for that matter, keep going, never give up, and keep God on your side because he can do anything! We've come such a long way, and we certainly have a long way to go, but no matter what happens God is with us and for that I thank Him.

Thank-you God for my children...

2 comments:

  1. You are an inspiration to me Gayle. Thank you for inviting me into your life. I am so happy for you and your loved ones, this journey with Autism , we need happy endings to chapters so badly and to share and rejoice in them together. Please continue to share your story.

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  2. Thank-you Amy. I appreciate such kind words. God Bless you and your family!

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