Friday, April 3, 2009

The end was the beginning

On March 27, 2008 we heard the team at our son's IEP (Individualized Educational Plan) conclude their reports with the statement, "According to all these results, we feel that Keith has autistic spectrum disorder." It took the wind out of me.
You see, we had been down this road 3 years before with his older sister. At that point, we were doing kindergarten round-up with her. We praised God all the time for
the miracle He gave us in her. A child who had overcame numerous fears, abhorred social settings and didn't even babble was now happily heading for kindergarten at our local public school. She was deemed a leader in her class by her teacher and did not test as autistic now. She is doing well still today despite lingering difficulties understanding communication.
I cannot tell you how badly I did not want to begin that long journey again. But, I am a woman who does what needs to be done. What I didn't know was how much this time
would affect me. I began to simply plod through life, one foot in front of the other. It felt like I was stuck in a dark pit. I would cry at the "autistic" things
my son would do. I couldn't understand why I felt so bad. I knew before we went to the IEP what we would hear. He had made no progress on his goals and objectives in the classroom that year. I knew that wasn't good. So if I already knew what we were going to hear, why was I struggling with it so much?!
I finally realized that I could not "make" him better. Abigail had responded in ways that Keith did not. And then I knew what was so different. I had never dealt with a chlid who was resistant to treatment. I had to trust that God knew what He was doing with my son. I had to give up everything I knew and hoped and dreamed for Keith and just accept that he may never be rehabilitated enough
to live without me.
Now, one year later, Keith is making nice progress. He will be 5 in July and will be going to an all day 5 days/week contained classroom next year. He is not going to regular kindergarten. But, you know what? That's fine with me. The end of Abigail's journey was the beginning of Keith's, and I don't care how long Keith needs me to trust in God because I always will.
Thank you for taking the time to read about a family with autism. We love our children and pray for God's best for them even if it's not something our human minds can conceive.