Decoding Autism In Our Home
Parenting a child with Autism is often very challenging, but the reward that it yields far exceeds anything that I have ever experienced. My son, Jacob, has severe autism and speech and language disorder. He has very little functional speech and does not like contact with most people. Jacob shakes his heads rapidly and often needs deep pressure to calm down. He spins in circles and is fascinated with climbing inside of cabinets. We often find him walking backwards in the house rolling his arms in front of his face and making strange noises. Sometimes we catch him staring at doorknobs or running in circles around the sofa in peculiar patterns.
Jacob has a very hard time expressing his wants and needs, even non verbally. Each day he works with therapists to learn simple noun identification and commands such as “sit” and “clap”. Each morning my oldest two children and I dance and sing “I Love You So Much” for Jacob while he eats breakfast. Jacob’s therapist gave us songs with common phrases in order for him to learn them. This has become a wonderful morning routine for our family. If I forget to sing, my big kids always remind me, “Mommy, we didn’t sing the I love you song for Jakey yet”. This has become a very special tradition. As we spend time with Jacob, we often find ourselves having to “decode” what Jacob is trying to tell us. Jacob’s language consists of humming and making noises to the tunes of songs or things that he hears us say. If I tell Jacob “good boy” he says, “ooo oiy” in the same tune. We find that if we get on his level and pay attention to him closely, sometimes we can understand what he wants. It’s amazing to witness my other kids patiently and compassionately trying to understand Jacob and play with him in his own unique way. As a mom I find that it is so important to take the time to love each of my children in the way that they need to be loved, even if that means “decoding” a different language. For our family, loving Jacob means learning his “language of autism”.
It reminds me of God. God loves us in such a perfect way. As much as I love Jacob and would go to the ends of the earth for him, my Father in Heaven loves him more. He knows every thought in his mind and every word or utterance on his tongue. What a relief that is to me. I don't have to figure it all out. Thank you, God, for knowing Jacob more than I ever will and for loving Jacob more than I ever could. I pray that you can guide me on how to teach him all about YOU.
1 O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
3 You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
4 Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
5 You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it.
7 Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
9 If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night,”
12 even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you.
13 For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.[a]
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.