I’m a big fan of NCIS, and even though they seem to get crimes solved almost too smoothly, I’ve learned something from the show. One of the characters always says to “go with your gut.” They are talking about solving crimes, but I think it’s a lesson for life.
I am always getting gut feelings. It’s often an urge to do something, or knowing what’s going through someone’s head as I observe them. In the LDS Church we are taught that these urges, these gut feelings, are often whispers from the Holy Ghost. And following them brings big blessings. I’ve been thinking about this today because I’m at the beginning of a journey I never would have known to start if I hadn’t followed my gut.
My husband and I found out a few days ago that our son, newly seven years old, has autism. His is a more mild form, and has been hard to detect. But when school started in August I felt like I needed to be at school to help out, in an effort to help my son adjust to school. So I got to watch him as he interacted with other kids. It was then that I started to get a feeling that something was off. But that wasn’t the first urge I’d gotten, and followed, regarding his education.
A few years ago I had worked hard to get him into this top notch charter school nearby. We got accepted for Kindergarten. As every good mom is, I have always been convinced my son is brilliant. So I wanted him in the best program. But when we got into this school, I just felt sick inside. I couldn’t feel good having him attend. And now I know why — they don’t have a special education team like my local neighborhood school does. He would not have thrived in that environment, and he wouldn’t have the support staff in place to help him with his autism.
This may all seem dry to you, but for me it’s very real. I have to ask you if you’re following your hunches, your gut instincts. Sometimes we don’t know it’s the Holy Ghost when He first whispers because life is so busy. We chalk it up to mom’s intuition, or something else, when it’s communication with God. The Lord is closer than we know. And He talks to us more often than we realize. I’m feeling overwhelming gratitude that He has guided me to get the help my son needs.
For those not familiar with autism, I have come up with an analogy to make it more real for me. My son is a Mac computer in a PC computer world. Both are good, and both have benefits. But they don’t speak the same language. So with therapy we are going to teach my Mac son the decoding programs he needs to speak PC. He will always be a Mac, but eventually will learn the language well enough that most PC’s won’t see much difference. But as a PC mom, it has been a very hard process trying to reach my Mac son.
I have often felt frustrated and lost, not knowing how to meet his needs. So even though I know this is only the beginning of the journey; to me this is a huge victory. Because I finally know what language he speaks, and I can finally begin to really reach him! And he is a brilliant kid, so unlocking his code to really hear him is going to be awesome.
Welcome to my adventures in Autism.
Abby is capable and caring. She is learning more about Autism and parenthood every day. And even though she is the first to admit she makes a lot of mistakes, she is so grateful to be on this journey. She comes from a family with many autistic members. She invites us to join her, as she shares her adventures. She wishes to emphasize that Autism is a difference not a defect. If you or a family member have autism, Abby wants you to know that this isn't a bad thing. And you or your loved one are not sick or broken. Together we will teach the world this new language.