Monday, March 19, 2012

Our new diet plan

A little update on Jacob.... Today we have started his 3 week trial on the gluten free casein free diet. After reading blogs and researching the topic I have concluded that I simply have to try him on it. 3 weeks will allow all gluten and casein to be completely out of his body. If we see dramatic results we will know immediately that it works, if not we will introduce one back at a time and if we see negative results then we will eliminate them again. Most children who have intolerance will have immediate and dramatic results with dietary intervention, but not all. I have also read that many people (not just autistic) have food sensitivities they aren't even aware of and that the majority of autistic people (70%) do have sensitivities. Gluten, soy and casein cause opiate like peptides in their bodies. I am a skeptic about this diet and I am ensuring that Jacob will be getting proper nutrition on it, but I just had to try it. So please be in prayer for us because if you know anyone who has ever even tried simply gluten free, then you know how difficult it is. Casein is a milk derivative and is in dairy and just about everything non natural. Anyways, we would sure love the prayers. I am also trying to get the rest of my family on a mostly natural diet, but am going at it a lot slower. Its a step by step process and I am trying not to make food the focus of my life.

Also, I have another praise. I posted on my facebook that we were looking for a used Ipad to purchase for Jacob's therapy and a couple from our church has donated one for him!!! Again, amazed by God's blessings and people willing to help us. We would never in a thousand years ask for a free IPad or ever expect someone to give us one, so we are just put it simply. Lorie told me that she would enjoy the Ipad for herself, but after she read what we were using it for she decided to give it to us. People like that amaze me. First, Jeanine sends us Jacob's weighted blanket and lap pad and now this. It's strange but its hard to accept these things without feeling guilty. We aren't starving. We can afford to live, yes medical bills and therapy and all that are much to much to afford, but even still its hard to accept these things? Well, I just keep telling myself that its not about me its all about God. They felt lead to give and who am I to not accept? Not to mention we really believe in the benefits these things will have on Jacob. After that seminar on the Ipad and many uses for autistic kids we knew we would have to somehow get one. God is so AWESOME. Why do I ever doubt?

I begin my training with Mindy from Houston ABA on April 2nd and 3rd. She will then come and train me more on April 11th after I have had some practice. Unfortunately, I don't know how much I will be able to explain on my blog because of contracts and privacy with her company, but I will be able to post his progress. Also, if there are techniques that I think would be helpful for you moms out there to know I will ask her permission to post. I know we will begin PECS (picture exchange communication system) right away so hopefully we can get him to be able to communicate simple things, like when he wants his milk and when he is hungry. I really excited to get started again.

This past weekend Cret and I took all 3 kids on their first mission trip. Families and people from our church went door to door inviting people to a local church there that was wanting to get the community back in and worshiping God. If anyone knows me, they know that I am terrified to speak in front of people. So for the first street Cret and my daughter Jordan did all the talking and I just stood there smiling and praying for the community. After one house my daughter said, "Mom, come on! You talk at the next house." Cret quickly chimed in and said, "She will when she is ready." He's always got my back. HAHA

But then it occurred to me.... It's not about me. Why do I always make everything about me? This is about God and showing Christ's love to these people and this community and my children. I have to be the example that I want for my daughter. Its not about me. So I told Cret I will knock on the next door with Jordan, but I didn't want him to watch me. There's just something about someone standing there watching, it just freaks me out. Soon, after speaking with these people I did quit making it about me and built up the courage to talk to them no matter who was around.

Now, I don't say this to say that I made any huge impact, but I do say this because I got to see my children excited to run up to the next door and tell people about the church and hand them the fliers. I got to see the direct effect it had on them to see Cret and I setting an example and not being fearful. It wasn't about us, it was about GOD. Sometimes, you have to just get over yourself in order to allow God to use you.

So how does this relate to Jacob?  Well, I have to stop making Jacob's diability all about me. Just like on the mission trip I have to stop thinking about my feelings and start thinking about my purpose.  How do I make Jacob's autism all about me?  I worry, I'm fearful, I get sad and scared, I don't trust God sometimes and am overcome with stress.  I make it all about what I can do for Jacob or how I can better help him.  I turn my research and therapy into an idol.  I let it take over my life sometimes.  I know that my worry is in direct relation to my amount of time I spend in the Word and my faith.  I thought I was in the Bible enough, but it has become increasingly clear to me that I'm not.  I need to do all things for His glory.  I have to make Jacob's therapy all about God.  How do I do that?  I know it needs to start by rejoicing in God while I'm researching, but not at the expense of Bible study time, when I put Jacob on this diet, I can not let food run my life, I have to pray for Jacob and healing, but not let depression and anxiety overwhelm me.  I am to be the best mom I can, while keeping my priority Jesus.  I have to get over myself and see what God wants for me in this situation. 

