Our Son's Journey
Hello fellow quilters!
I have been overwhelmed by the love and support I received on my Instagram post regarding my son.
In case you missed it, we had recently discovered my son had some developmental issues. What happened was, he started kindergarten this past year and within the first month, we knew something was seriously wrong.
Our bright, funny boy was a puddle of anxiety and continuously struggling at school. While I had always known he had a stubborn streak (which I refuse to believe comes from my side! lol) he had always been cooperative and kind.
Soon, I was getting calls that he would curl up on the floor and cover his ears. Or would simply get up and try to leave the class. Kids were picking on him because he was the one who brought everything to a stop.
When I went to visit him at the school one day, I quickly realized my son was not like the others. I saw him walking in circles, muttering to himself and moving his hands in a stiff, almost flapping manner. I had never seen him do this before, but I immediately recognized it as "stimming"--a coping mechanism I had seen my autistic nephew do many times.
I remember turning to my husband after we left and asked, "Did you see what he was doing?" My husband replied, "Yes. Make an appointment with his doctor."
I was devastated, but sprang into action. We had an appointment made before we had even left the parking lot and I scheduled a conference with his teacher and the principal.
This part of the story gets sad, but after a lot of heartache and back and forth, we decided it was better to keep him home and homeschool him.
I know this isn't the right decision for everybody, but it was what was right for us. I work from home and couldn't watch my son go through this anymore until we knew exactly what was going on and how we could help him.
A few weeks later, we got the diagnosis: my son was on the spectrum. He had autism spectrum disorder level 1 (previously known at Aspgerger's Syndrome). He was also diagnosed with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactive disorder).
When we got the diagnosis, it was extremely hard--but in some ways it felt like a relief. It explained all those little things that had always been so horribly hard. It explained why we had so much trouble getting his hair cut. It explained why he wouldn't fall asleep until very late at night. It explained the horrible tantrums he would throw when his routine was upset.
I had been blamed by family for being too lenient, but there was a little voice inside me that would say, "No...this is harder than it was before."
I have a teenage daughter so this wasn't my first round of parenting. And I knew deep down there was something different going on, but I think I didn't want to believe it.
We enrolled him in occupational therapy and speech therapy. The occupational therapy helps with his fine motor skills and the speech therapy is to help him hold "typical" conversations. Otherwise, he prefers to only talk about his favorite subjects like science and medicine (oh and minecraft!).
We have seen him make really big strides, but I'm always aware he seems different than other kids. Whenever I start to think, "He's got this!" Something will happen to remind me that he may always need special accommodation--or that things may just be harder for him or take longer to learn.
But-- as I am sure mothers of special needs kids can understand--what I mostly see is a sweet, intelligent boy who is passionate about what he loves, whose smile lights up my world and who I would choose over and over again to have as my son.
I know the journey ahead will not be easy, but I was raised to put my trust in God and to believe He leads us where we need to go. Even through all the tears I've shed, I know that God doesn't abandon us and that He has a special purpose for each of us and for my son. So I hang on to that every day, even on the hard days.
Thank you for taking time to listen and read our story.
If you can relate to this, drop me a line! One of the hardest things I have found is the lack of support in our area. The messages I have received from other quilters who homeschool or have been down this path is what keeps me going.
So don't be shy! Let me know your story. Maybe you are in the beginning stages of your journey or maybe you've been down this path already with adult children, but I know we are better when we can help each other.
So don't hesitate to reach out! I'm only an email away.