Four years ago, I felt like I was in a deep pit. I felt stuck, like I was in one of the WV coal mines and it collapsed on me. I have no idea how to dig out and couldn’t find my light. For those who have been following me for a while, you have read my journey with my oldest Bookworm. For those who are new here, let me bring you up to date.
We knew that my oldest was having some problems socially. We thought preschool might help, so we enrolled him in a Christian preschool where we were at. It only made him worse. We were trying to get him evaluated, but time went on and finally ran out in OH. We moved to Ft Bliss TX and there we had to start the process all over again. When Bookworm turned 6 we finally got his diagnosis of aspergers. At this point, privately we had already started him in ABA which was helping, the diagnosis meant that now the Army would pick up the tab. It confirmed everything that we had suspected, but it was still a hard blow. I think part of us just wanted it to be a disobedience thing. During the time leading up to the diagnosis after we had arrived in TX, he got worse. My husband deployed again right after we got on post housing and things were quite difficult to say the least. A trip to the store was out of the question most of the time. I took to ordering groceries from Schwann because they delivered. My mom came to visit often and I would stock up when she was there. We sadly did a lot of drive thru eating in those days. I would order stuff off amazon and anything I could do to not have to go in somewhere. That is the short story of all that went on :). After about 6 months of ABA therapy with me working with him fulltime, by that point he was homeschooled, he had made significant changes. By the time my husband came for R&R, we were able to take a short trip. For the most part, Bookworm did well on that trip. That is also the first time in person my husband had got to hear him read and see the progress education wise our boy was making. I was able to be active in PWOC, which meant I was able to get out of the house. Trips to the store if I had a list, he was able to start doing. Life was getting better. That summer after my husband came back home, we were able to move to a state where my son got better care. There were more resources available to him and while there were still behaviors we were trying to tackle, he continued socially to improve. After 14 months in the DC area, we found out once again we would be moving. The move had some setbacks but he still did wonderfully for the most part. Coming here to WA, we got a wonderful developmental pediatrician, he is so good to the boys. This week we had a follow-up. Bookworm has made such significant changes that ABA no longer does him any good really. So we have maxed out of that service really. I mean I know so much about it, that what would apply to him still, I can do on my own. He is no longer in OT. His Tae Kwon Do helps him so much sensorywise. The Dr said he was thrilled with what we had done with him. He is going to reevaluate him in September as he believes he would not fit the autism ( Asperger) spectrum anymore!!! He told me that since he had already been diagnosed with it, that it would be up to me to keep the diagnosis or get rid of it. We do not want this to follow him forever if he does not need it. I am thrilled!
There is no way that four years ago I would have dreamed this possible. I couldn’t imagine going to the store four years ago honestly, let alone my son in a sense “being cured” of this. I have always heard that once a child has autism, they always have it. Well, I have always told my kids they can be anything or do anything they want, with Gods help.
So I am all over the place emotionally with this. I keep going back to God. Isn’t he an awesome God we serve? When Bookworm was first being diagnosed with aspergers, a Dr asked me what I wanted to change about him….I paused a bit speechless. I didn’t want to change my son, I wanted to learn how I as a parent could reach him, teach him, and let him fly. I knew that God did not make mistakes and he certainly didn’t with my son either.
During this journey, I have learned a lot. I am a control freak. There, I actually typed those words. Yep, I am perfectly ok and flexible as long as everything goes MY way! HA! I have always struggled with this and with patience. Well, there is nothing more humbling with struggling in those areas, and having a son diagnosed with aspergers. Your perfect OCD world was just tilted off the axis. I was the one who would never have children who acted like X or Y or Z. I am now the parent whose child has acted like X or Y or Z. I had physc called on us at William Beaumont Army hospital, while my husband was deployed nonetheless! Why? Because my child was the one who ripped his clothes off and was running up and down the hall. Yep, I was the mom with THAT child lol.
My Bookworm and our journey have taught me more about God then I think I learned in my whole life previously combined. I have learned to give up everything, my wants, my needs, my time, and just be. I have learned that clapping off beat to a song that calms my son is NOT his problem; it is MINE! Let him clap and praise God how HE wants and feels, not how I dictate it SHOULD be done. I have learned that there are times I just can’t fix it. There are times my husband can’t fix it, but our God is wonderful, he is awesome, he can do anything.
My son is living proof that God can do anything. That God is still a God of miracles. That God cares about the small things and the big things. There are days I have run to the bathroom and cried out to the Lord, I cannot do this! God it is too much! I cannot do it! Yet, somehow, he took my hand, he lead me back to whatever mess and chaos was going on in my house and I did it. I made it through that day, and the next. I climbed the mountain when I kept falling down. My son climbed the mountain and we did it. A journey is worth at least a thousand words….we read about Amy Carmichael and Catherine Booth. We read about the great faith they had in God. How they never once thought God was not still the God of miracles. Why do we nowadays question so much? I hope my story and Bookworms will encourage everyone, wherever you are, that our God is still capable of big and mighty things. He is still the same God today as he was yesterday and 100 years ago and at the beginning of time.