I read a quote from an actress long ago
"It is a lonely existence to be a child with a disability which no-one can see or understand, you exasperate your teachers, you disappoint your parents, and worst of all you know that you are not just stupid." - Susan Hampshire

After reading this I gave it some thought.  I bet more disabled children feel this then we are aware.  Why would they feel this?  Even if I am constantly loving on Jacob, but am stressed, even if I sing to him and tell him I love him, but am always sad and tired, he will notice.  I truly know that the only way I can rejoice and be glad and have peace regardless of my circumstances is in Jesus.  Its an unexplainable joy, no matter what is happening.  The more I read His word and promises and focus on Him, the less I focus on me and my sorrow.  I don't ever want Jacob to feel the way this woman felt.  I want him to see a joy in me that he knows is deep and real and sincere. 

To the moms that read this and that email me:

I want to encourage you to engulf yourself in the Bible. Seek God and He will give you rest. You are a strong mother, and God knew exactly what He was doing in blessing you with this child. He knew exactly what He was doing when creating your child. God can use your child's disability for His glory! You are not alone out there and its so easy to feel that way. Reach out and let people help you. Let others show you God's love and show others the same. Begin a journey with me to make our children's disabilities something positive and not about us. Let's bring glory to God through their disabilities and through everything else we do. We are not alone in this.   And to those moms who don't have kids with disabilities...Won't you commit to pray for or encourage a mom with a special needs child?  Being a mom in general is a difficult job.  Its rewarding, but its hard.  Being a mom of a child with a disability is gut wrenchingly hard and difficult to put into words.  I am committing to pray for my mommy friends with and without children with disabilities.  Thank you for your constant support and love.  Don't know where I would be without those unexpected emails and phone calls.  I only hope I can be as encouraging to others. 

Father in Heaven,
   Thank you for being so holy and so merciful and so sovereign in all things.  Thank you so much for my children, my husband, Jacob's autism, our Church family, and our friends.  Thank you for dying on the cross and paying the price we could never pay.  Thank you for your GRACE.  Help me to see things through your eyes. Help me to stop making everything ALL about me.  I pray for direction in Jacob's situation to know how his autism can be used for you and to help me to balance my time so that I am giving him what he needs while keeping YOU my priority. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Jacob's future

Jacob has been pretty sick lately, on and off for weeks and weeks now.  I think it must be allergies even though Claritin isn't giving him much relief.  We are only a few weeks away from beginning my training in ABA therapy so that I can start helping Jacob more.  I am so excited that I will finally have directions and guidelines to follow that are strict and precise.  Lately, I have been seeing some decline in his attentiveness.  Its scary.  I want to only see him growing and getting better.  I can't help but to wonder if I am doing something wrong or not enough.  Honestly, that is not something I say lightly, I truly, with all of my heart, question myself daily.  He still has no words and no communication whatsoever, well besides screaming or reaching.  We are consistently signing the basics like milk, more, and bye bye but he won't sign anything.    He has seemed to really slow down on the carpet eating.  As far as behaviors, he still stands on his head and spins a lot.  He has begun a new obsession with coat hangers and sitting in baskets.  The child can not pass a coat hanger without completely freaking out.  In fact, this picture was from the other day when I was searching around for him and found him completely silent in this clothes basket in my room.  LOL He has about 5 new teeth.  They all decided to come at once, which was so much fun.  Haha.  He is waking up a lot in the middle of the night still.

 Fortunately, one of my friend's moms (from elementary school) purchased Jacob a weighted blanket and lap pad.  This couldn't have come at a better time and I am still in awe that the Lord put it upon her to help us out like that.  He loves his blanket and is still getting used to it and we have just received the lap pad and plan on trying it soon.  I still haven't figured out the proper way to thank them for those items.  How can you, ya know?

A friend sent me a link with some Bible verses in it and this one kind of made me think...

 Train up a child in the way he should go;
  even when he is old he will not depart from it.
(Proverbs 22:6 ESV)

Until recently, this verse was simple to me. Raise my children to know the Lord and when they are all grown up, even if they stray a little, they will always come back to Jesus. I think most Christian women see this verse and seek to raise their children to know the Lord.  Its a simple promise, yet a vitally important one. 

