I was blessed to work with children with autism in the past.
But I didn’t immediately recognize it as a blessing at that time. Working with them was fun and unique yet really challenging. I experienced this especially since I didn’t have a background in special education the first time I had a student with autism. I had classmates who were taking up special education and I found them to be people with a remarkable gift – a special calling to work with these little angels. I didn’t believe I have that. Nevertheless, I took up a few units of special education because I needed those for my job. Still, these weren’t enough. If there was something that I was capable of, though, was to love them, the willingness to teach them despite my limitations. The parents of my students were such amazing and inspiring people, with a lot of patience, love and faith! I always admired their strength and always thanked God that He gave such parents to these children. True enough, God knows what His Children need.
About a year or two before we had our own little angel, I was sitting in my special education class, watching a movie with my classmates and professor. We were watching The Miracle Worker, a movie about Helen Keller and her teacher Anne Sullivan. The movie was a real tear-jerker – though I wasn’t surprised that I cried. I would cry over a comedy or even an animated film like Toy Story. Anyway, we were all crying, I suppose. In the darkness of that room, I knew God was speaking to me. I was not sure exactly but it was about children with special needs. The movie tore my heart and left me to think really hard and to wonder. But after sometime, the idea was buried in my subconscious and I forgot all about it.
I knew I was going to have a son way before I had my ultrasound. I asked for it and after reading the prayer of Hannah in the Bible, I claimed that the Lord would hear my prayer. I also knew that he would be different. In what way, I didn’t know. I only knew he was a blessing and that he had a special purpose in our family. Indeed, it was true. He taught us SO many things – but more than anything, he taught us to pray more, to hope, to love, to wonder, to learn, to laugh, to cry, to get up..then to laugh again. It goes on.
When I realized he has autism, everything that happened in the past came back to me. All along, God had been preparing me for him, long before he was born! The acceptance didn’t come as easy as you might think. In fact, I asked Him why. Was this a kind of punishment for whatever sins we (my husband and I) may have done in the past? Have we been such evil people to deserve this? You’re God, You can do anything! Nothing is impossible for you. Can You just turn this into a bad dream so that I can wake up? In other words, I went through a phase – pity, bitterness, resentment, adjustment, understanding… And the first time I asked why, He answered, “Because I know you are capable of loving him.” After that, came the beginning of a long process of acceptance and tears.
But God doesn’t remove our cross just because we ask Him to. Didn’t our Lord Himself embrace and carry His?
You see, He has a purpose. Though we might not fully understand it yet, we have learned to lean on God for strength and for endurance. And He has never left our side. What sheer comfort to have the Lord with us!
We are still in this long, rocky and thorny journey – but it’s not so dark anymore. We continue to search, to learn. I can’t say that we have become experts – quite far from it. Or that we have done something that made him fully recover. We have been doing things – and we will still be doing things, taking small difficult steps one at a time. We have made mistakes as well – and still do at times. We disagree, we agree. But we love, we continue to love.
Allow us to share our experiences, positive and negative – and hopefully, help someone out there, who is embarking on this journey for the first time.
As for now, we are allowing ourselves to immerse in it – and learn from it, as God has intended us to.
When I first started this blog, I thought this was about our ‘autism’ journey. But now, I realized it is not.
This is more of a journey with God. Autism is just a small part of it.
God is the Big Picture. And what a relief.
To God be the glory.
After repeating a word I said, he ran across the room and then back. I was holding some picture cards of things which my son with autism was familiar with. He would identify the object in the picture after a lot of prompts and then run every time, like it was some kind of a […]
It was one of those dreadful not-so-ordinary days. My son with autism was graduating from preschool and I had to bring him to the venue of his ‘yearbook’ photoshoot. For starters, he had to wear something he doesn’t normally wear: polo, necktie, slacks and leather shoes. Having to fit these prior to the day of […]