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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Facing Reality Head-on

When I began this blog in January 2013 it was a very emotional time for me. Facing reality head-on was not at all what I was ready to do. I was 7 months into what I described as "a less than desirable circumstance". Here are my exact words...

"Even now as I enter 2013 facing the unknown in a less than desirable circumstance, God is teaching me to trust in Him as He gives me the grace to walk through this."

Dealing with Asperger's Syndrome

Last June our son Caleb began experiencing severe anxieties which led us to seek Christian counseling for him. I won't go into the specifics of the anxieties, but I will say they were severe enough that they interfered with his daily life. The Christian counselor was wonderful and helped Caleb through his anxieties through a couple of different exercises we worked on together during the weeks at home. He also suggested testing for Asperger's Syndrome which the psychologist in the group administered. The results confirmed Asperger's Syndrome, OCD, and ADD. These diagnosis' were quite a shock and at the same time somewhat of a relief because my husband and I finally knew what we were dealing with.

We tried medication for the ADD, but Caleb had a negative reaction to it in December. We were at the beach for Christmas and toward the end of our trip Caleb began having trouble remembering things he had recently done. This was very frightening! I called our pediatrician as we headed home and told her what was happening. She told us to come by the office to get the medication in dosages to wean Caleb off of it which we did. We were seen in the office the next day and the pediatrician ordered an EEG and MRI with a child neurologist. The EEG wasn't so bad for Caleb and the results were good - no signs of seizures. Caleb had to be put to sleep for the MRI. This was hard for me as a mother. I was so scared for Caleb, but he was so very brave as they put the IV in him not only once, but TWICE because the first time on one arm didn't do like it was supposed to (forgive me, I don't know the terminology.) so they had to go in on the other arm. I cannot tell you how proud I was of him - he didn't cry at all! The results came back showing only a fluid-filled cyst that the child neurologist said had been there since birth.

We have continued taking Caleb to see the Christian counselor. There have been flare-ups with the OCD throughout this past year. These are hard times for us, but together with God's help we make it through each one. We pray through these flare-ups as I have come to call them and reassure Caleb as much as possible to ease whatever anxiety it is that he is struggling with. My husband and I have chosen not to use medication for the OCD. I am teaching Caleb scripture verses to help him during these times of flare-up such as "God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind" (2 Timothy 1:7) and "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:6-7) Thankfully Caleb has been several months free of a flare-up. I believe in the power of prayer!

As for the Asperger's Syndrome, I don't really know enough at this time to talk a lot about it. I am trying to learn all I can about it so I can help Caleb. What I do know so far is Asperger's Syndrome is on the autism spectrum and that kids and adults with AS have difficulties with socialization such as reading and reacting to nonverbal social cues and how to participate in conversations. I am currently reading "School Success for Kids with Asperger's Syndrome" by Stephan M. Silverman, Ph.D. and Rich Weinfeld. I've joined a couple of Facebook groups as well for parents of children with special needs and a Yahoo Group for parents of children with Asperger's Syndrome.

I've always suspected ADD in Caleb. My husband and I have chosen not to use medication for this diagnosis since Caleb had the bad experience with it. We are trying to go organic, gluten-free, etc. with our food instead and learn other methods for dealing with the ADD.

June 2012 was the month it all began. I can't believe we are already a year into this journey! I have experienced many grace-filled-moments during this time and now it is time to face this reality head-on and speak to others about it. Hopefully in sharing my story, I will not only give hope to others who may be facing their own difficult realities of life, but someone with more knowledge about this than me will come alongside me to offer hope and encouragement. It has been hard for me honestly. I'm one who likes to feel like she is in control, but I'm not with this; I'm utterly dependent on God for His help and guidance in how to parent Caleb through these diagnosis'. I'm so thankful to have my husband who holds me up in my moments of weakness. I'm thankful to God for His grace that has been my strength through this entire time, and it's only because of His grace that I'm now facing reality head-on.

I've shed many tears over Caleb in this last year. I'm ready now to dig in deep to research and learn all I can for the sake of Caleb. He is my joy, so innocent and loving, and I thank God that He chose me to be Caleb's mother.

Walking in His Grace,