However,  with Jacob I still find myself wondering how can I be the best mom that I can be for him? What therapies should we try and what diets might help him? I was not prepared to be a mom of a special needs child.  At times I feel helpless and I feel like I can not give Jacob what he needs.  Just two days ago when my husband took Tyler and Jordan out and I was left with Jacob, I started trying to play with him and doing some therapy type playing and he just wasn't having it.   He was violently throwing himself all around, wouldn't sit still, wouldn't look at me in the eyes.  It was frustrating and then devastating.  I was crying my eyes out by the time my husband got home.  Its a haunting feeling to have a child with special needs sometimes.  Does that sound weird?  I guess I mean that you ALWAYS think about it when you are with them and most of time even when you aren't with them.  It's always a lingering thought in the back of your head.  Somedays more than others, but its hard.  Its really hard to not be able to "fix" them.  To constantly be scared that you are not giving them what they need.  I guess I forgot that this Bible verse applies to Jacob, too.

As I pursue God's will for me and for my family I come across this verse again. This verse is a promise from my Heavenly Father. This verse tells me exactly what I need to focus on in raising ALL of my children. Train my children in the way they should go and they will not turn from it. God makes no mistakes. When this was written, this was written for my family, too. My purpose in parenting is to teach my children about the love and sacrifice given through Jesus Christ on the cross. I am to teach them about their role in glorifying God's kingdom. In the end, do I want to have the smartest, most successful child in the world or a child who loves and fears God in Heaven and a child who can have unimaginable peace and joy even through the hardest struggles?  Of course everyone wants their children to be successful, but this verse took a heavy weight off my shoulders. God wants me to train my children to love Him. I do not need to worry about what Jacob will or will not be able to accomplish as a person with special needs. I don't even need to worry about all the successes and failures in my other children's lives.  It is my role to teach them and help them as best as I can in all ways, but the Lord does not require us to raise only brain surgeons.  He requires us to raise children who love and honor and fear Him. 

I know I have said it before, but I guess I need to keep reminding myself that the most important thing I can teach Jacob is how to love Jesus and how to serve God in his own special way.  I know that if I do, he will never turn from God.  What an AWESOME promise! I can have peace, real peace about Jacob's eternity.  What more could a mother ask for?

Friday, March 2, 2012

Encourage your children!

A couple weeks ago Jordan came home from Super Friday, a fun school only on Friday's for homeschoolers to take cool classes with other kids, and told me an awesome story.  She told me that she took my advise and sought out a friend at snack time that was sitting all alone.  She said that the little girl looked younger than her and had no friends. She asked the little girl to sit with her and she has been sitting with them at snack time ever since that day.  Jordan told me that this little girl has a speech impediment.  She said that when they first sat together the little girl never smiled and would hardly talk, but now she sees her smile sometimes.  A while back I had the overwhelming desire to teach Jordan to be compassionate towards special needs children and to teach her to seek out those who may be having a hard time making friends.  Of course Jacob was the trigger for that.  I want my children to love people with special needs.  I want my children to show them compassion and genuine friendship despite their differences. These kids may look weird or different or talk funny or say strange things, but we have to show them Christ's love.  So I am on a mission to help my children see these people through God's eyes.  They are fearfully and wonderfully made, just like you and I, and God has a special and unique plan for them.  So I wanted to blog this and encourage you to teach your children the same.  The funny thing is, people who don't have special needs children in their lives or work with them on a constant basis don't usually think about these kids or to talk much about them with their own kids.  So I sincerely ask anyone reading this to educate your children about people with special needs and to show them how to be kind and friendly.  That is something that can, at times, be humiliating if others are making fun of them or hard because some special needs kids are hard to get along with, but the character that can be built out of teaching that kind of compassion is priceless.  Your one child can make all the difference in the world to a kid with zero friends and a hundred bullies.  I know that I am going on a rant about this, but it literally tears at my heart to hear stories of children that are so lonely and hurt by bullies or people who are just scared of them because they are different.  I watched a video today about Asperger's Syndrome that I thought was very informative about their thinking and wanted to share it.  Please join me in teaching our children how to interact with special needs kids.  People with down syndrome, autism, physical disabilities, and other disabilities are also made in God's image.  Do you ever think about that?  I know that I find that so encouraging and so awesome.  My son with autism, who spins in circles and eats carpet, who can't speak or communicate, but who loves on me and smiles so sweet, HE is made in God's image.  He is God's creation, here on earth in order to bring glory to God! That is so AWESOME!

Here is the video if you'd like to view it...