Friday, October 26, 2012

Ain't God good?

I just want to give God praise for his goodness and faithfulness to our family.

I know that we are not the only ones struggling financially, and I know that there are lots who are struggling much worse than we are, but, you know, sometimes you forget that.

Especially when the vehicle start acting up the day before you plan to go get the emission testing done.

So I want to take a moment to remember the good things:

First, for a very special unmentionable blessing.  God saw a need and met it in a way I totally did not expect.  I felt so humbled and loved.

Next, the boys have been needing church clothes.  I finally saved some money and went to the thrift stores and found a few pants, but no shirts.

Our church bus ministry is having a rummage sale tomorrow, and were already setting up tonight, so when we went to pick Katelyn up from youth service, I hopped out to see if there were any church clothes.

I found a bunch of church shirts for Jason and Justin!

Then, I asked the ladies that were setting up if they would set aside any size 12 shirts for me, because Tyler needed shirts.

One of the ladies said, "Oh, I have some of that size that my son outgrew!"

I said that I would be more than happy to buy them from her.

She said "No, they are hand-me-downs.  I just didn't know who to give them to."

I am so thrilled to finally have the church clothes that my boys needed!

Finally, while at the sale, Katelyn found this dinnerware set.  It was $15!  It's Pfaltgraff's Filigree set and retails on Amazon for over $100.  It's an 8 piece set, plus an oval platter in perfect condition.

I was going to let it go, but Katelyn insisted on buying for me for Christmas.  She's such a sweety!  I'm thrilled to have some nice dinnerware again!

There are also some other financial possibilities on the horizon, but I don't want to count my chicken while they are still eggs, so I'll save it.

Thank you, Lord, for your blessing to me!

Praise Report: Tyler gets to go to Occupational Therapy Again!

Praise Report:  Our insurance will start covering Occupational Therapy for Autism Spectrum Disorder in January 2013!!!!

Children with ASD often suffer from Sensory Integration Disorder.  They need a strong sensory diet to help them manage their sensory issues, and an Occupational Therapist can help to identify the areas of concern and develop an appropriate sensory diet.

When Tyler was first diagnosed with Asperger's in December 2010, one of the items on our care list was to take him to an Occupational Therapist.  He had an evaluation done in February 2011, which identified numerous sensory issues, and we proceeded to set up a schedule of weekly visits.

However, there was a hiccup with our insurance.  We had been led to believe from the medical office that our insurance would cover the visits; in fact, they paid for about ten of them.  Then, the insurance company discovered their error and quit paying, leaving us with the bill for the final three or four (thank God that they did not require repayment for the other that they did pay for!).  We appealed, but it was denied based on the grounds that there was no clear evidence that occupational therapy helps ASD children.

We were so disappointed because Tyler loved going to therapy.  Craig, the OT, had a big platform swing hanging from the ceiling and Tyler spent a lot of time in that swing.  One of the things he had to do was to lay on his stomach and Craig would throw bean bags.  Tyler would have to maneuver the swing to where he could pick up the bean bags.  Lots of fun!

But, we couldn't take him anymore when the insurance stopped paying because the sessions are just too expensive.  I've tried to increase his sensory diet at home (shaving cream, anyone?) but we don't have all of the equipment and I'm not trained as I should be.

About a week ago, Jim called me from work and said "Guess what?  We just got out of a benefit meeting and they said that they are going to start covering ASD!"

We weren't quite sure what that meant, so when he got home we looked up the new benefits guide and sure enough, it says that they will start covering occupational therapy for ASD!

I am so thankful for this change.  I have been praying because I feel like we came to a stand still and I wasn't sure what, if anything, God wanted us to do next.  Thank God for open doors!!!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Best Kind of Different

I am halfway thru The Best Kind of Different, by Shonda Shilling.


If you are at all curious about what life with an Asperger's child is like, read the book.  She describes it perfectly.

What a relief to know that we are not alone.

Friday, October 5, 2012

That Awkward Moment When...

If you're a Pinterest fan, you've seen those e-cards that start out "That Awkward Moment When..."

Well, yesterday, I had my own moment.  If I made a card, it would have said:

That Awkward Moment When...
 You're stuffing "baking scraps" into your mouth, 
and then you remember... you're supposed to be on a diet.

Which then reminded me of another card I could make:

That Awkward Moment When...
You've made your child a peanut butter sandwich, 
and you're licking the stray peanut butter off of your finger 
and then you're fasting.

Anyone else been there???

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Interact, Interact, Interact!!!

I am almost done reading the book that I blogged about yesterday, Look Me In the Eye.

Once I got past the nonsense of his life with KISS (seriously, how could that NOT be nonsense), I really did find the book extremely helpful in understanding how Aspergians think.  The author is extremely gifted at being able to articulate exactly how his thought process works, and it's actually rather hilarious, especially given that I myself live an Aspergian.

One chapter that helped me the most is titled "Becoming Normal".  I wish I could just copy the whole thing here for you, but copyright laws prevent that, so I will try to summarize:

He believes there is a continuum from autism to Asperger's to normal:  children who are turned completely inward from birth all the way to children who are turned completely outward.  Then there are the kids in the middle, who can focus their minds inward and also have some ability to relate to the outside world.

