Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Challenges and Changes

One of the challenges I faced in the beginning of life after Elizabeth's Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) diagnosis was wondering what to expect and what would she understand.   Never have I been reminded of those beginning days as much as this week while teaching Elizabeth and Beka the story of Creation.

What seems like a simple idea, is a challenge to explain to Elizabeth.  I have been trying to explain that God created day and night, but there were no stars, no sun, no moon, no land, nothing was there, just light and night.   This was especially difficult because a part of her assignment wasn't just to read about the 1st day but to paint a picture.  One side was yellow for the light and one side was black for night.  She kept wanting to add stars and a moon, or the sun.  After several attempts I found success in explaining, No honey, there was nothing, no sun, no moon, no land, nothing it was all dark and without form.  There was NOTHING.

So today we once again had to go through this explaining, that no, there was not land, just the sea, the sky, day and night, that was all.  It took a little less time this time, but she got it and so we had one side of the paper painted blue for the ocean and the other half yellow for the sky, because it was just light, God hasn't created the sun yet or the moon, that comes in a day or so.

 As I look back on the beginning of our journey with and ASD, I thank God for how far Elizabeth has come.  The child who used to barely speak now cannot stop talking and she is always so excited.  I think our biggest challenges in speech are still, gender confusion and volume control, but I fight that same battle with Beka.

The days of major meltdowns are slowly becoming a thing of the past, they haven't gone completely but in comparison to where we were in the beginning.  There no more large bruises on her forehead because she no longer needs to bang her head when she becomes frustrated since she can talk to me about what is bothering her.  The days of waiting for a phone call from the school to tell me to come pick her up because she has struck another child or an adult in frustration are dissipating.  We still have our moments in which she needs to go to her room to quiet herself down but for the most part she is good at using her words.

I hope this offers some encouragement for those of you starting on your journey with your child who has an ASD.  Each diagnosis is different and so is each child and there will be some challenges along the way, but it isn't the end of the world or your dreams, it's just a matter of changing perspectives.

Have a good week.
In Christ,
Maureen

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