2012 has started off with a bang. Not exactly lots of excitement and fun and awesomeness, but more like the “BANG” you hear just before you take off running in the race of life. There have been some exciting developments in our lives, and fun and awesomeness, amidst the regular maintenance of house, home and family.
On the autism front, we have begun taking Samuel to the Kennedy Krieger Institute for ABA therapy and parent training weekly. At first it was every other week, but it’s clear we need to start off with weekly sessions and back down from there. Our brand new tablet broke one week after we gave it to Sam, but thankfully it was replaced for no charge. We just had to wait out the time to mail it back and get a new one – all the way from California. It now has a cushy case in which to live, in addition to a carrying bag for additional padding and ease in carrying it wherever we go.
We’re starting a semi-new program at home. I say semi- new because the concept is not foreign to us, but it’s been a very long time since we’ve really implemented this kind of therapy at home. We’d gotten back into less of a rigid ABA routine with Sam, and were beating our heads against a wall when we tried approaching him as a neuro-typical kid instead of confessing once again that autism is a part of our lives. We simply cannot use the same methods the same way with him that we use with his brothers. It doesn’t work. And then we get frustrated because he’s frustrated and melting down. It’s been a vicious cycle of constant realization that our lives are simply different than what we always wanted them to be.
So we confess we can do better, and we resolve to do so. It’s not going to be easy. We know from past research and experience that what the therapist tells us will happen will happen. That is, the behavior we are changing will get worse before it gets better. It’s called, “extinction burst”. We had to realize that the behavior we had been catering to is more damaging to Sam and to us, and there are ways to help. We had pretty much given in that things were the way they were and there was no changing it, only coping with it.
But that reminds me of something I was told once – we’re not called as Christians to “cope” with life. We’re called to overcome. We’re called to victory! We don’t have to settle for what is thinking there is no more. There is more, and there are ways to achieve it.
Sam’s constant demands for attention, and tantrums and meltdowns and rigidity are in for a rude awakening, which means we are too. We are praying hard that our goal will be accomplished – for his heart to be changed, his mind to be healed, and those by-products of autism to be overcome. I don’t mean the autism is going to go away. But we will be teaching him (and ourselves) there is a better way to live this life with autism, and we will press on and persevere together to win. Please pray for us. We need wisdom for ourselves, and compassion and love for our son. Discipline is hard. Self-discipline to discipline and teach what is needed is hard. We covet your prayers.