October 18, 2007

What a Year!

I meant to write this yesterday but didn't get a chance. Yesterday was the one year anniversary of Will's diagnosis. I was sitting at this very computer desk when a lady from the school district called and said those magic words: "Will has autism."

For the following weeks and months we cried together(alot), we had good days of trusting God for Will's future, we told those close to us, and read tons and tons about this disability and how we could proceed to help him become the best Will he can be. I also spent alot of time talking to God and asking for great wisdom and the ability to accept Will joyfully for who he is without secretly thinking, "I wish he wasn't like this", which is very hard on what I call "autism days".

Over the course of this year, we have seen God's faithfulness in Will's life and in our family's life. There is no better word to describe it. Will has grown tremendously in his ability to communicate and in his desire to socialize with other children and people in general. We used to dread taking him to gatherings of people, even extended family, because of his response to the situation. Now we don't even think twice, knowing he will enjoy himself and, more importantly, the people there. He has finally developed the "I want to do it myself" attitude, which has come in handy in learning self-help skills and becoming more independent. He has always been a sweet and affectionate boy, but sometimes his inability to communicate and the resulting behavior masked that. His meltdowns are fewer now which is allowing that sweetness to shine. He is succeeding in school, making friends, and even starting to develop a little pretend play. He still struggles and always will in some ways, but the struggles are becoming less and the successes are becoming greater.

Even if Will hadn't grown at all this year, God has shown Himself faithful. He has taught me that sometimes things we look at as "problems" or "disabilities" are not that to Him. They are opportunities to show His glory. In fact, I can say that I've actually come to the point of being thankful for my child, autism and all (because autism is not all he is), and seeing him as a precious gift. We have been given the privilege of raising one of God's very special children!

Of course, we continue to fight. Hopefully, next year we will be able to continue the list of how Will has grown. Thank you for fighting with us!

P.S. Alot of times, people will ask me questions because they are concerned about behaviors children they know are exhibiting. I just read in the paper about a new resource put up by Autism Speaks that shows video of children with signs of autism alongside typically developing children. You can check out their website...this would have been really good for me as a new mom!