Wednesday, November 2, 2011

When the parent needs parenting

I've been gone from here for almost a year. Life has been chaotic in many aspects, but has also been good over all. My son has grown in some wonderful areas. He is doing well in school, he has a friend who calls him on the phone and does occasional play dates. In a word, he seems stable.

It has been brought to my attention with a clattering of broken pieces that as I trained all of my efforts on our son, I have allowed another spinning plate to crash. My husband. I find myself advocating for him more than for our son lately. Little clues over the years have made me wonder if he might have Asperger's syndrome, too. Persevering thoughts, OCD tendencies, social anxiety and general anxiety, mis-communications

at work, rigidity with rules, and a host of other hallmark traits have had me suspicious. I have finally arranged to have him tested. He goes for a complete psych eval in December. I am hoping he finds peace and closure for some of the things in his past that seemed to be beyond his control, those disappointments and misunderstandings when people misread his intentions or his abilities or his motivations.

In my mind the diagnosis could be vindicating. It would give a neurological reason for those times when people assumed he didn't want to find work when he couldn't find work, or when others thought he was rude for saying something inappropriate in a social setting. It would prove that he wasn't stupid or lazy or mean or inconsiderate. It would explain why he has poor impulse control at times, why he has so many frustrations. It might help him to forgive himself for not being the financial success he wishes he could be for all of us. I am proud that he continues to try. That he gets up every morning and goes to work with people that have been careless, clueless and sometimes cruel. That he hasn't given in to what others have believed of him, such as the pastor's son who told him he wasn't college material.

Maybe it won't change the fact that he has some difficulty with executive functioning, and maybe he won't ever be able to learn to schmooze like the other Toyota car salesman he tried so hard to be like. But with any luck he will continue to be concrete in his love for family and his dedication to us. Lord willing he will be the same nurturing, loyal man I fell in love with and continue to admire. The intuitive, sensitive, intelligent person that inspires me to be a better wife and mother.

Sometimes a parent needs parenting. And if my maternal instincts are correct, the investment will be worth it.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Quality of Life versus Sanctity of Life

Lately the subject of death and suffering has reared its head among my facebook friends' discussions. Many expressed that they would not want to suffer extreme conditions such as terminal cancer or severe burns, or even certain genetic conditions which they feel are sentences of doom. They are passionate in their expression of sympathy for those who live with chronic pain. Many have boldly stated that it is unmerciful to allow suffering, that death would be better.

While no one would try to sell pain, or sign a clipboard to volunteer for root canal without Novocaine or even general anethesia, I have to challenge that sentiment. Is it really better to die and give up the hope that life offers just to escape? Do I even have to ask, is this a biblical view?

No, not biblical, and not even merciful. Proverbs 12:11 says that even the kindness of the ungodly is cruelty. People mean well to offer such prescriptions for pain, but let's look at the logical end of this. How much pain is too much? And what if you make that decision under the duress of a temporary but excruciating condition? What if you cannot speak for yourself, and that decision is made for you?

The picture tells it all: life reaches for hope. Life wants to press on, survive, and to fulfill its God given potential. Who among us can presume to dictate when a life is spent? Who among us dares to assign the value of a life, whether 100 years old or 21 weeks in the womb? How many children are too many? Why are there such glib remarks concerning the woman who has eight children, as though these precious ones somehow escaped God's plan and design? I am not addressing these questions to those without the hope of Christ. Truly those without the hope of the author of Life living on the inside of them can only prognosticate doom and gloom for these vulnerable ones.

The sad fact is, I am addressing the church. We who count ourselves children of a Father with no limits to His provision and grace. Can He not make a way for each of these, through pain, disadvantage, disability, poverty, and even abuse and neglect? God, the champion of life, affirms life every time. Do we not sing "God will make a way where there seems to be no way?" Why then, when it comes to these situations, do we cringe and yield ground, yielding precious lives to the reaper's sickle without a cry?

"I have set before you life and death, blessings and cursings. Choose life."

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mother's Day

To all of you valiant moms who take on the impossible with steel souls and prevail, who stand as the sole defense against forces too big for you and somehow win, who face disability and disease and still find the ability to inspire laughter in your children,

I wish you smiles, joy, and huge triumphs such as tied shoes and completed homework, full uninterrupted nights of sleep, and random compliments from strangers, melt-down free shopping, and many birthday cakes.

Be blessed today and always.
Heaven salutes you, and so do I!
Happy Mother's Day

Thursday, April 29, 2010

plastic and toxins

Lately I've been considering my dependency on plastics and how that might have contributed to my son's developmental disabilities. This is a hard thing to consider, that our convenience-saturated lifestyle could be poisoning the next generation and subsequent generations to come. Time Magazine this past month of April had a very gripping and convicting look at plastics and other household hazards, and how they are so little regulated.,28804,1976909_1976908_1976938,00.html

The EPA can only regulate a chemical if it is proven harmful, whereas the FDA puts teh burden of proof on the pharmaceutical company to prove their product will not be harmful. The burden of proof for harm rests with the EPA, and the chemical manufacturers don't even have to be entirely forthcoming about their own findings.

so, what sort of chemicals can be harmful? Plastic drinking and eating utensils and packaging, shaving cream, cosmetics, carpeting, synthetic fibers, asbestos in toys (yes it is still used--it is not illegal) and in drywall, plastic baggies, wrap, and baby bottles, shampoos, and nearly every type of soap and cleaner. Plastics break down in microwaves, dishwashers, heat, water, scrubbing, etc. And enter our water supply and food. Teflon becomes airborne at high temps and wears off into our cooking. All of these have been linked to either reproductive anomalies or cancer in lab animals, and sometimes to neurological damage.

