Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Jacobs new school and new changes

Jacob has been attending his new clinic for a while now.  We have seen some incredible changes and some not so incredible changes.  For the last few months, they have been encouraging Jacob’s speech by giving him access to almost anything he wants if he uses full sentences…within reason of course.  So, if he picks up his books and asks to go do his work in a quieter room then they allow him to do so or if he asks to go see a specific teacher, they let him.  Because of this we have seen a dramatic increase in speech at home.  He still isn’t having conversational speech, but he is requesting things all the time with full sentences. 

There are still times when I ask about his day or how he feels and he looks at me and starts humming a song or he gives his usual answer and I wonder if he knows what I am asking or how to reply without the robotic “I am good, how are you” response.  We still aren’t sure how much he understands when it comes to things that aren’t concrete.  However, he does understand things like “go brush your teeth, hand me the soap, make your bed” and he listens to instructions very well.  He has even discovered his deepest love for the word NO. 
We are thrilled that he can tell people no and that he can tell us specific things about his day like when I asked him who bit him at school.  He couldn’t tell me that it hurt or made him sad, but he did tell me exactly who did it, and that was a huge win!  However, we have seen some unexpected behavior. Lately, he has been engaging in lots of stereotopy and hand flapping and imitating negative peer behavior since starting at the new school, including loud screaming fits.  He is typically a pretty chill kid, so this has been quite a difference.  He runs into the living room and jumps on my lap and yells silly made up words in my face over and over, which at first is very funny, but quickly becomes less than funny by the 100th time.  He screams when he goes into the bathroom for no reason and he uses his loudest voice to scream for things in the grocery store wondering why I am not caving to his every wish like the school is.  Sometimes it feels overwhelming.
It’s hard to remember to be thankful for the growth when the negative is so obtrusive.  While on vacation I finished a book called The Hiding Place and I was reminded of God’s call to be thankful in all circumstances, not just the good ones. 
"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
These women in a concentration camp trusted God so much that they gave thanks for fleas in their room before even knowing that those fleas would be what God used to keep the guards away.  It was so convicting to me.  Obviously, my situation pales in comparison to even a fraction of what these women went through, yet I struggle sometimes to see how much I have to be thankful for…especially when the roller coaster of autism is at a low point. 
In the book, when Corrie was unable to see how she could be thankful for fleas, her sister encouraged her.  When she was unable to see how she could forgive, her sister encouraged her.  Once again, I was reminded of how important Godly community is in my life.  Reading books like this, talking to my friends that pray for me and encourage me in Christ and leaning on friends from church means so much when I am struggling.  Pointing me back to the Lord and realizing that I am incapable of getting through this without Him is what I desperately need in my life.  One of my favorite quotes from Corrie Ten Boom was, “It is not my ability, but my response to God’s ability, that counts.”  In so many areas of my life, I feel I am not qualified, but God is.  If I am in His will, He will help me. 
I am so thankful for  my family, for Jacob, and for his autism.  I am thankful for my church and my friends.  I am thankful for this new clinic and Jacob talking so much more at home and becoming more expressive.  I am thankful he is saying NO more because that means he is expressing HIS feelings and not just what people tell him to think and do.  God is so good!
My prayer for you is that you find a community of believers to help you through life and to guide you back to Christ when times seem the most tough.  Even when you feel you can’t, try to give thanks.  There are ALWAYS things to be thankful for.  Allow God to give you a heart that genuinely beams with appreciation for all He has done.