Friday, April 12, 2013
Finding the Missing Piece by Stacy Camp
The puzzle piece represents to some people in the Autism Community the “missing piece” that will tell us what causes Autism or what will cure it. Autism is a very broad spectrum disorder ranging from very low functioning individuals to very high functioning individuals. In my son’s case he is very high functioning Asperger’s Syndrome; therefore just to look at him you assume he is a typical child. When your child appears like a typical child to everyone else when he is having a major melt down in the grocery store, restaurant or wherever you may be, people just assume that you are raising a brat and are very judgmental of your parenting skills. I used to wish he could walk around with one of those speech bubbles above his head saying “I am not bad. I have Autism”. Sometimes Asperger’s Syndrome can be difficult to diagnose, and some don’t get a diagnosis until the age of 9 which is what happened in our case. From 4K to 3rd grade I would get notes home from school or phone calls about how “bad” my child was or how much he “played in class” or “he just won’t do the work”. He always was moved to the front of the class often segregated from the rest of the students. In kindergarten learning to write he would agonize over it because his letters didn’t look like the printed ones on the page and would erase until there would be holes in his paper if he didn’t crumple it up and throw it away. I just thought he’s a perfectionist. Finally in 2nd grade I decided enough was enough. Something was not right. Along with dealing with what we thought were behavioral issues we were also dealing with night terrors and bed wetting and voices only he could hear. We went to the Pediatrician who in turn sent us to a psychologist who said, “Your son is ADHD with OCD. By third grade things were not any better he was suspended from school. I had school officials telling me he didn’t belong in their school, and I needed to take him home or send him to public school not private school. So back to the doctor we go. His pediatrician was honest enough to say he needed to be seen by another psychologist. After several visits and testing with this psychologist he gives me the news, “Your son is on the Autism Spectrum. He has Asperger’s Syndrome.” So begins the questions: What did I do? What did he do? Why him?
Then began the two year journey of really digging my heels in, I joined the local support group. I took him to occupational therapy. We went to a biomedical doctor in Arkansas. We did special diets, vitamin supplements, even chiropractic care. I don’t even want to know the amount of money we have spent. I wanted him “fixed.” Of course I prayed but not like I should have. I prayed for what I thought should be not what God wanted. I wanted to keep him in private school because I wanted him to have the Christian education, but when it became apparent to me that this was not the school situation for him I decided to bring him home. He could get a Christian education at home. We did that for 2 years. He is now in public school, and we are now dealing with all their testing to see how they can best accommodate him. Can he blossom and live up to his potential? I was so engrossed in fixing or curing my child that along the way I forgot to ask God what His plan for my son is. I will never forget it as clear as a bell. I could hear these words inside my car driving down I-20, Stop! Your son is perfect in My Sight. Psalm 139:13, For it was You who created my inward parts; You knit me together in my mother’s womb.
Is life easy for us? Most days not. There is always something that will disrupt his routine, but as long as we remember to keep God first and keep seeking God, we will see God’s plan unfold for Logan’s life. Sometimes God is the only missing piece we need. You see God has put special people in our path at church for one that love Logan and have given him an opportunity to serve in the puppet ministry where he fits in just fine and loves it. I don’t regret all the therapies and other things I have done for Logan that played a role in getting him where he is today, but the best thing I did for my son was to remember to put God first and ask God first before I make decisions regarding Logan or any of my children for that matter.