What can be done? switch to glass as often as possible for drinking, cooking, eating, storage, and use "green" chemicals for cleaning, such as vinegar, baking soda, and even bleach, rather than harsh chemical compounds. Air out your home when possible, and beware of preservatives in your foods. Cook fresh and from scratch as often as possible. Eat natural rather than synthetic, such as butter over margarine. Pray over your food. Mark 16 says you will eat deadly poisons and it shall not affect you. The fact is, no matter how conscientious you are, you can't eliminate all risk.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Swim team

My son is participating in the Special Olympics this year. Last year he bowled with his fourth grade team, the year President Obama facetiously belittled Special Olympics bowling. Whether or not that affected his decision, he didn't want to bowl again this year, so we tried the swim team. He has found his niche, let me tell you!

From Kindergarten, we have sent son#2 and daughter to swim lessons. Since they are only fourteen months apart in age, they have always been nearly even in their skills, lessons and grade level. But I gotta say, he has taken off in his swimming. We put up a pool in the back yard four summers ago, and they both really enjoy it, but dd had to overcome a phobia, and is just hitting her swimming stride. ds#2 has perfected his.

Out of thirty or so kids, he's been coming in a consistent third place, and often second in the backstroke. Now I know its not about competition, but it is seriously giving him confidence he didn't have. The other kids who place first and second are much older, taller and stronger, but he keeps up and swims his little heart out. I am so proud of him to finally find something he can do and succeed at. This is the kid who still can't ride a bike at the age of eleven. So to see him involved and thriving is so heartwarming.

His meet is next month, and they are practicing relays, so I am anxious that he remain in the top four so he can participate in that event with his team. Lord knows if he is told he can't, what kind of disappointment that would be. But I have to pray and trust that God knows best, even if its not the news we hope for. Maybe he needs to learn flexibility more than he needs some great sporting event, or to experience the thrill of winning something. God is sovereign.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Outings with Aspies

This week was a busy week of family trips and activities. It is always an undertaking going out into public places, particularly when crowds are possible. Crowds cause my son to become overstimulated and shut down, or worse. Occasionally, we have to take that risk of crowds and meltdowns, and venture out. Last Sunday was one of those occasions. I took dd and ds#2 to a rock and mineral show. In two rooms, vendors with tables crammed full of fossils, semi-precious gemstones, and various colorful rocks left little room for aisles where the masses of humanity were to squeeze through. It was the perfect set-up for disaster. Thousands of small trays, thousands of choices to spend his ten dollars on, and throngs of people to navigate around. Details of what, where, when, how much, under flourescent lights and tight quarters. . . I took a big risk. But I knew my son would really enjoy seeing all of the crystals and geodes, dinosaur teeth, petrified trees and trilobites.

Turned out that he really did enjoy it. He didn't want to participate in the activities, like simulated panning or polishing a stone at the wheel thingey. But he displayed amazing patience when i asked him to see everything first before deciding what to purchase. That was asking a lot from a kid who can hardly hold it together. But he did. And he remembered exactly what he wanted, how much it cost, and how much change he'd have left over to buy something else. He ended up with a resin mold of an African T-Rex tooth, several fossil shark's teeth, and a nugget of pyrite.
All told, a very successful day.

This weekend, our town held its annual Easter egg hunt at its huge outdoor sport's complex. The weather was beautiful, with mid-seventies unheard of for upstate New York in early April. On one side of the vast acreage, a BMX bike track with motocross hills featured a pack of eager racers. On the other side of the complex--our destination--hundreds, maybe a thousand kids, competed for swings and slides and monkey bars, waiting for their turn to hunt for candy-filled plastic eggs. My son's body went rigid, and he began to grunt under his breath.

I would have guessed that the wide-open spaces of the great outdoors would have been easier on him than a packed room full of minutia, but here he was, proving me wrong with every growl. I diverted him by sending him and his sister back to the car to fetch their jackets while I stood in line to register. Worked like a charm. I was done before they returned, just in time to see if he wanted his face painted. He didn't, but his sister did. his growls turned to guttural yells and one terrific outburst that turned heads. Okay, no hotdogs, either. Maybe a breather at one of the far bleachers where no one could hear him scream while he decompressed. We crossed the field and took a time out.

By and by, he came around. And just in time. They called his grade, and opened the gate to where the pastel colored treasures waited. Though the wait seemed interminably long, he waited like a soldier, and when they hollered go, he was ready.

Two very different events, but in the end, a bag full of goodies, and success. Outings with Aspies just have to be handled with flexibility, an escape route, and perseverance.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

National Autism Awareness Month

April 2 is National Autism Awareness Day, and for all of April, autism gets the spotlight. Blogs, legislation, books, movies, TV shows, and online discussions will take place to raise awareness of this increasingly common spectrum disorder.

Family Life Network, my local Christian radio station, aired an interview today with Dr. Laura Hendrickson, author of Finding your Child's Way on the Autism Spectrum In her book, Dr. Hendrickson discusses her journey to wholeness and healing for her autistic son.

Here is a blurb: "The Bible tells us that God personally designed each of us and has a plan for our lives that is for our good. Autism is not some kind of mistake that happens outside of His sovereign control. Dr. Laura has raised an autism spectrum child, now recovered from autism, to adulthood. She knows both the sorrow of receiving the diagnosis of autism and the joy of watching him grow in his abilities, and in his faith. This book will help you to apply biblical principles to the management of behavior issues, and will also encourage you to look to God in faith that He is doing something good in your life and that of your child."

You can order this book at:

I am thankful for the many voices creating awareness. Are you more aware of autism than you were a year ago? I know I am. And I will be wearing blue to honor autism awareness day. Hope you will, too.