He talks about his exceptional mathematical abilities and his lack of interpersonal skills.  Then he says that as he has gotten older, his interpersonal skills have increased, but he feels that his mathematical skills have diminished some.  He says "Later, there were periods where my ability to turn toward other people and the world increased by leaps and bounds.  At those times, my intense powers of focused reasoning seemed to dimish." (p. 208)

He believes that there are some autistic children who are mid to high functioning who "do not receive the proper stimulation and end up turning inward to such an extent that they can't function in society, even though they may be incredibly brilliant in some narrowly defined field,"

He then goes on to say that he believes that ages 4 to 7 where the most critical for his social development because he "cried and hurt because (he) could not make friends."  He says "Fortunately, I had enough satisfactory exchanges with intelligent grown-ups keep me wanting to interact...I can easily imagine a child who did not have any satisfying exchanges withdrawing from people entirely." (p.209)

"I suspect that grown-ups drew me out enough as a child to keep me engaged and on a path that led to being functional in society.  Adults were able to deal with my conversational limitations better than children.  They could follow my disconnected responses, and they were more likely to show interest in anything I said, no matter how bizarre.  Had I not been drawn out by interested grown-ups, I might well have drifted farther into the world of autism.  I might have ceased to communicate." (p.210)

As I read these words that I've copied above, I couldn't help feeling so incredibly thankful.

1.  That Tyler was not born completely turned in.  I hear the stories of mothers who have never heard their child say "I love you, Mom" and my heart just breaks.  I am so incredibly thankful that Tyler IS attached to me, in fact I am pretty much his strongest anchor, and that he is not afraid or unable to express his love for me.

2.  I am so thankful that God directed our path so that I can have Tyler at home with me right now.  Do not misunderstand me:  I am, and will, always be a huge supporter of GCA.  However, home with a loving adult who takes the time to steer Tyler towards functionality is a much better option for him.  I am his advocate and can take the time to do the things that he needs to do to achieve success.  When I look back on this road we've traveled, I am so amazed at things that were put into place years ago that now enable us to be right were we need to be.

3.  I am so thankful and grateful for the adults in Tyler's life who go out of their way to make the effort to interact with Tyler:  Bro Burbank, Cheri Bagato, Sara Kash, Bro Salas, the Muths, the Tarpleys, Matt and Stephanie Garrett, and others that I'm forgetting.  You really are making a difference.

Finally, I know that I've been challenged to look outside my world and make an effort to interact more with those around me, especially the ones who may otherwise be ignored because they are a little "weird".  We may never know the difference that we make in someone else's life.

Interact, interact, interact!!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Aspergian Logic

"Same problem with the ramen today as yesterday.  I hate October."

Monday, October 1, 2012

Reading a book

I'm reading a book that several people have recommended to me since Tyler's Asperger's diagnosis.

I'm struggling with the book because I don't normally read secular books with language and this one has some, but I'm trying to just skip it so that I can glean whatever it is I'm supposed to from this book.

And, yes, it does have some helpful parts, although, in my opinion, one of the big differences between the author and my son is that the author grew up really fast; he was on his own by fifteen, but my son tends more towards immaturity.  However, the author does give lots of insight to the thought processes of an Aspergian.

What strikes me about this book is the horrible, abusive family that the author came from.  His mother was mentally unstable and his father was a drunk who would routinely beat him.  The author dropped out of high school and was on his own by 15.

I couldn't help drawing comparisons between the author's family life and ours.  I felt a little like Job:  Lord, our family is good, upstanding Christians.  We don't beat our kids, we don't drink or do drugs, we take our kids to the church every single day.  Why is our son suffering from Asperger's?  Shouldn't we be exempt?

But, just like Job, I have to remind myself again and again that just because we are children of God doesn't mean that bad things won't happen to us.  Pastor made a comment the night of School Orientation that we will be seeing even more of these types of diseases (also referring to Downs Syndrome and a protein processing disorder) in the church as the coming of the Lord draws closer.

Also, like Job, I have to remember that God may be allowing this to come because we are His children.  I'm not saying that God and the devil made a deal :), but I will say that my walk with God has grown in the past two years.  It had to.  I can't make it without Him.

It also makes me wonder how Tyler's life will be different because we are a Godly family.  What will he be saved from that he might otherwise have encountered if not for our Christian life?  We may never know.

Another thing that really stands out to me in this story is the sin.  The author was, and still is, brillilant with machines, and he toured with KISS during the 1970's, building their special effects for them.  The drugs, alcohol and immorality he mentions in a remote fashion make my stomach sick.

I was reading a portion of the story to Jim last night, where the author states that he never was tempted by all of that because he hated to lose control of anything, and that was exactly what drugs and alcohol did, and we just nodded our agreement.  Why would anyone want to do that????

Anyway, I'm about half way through this book and it's definitely made me think.  If nothing else, I'm so thankful for our Godly life and the promises that we have through him.  We are not guaranteed a perfect life here on the earth, but we have the promise that every disease, imperfection, disability will be made right when we get to Heaven.

Even so, Lord, come quickly!