So where is Bookworm on this journey now? Well, he has such a faith in God this news does not phase him. He is still the same as he was before this appointment :). He is still just how God made him. Like all of us, he still has some quirks and probably always will, but which of us does not? There will still always be some things we deal with as parents, just like every other kid in the world! We are all sinners saved by grace, Amen! His Dr said socially he has grown so much in just 1.5 years that we have been here. He is so thrilled with him and his progress. Sunday, my Bookworm leaves for church camp. He already went this summer with myself and his brothers. However, this one he is going to without us. He got invited by a friend and his friends mother is going. This is huge for many reasons. I have never sent him to anything like this without myself or my husband. Also, it is huge that Bookworm now has friends, friends that love him and invite him places. Should I mention that this would have been impossible to even imagine 4 years ago?
During my journey God gave me some wonderful verses and I would like to share a few of those with you.
1. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Philippians 4:8
2. Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. Deuteronomy 31:6
3. Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. 1 Peter 5:7
4. Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. Joshua 1:9
5. Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved. Psalm 55:2
6. Psalm 23
7. Therefore I will look unto the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation: my God will hear me. Micah 7:7
Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD shall be a light unto me. Micah 7:9
8. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16
9. Ecclesiastes 3
10. Psalms…reading the book of Psalm always calmed my soul.
Sisters, my prayer is that wherever you are in your journey, wherever it ends, that you will never give up on the great and mighty things God can do. Never doubt, he is a great and mighty king! If you don’t mind…I have added a journey over the last 4 years in pictures. I had to really work to narrow this down, as honestly, I had hundreds to pick from. 🙂
After leaving OH, we moved many miles away from Family to Ft Bliss TX, 2 weeks after we got our housing on post, my husband deployed. My Bookworm took this EXTREMELY hard. He is smiling in the first picture, but in the second he was crying and screaming so hard my husband got out of formation to try and sooth him. He even had the single soldiers crying. ( BTW if you look this was before I lost all my weight)
Saying “see ya later” to friends doesn’t always have to be forever. These 2 have been friends for 5 years now, despite moves and us living much of the time across the country. This is the same girl my Bookworm asked her Dad for her hand in marriage at the ripe old age of 5! 🙂
I just love the first one! Look at his grin! He is having the time of his life. This was about 6 months after his diagnosis, when he was really making leaps and bounds progress. The second picture was done for Daddy while he was deployed that time.
Having a soft spot to fall is always good. In our case, it is my mom’s house. We end up their every move, it is home to us since it is our only stable respite. It gives Bookworm and the others peace.
The Creation Museum is one of our favorite places! In the second picture, Andrew is with one of his favorite people on earth, Buddy Davis!
First picture, my Bookworm was afraid of heights. If his feet didn’t touch the ground, he couldn’t handle it! Until the boy in him outdid the part that was afraid. :). I can do ALL things through Christ who gives me strength! He climbed right up on the roof of the house.
Second, selling popcorn, we no longer affiliate with the Boy Scouts but I won’t discount the growth he did while involved, nor the things he learned. He turned out to be an awesome seller! One of the top sellers in 2 states! 🙂
One of many service projects he did. This is Wreaths Across America at Arlington National Cemetery. When he was first diagnosed, he would not have been able to have done this. He did a GREAT job!
He overcame his tremendous fear of dogs! He asked for this little guy and found out dog really is mans best friend:). Buddy is helping him with school work here! HA!
Bookworm used to be afraid of nearly everything. He sure learned to overcome just about anything! 🙂
Like riding the Beast!!! I was praying he wouldn’t puke on me, he kept saying Philippians 4:13! 🙂
Picture one, learning to put things together. Picture 2, learning to take them apart! 🙂
He is really good at sports! He loves soccer, baseball, and hiking!
Toby Mac soothes his soul. He loves his music! Picture one, taken here in WA at the Toby Mac concert. Picture 2, taken in OH at Kings Island during the Toby Mac concert there. I just love seeing him praise God in the second one!
Sacrifice is rewarding. He spent his AWANA bucks to buy his Dad baseball cards for Christmas. He gave up getting himself something he was saving them for, for his Dad. 🙂
Family means everything….picture number one is of my niece and Bookworm at Church Camp back home in WV. Picture 2 is of Daddy and his boys. Not pictured are many family…including my parents. I intentionally did not post a picture of them as I have another blog post I plan to use them in. I cannot discount my parents though. Without my parents, my family would not be where they are today. Seriously. They are wonderful parents.
Another important thing about family is beating your unbeatable Uncle at games! 🙂
Taking pictures in picture 1. In picture 2, this was the last year of Sparkies for him. He has since finished his first year in T&T but I just loved this picture. He is so smart about the Bible. It makes me so happy to hear him learn Gods word. 🙂
Well that is just SOME of our journey. I hope you enjoyed the pictures. I am overjoyed at all he has accomplished in his 9 years. God is so good!