Being a mother is like wandering through a maze-- there are so many twists and turns that we often lose our way. As a young mom raising three energetic boys (one with Autism Spectrum Disorder and another with Tourette Syndrome), I can attest to feeling puzzled, helpless, and exhausted. Mama’s Maze is intended to encourage and uplift Christian mothers as we walk together in the ministry of motherhood. Let’s journey together!
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The "A" Word (Part 2)
It has been a while since my last post (a year almost), but here is the second part to our autism journey. With it being Autism Awareness Month, I wanted to continue to share our story.
By the time Jason
was 2 1/2, he was in speech therapy, a language clinic, and a Mother's Day Out
Program. We wanted to give Jason
everything we possibly could to help him develop. Looking back, I can
definitely see how God was working the whole time. The various people who
worked with Jason, were definitely put in our path for a reason. From the time
Jason started early intervention (September 2012) until the time it ended (May
2013), I saw great improvement, especially in the area of speech. By the end,
not only was he talking well, but he was talking TOO much! Ha ha!
However, even with
all of this improvement, he was still a bit behind his peers in some areas and
I was in denial about him possibly having autism. I just did not want to accept that my son
could be on the spectrum. Although, I knew that if he did have autism it would
be on the mild end of the spectrum, I simply wanted to believe it was just a
developmental delay. But, the problem with denial is that you can miss out on
getting some of the help you need early on.
So when the last
days of early intervention approached, it was suggested that we go through the
school system and have Jason evaluated. Then he could be put in a pre-k program
in the public school for the next school year.
At that time I was very adamant about my children going to private
school, so I went against their recommendation and sent him to a private pre-k
program at a nearby Christian school. Well, that did not work out quite how we
wanted it to and he ended up leaving the program in the middle of the school
I was devastated
because now, Jason was three years old and was not in any program at all. I was
just so afraid of having the "A" word attached to my son's name. So a
few months later, we made the decision to have Jason evaluated by the school system.
The next few days
consisted of evaluations, questionnaires and conversations about my son and his
development. Finally it was time for the meeting to create and discuss a plan
for Jason's education. A wonderful sister from our church attended the meeting
with us. She gave us so much support and professional advice. Her presence was
such a blessing.
After discussing the
results of the evaluations and it was agreed that the best diagnosis for Jason,
Jr. was autism. There it was…the "A" word ….in print. I immediately
began crying. This was not what I wanted
for my firstborn. I did not want him to be "different". But deep
inside, I knew that this was the right diagnosis. I don't think the evaluators expected the reaction that I had. It seemed to catch them off guard. They tried
to give me assurance that everything would be okay. The meeting was soon over
and I found myself driving home alone in a bit of a funk.
Then an amazing
thing happened inside of me over the hours and days following the diagnosis.
After I had a few good cries, my emotions changed from disappointment, to fueling a
determination inside of me that I did not know I had. From that point on, I
resolved within myself that with God's help I would fight for my son and push
through. For the first time, I felt relieved. Now that we had officially
established what was going on, we had a direction to go. And that was the LAST
time I cried about his diagnosis.
Fast forward to the
present….Jason is now in first grade.
And he is doing so well and consistently showing me that nothing will
hold him back. He still has struggles here and there. He is high functioning,
so sometimes you may not realize he has autism. It's noticeable when he starts
talking about some of the things he is obsessed with (elevators, microwaves,
and hotels among others) or when he struggles to stay on topic in a
conversation. Outside of that, he is a typical growing kid and we try and treat
him as such.
I have seen God's hand upon Jason Jr.'s life
and I know that He has plans for our son that we cannot even imagine. God has really been good to us throughout
this journey. Without Him we could not keep pushing through. He was, is, and
will always be faithful to us.
Jason, Jr. at the Walk for Autism in Huntsville, AL
Jason, Jr. at Christmas. He has a "love" for EXPO Markers.
Hey everyone! Thanks for stopping by to check out my new blog—Mama's Maze. I am truly excited about starting this blog. God placed this on my heart a while ago so it is awesome to see it come to fruition. I have never done anything like this before, so I am thrilled about venturing into uncharted territory. Writing is a passion of mine, and I love talking about the goodness of God. So what better way to put the two together than in a blog. How did I come up with the name Mama's Maze? Well, one day as I was pondering on what the name of this blog would be, I thought about my experiences as a mother. I mean, after being in the game for five years now, what could I compare motherhood to? After much thought, the word "maze" came to mind. If you have ever been in a maze or played some type of game that had one, you know it can be challenging, frustrating, and rewarding if you ever make it through. There are so many twists and turns that it can be quite overwhelm
With April being Autism Awareness Month, I thought it would be the appropriate time to share our story thus far as it relates to having a child on the autism spectrum. I had planned to tell this story earlier, but it just never seemed like the right time. I wanted to be as transparent as possible in sharing our story, so this may take more than one blog post. Also, in a later post, my husband will be sharing his personal reflections on how this journey with autism has affected him as a father and husband. Please know that our story will not be the same as other families because all children with autism are not the same. It is my hope that we can encourage others who may be on this same journey, as well as enlighten others about autism spectrum disorder. So here's our story: To look at our firstborn, Jason, Jr., you would think he is an exact replica of his father, Big Jason. When he was born, there was no doubt of which parent he looked like. Jason, Jr., was our answered
On a recent visit to our local library, I checked out a few DVDs for the boys to watch while I completed a few tasks around the house. They fell in love with a certain DVD that contained a few popular children's stories. One story they were particularly fond of was The Three Little Pigs. After playing the DVD numerous times, the boys began to memorize the story and from then on all they could talk about (and sing about) were the three pigs and the big bad wolf. As they attempted to tell me about this classic fable, I began to think of the story from a spiritual aspect and how it can be applied in our daily battle with Satan, who is "the Big Bad Wolf" in our lives. Much like the wolf in this story, Satan goes out "seeking whom he may devour" (1 Peter 5:8). And you know what; sometimes we can exhibit some of the same the qualities as those pigs. Maybe we are like the first pig who built his house with straw- a very weak material and foundatio