I’ve been struggling to know what is best for my son for a while now. As you may know, I had to pull him out of school about a year ago because of severe bullying. Recovery from that trauma is ongoing, but for the most part he is finally back to his old self. I have been homeschooling him for the last year, and he has straight A’s. I am really proud of him. But I have noticed that even though he is excelling in his studies, his social skills are slipping — to put it mildly — because he likes to be alone.
The other day I watched him play with a longtime friend. A year ago, I would have put my son’s social skills ahead of his friend. But this time it was clearly reversed. With the home school environment, my son has almost become a hermit.
He never goes anywhere and rarely wants to do anything. I was so thrilled today when he ventured into the backyard. It was the first time since winter began that he went out without being shoved out the door.
So I have been praying and searching for the right situation for my son. And in the process, I have been talking to my best friends about my concerns. One of them had an unusual, but amazing, suggestion. She reminded me that I am not alone in my love and concern for my son. She suggested that I do family history and temple work when I can, so that those on the other side of the veil — my son’s ancestors and mine — can help us out. What a surprising suggestion! It had never occurred to me. Once I thought about it, though, it made perfect sense. So I got to work.
As I have been doing indexing, I have found some hidden connections to ancestors whose temple work I thought was completed. I found a son in one family who had been connected in the family group sheets for years. The family’s temple work had all been done.
And yet, there was this one son who somehow had been missed. That was an awesome moment for me. I love uniting families and feeling like I am helping people who can’t do this for themselves.
Peace Like a River
The feeling in our home has been more peaceful as I have taken time to do family history. I turn the TV off more often and I am even feeling the urge to read my scriptures more frequently. My son is more cooperative and my mind more clear. I don’t have all the answers I need yet, but they are starting to fall into place.
More than anything, there is a feeling all around me that I am not alone — and as a special needs mom, the feeling of being alone is almost a constant thing. Even my husband doesn’t understand, because one of the strange things about Autism is that I can tell my son something and he listens. But if anyone else says the exact same thing, somehow the context doesn’t transfer and he doesn’t understand the message. Because of this, I am often the one doing everything because my husband’s attempts are unsuccessful. It’s frustrating to say the least.
I have also begun to accept that, right now, my son has a disability. I see Autism as a difference, not a defect. Yet his social skills are so lacking right now that it’s a disability for him. I can’t help him over this hurdle. And that hurts! But I found a school this week that may be the answer I have been praying for.
They are a small school, with only 10 kids in my son’s grade. That is what he needs — small and unintimidating, but social enough that he will not be a hermit any longer. I’ll keep you posted. But I am feeling like things are starting to fall into place.
My message today is simple: you aren’t alone. You have people on the other side of the veil who love you and your family. They are cheering for you and helping you in ways you can’t see. I am learning that as I keep working to be closer to my Heavenly Father, I am seeing their help more clearly. It is my hope that you have the same blessings.
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 yourself, 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.