Encouragement and Hope

We had a yard sale the other day, and I had the privilege of meeting a fellow autism parent. 

This gentleman's son is 17.  We talked for nearly half an hour as he shared their story.  They had done it all, and he definitely knew his stuff:  ABA, allergy testing, special diets, special doctors, hyperbaric chambers, lupron injections, speech therapy, social stories, difficult outings, etc.  He was well versed in all of the different treatments associated with autism.  (I always know that I've met "the real deal" when they drop Dr. Lovaas' name!)

He shared a story with me.  His son had an SLP in the schools.  The family had not been happy with this therapist's goals, so they called a meeting.  The SLP said, "Your son's language is robotic."  The dad smiled, laughed, and said, "Lady!  He HAS LANGUAGE!"  

I completely understood his sentiment.  So what if his language was "robotic" - at least he had some language!  As autism parents, we shared that understanding.  What someone else might see has "problematic," we see as a positive. 

This time two years ago, I questioned Colin's receptive language skills.  Did he have any at all?  Did he understand what we said to him?  He didn't follow directions at two years old, so I had a hard time with that.  After his initial OT evaluation, she pointed out that his processing time was delayed by several minutes.  Some might have looked at that and said, "Oh, no!  It takes him five minutes to complete a direction!"  I looked at it and said, "Yes! He HAS LANGUAGE!!"  Today, I know that he does understand what we say to him, and I am so thankful that he has receptive language.  Not only that, his expressive language is growing all the time. 

I shared with him a little of our journey, our daily trips to ABA therapy, special diets, special doctors, speech therapy, difficult outings.  He said, "Based on what you've told me, I think your son's outlook is going to be great.  You've started early, and you have so much at your fingertips that we just didn't have 15 years ago.  He will be okay and blow you away with his progress."

I teared up.

Now, I know that this man wasn't a prophet.  He didn't really know how Colin will do in the future.  It was just nice to hear some encouraging words from a fellow autism parent.  Hearing from someone who has been there, that we can and are doing what Colin needs...that was just nice.  I also believe that God sends people like this into our lives to give us that little bit of encouragement and hope just when we need it.

That is what I want to be for someone else.  A sharer, an encourager.  I hope that this blog, Colin's story, and our family's journey, will one day speak to someone else.  If you're reading this as an autism parent:  you've got this.  You're doing a good job!

Before this man left, he handed my mom $10 and said, "I want you to go buy that boy something that he likes."  I just thought that was such a nice gesture!  There are great people out there, Folks.


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