“What are we doing on Saturday?” Ethan asked me earlier this week

“Well, I have my book signing on Saturday afternoon and I am getting the oil changed on the van in the morning.” I replied as I finished setting the table for dinner

“Are we all going to your book signing?” he asked

“I don’t know. Do you want to come?” I hadn’t really thought about making it a family event because I really didn’t know if the kids would enjoy it.

“Yes, I think it sounds like fun!” Ethan replied. “Plus, all of us kids should be there because people will probably want to meet the stars of the book.”

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Emma & Ethan playing with the umbrellas

So, Saturday afternoon the “stars” of Running Through the Raindrops were all in attendance at my book signing and they had a great time playing with the props (umbrellas), sampling all the cookies and talking with those who stopped by to purchase the book. It was a successful book signing and I was so glad the kids all came along.

Now by “successful” I don’t mean I sold hundreds of copies of my book or that there was a long line of people waiting to meet the author.  It was successful because we had the opportunity to meet other parents and talk with them about the struggles and the joys of raising kids. We had some especially meaningful conversations with parents who also had kids with autism and had been through many of the same struggles we had. My husband, Dwight, and I really enjoyed meeting these wonderful families and, after all, that is the whole reason I started writing in the first place. I wanted to connect with other parents and share our joys, our fears and our frustrations.

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Caleb, Drew, Emma & Ethan

One of the most amazing moments was when a friend of ours brought her granddaughter, Hannah, into the book signing. Hannah is in school with Caleb and she also has autism and is non-verbal. When Caleb and Hannah saw one another they both smiled and started jabbering away. We couldn’t understand what they were saying, but Caleb was making his “happy sound” and jumping up and down so I think that they were excited to see one another. It was blessing to see a friendship that goes against what so many have defined autism to be.  Friendship is one thing that kids with autism are said to not be capable of understanding or obtaining but it was clear to us that assumption couldn’t be farther from the truth!

So here is to my “stars”: Drew, Caleb, Ethan and Emma – I love you and I had an awesome time celebrating with you on Saturday!

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If you haven’t read my book and want to learn more about it you can click HERE for an interview I recently did with Michelle Lynn Brown. You can purchase Running Through the Raindrops on Amazon as a paperbook or Kindle. Also available as a NookBook and on Kobo.  If you have read the book it be great if you’d leave a review on Amazon – thanks so much!

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I was watching Emma’s softball game last night when I felt several large raindrops fall on my arm. I looked up and saw the dark clouds rolling in. Rain AGAIN! Ugh!!   Ethan had a game that would be starting in about fifteen minutes and I wondered if they would get to play or not. If they did it would probably be another wet and muddy game.

Dwight was on his way to the ball field to watch Ethan’s game so I called him to make sure he brought an umbrella.  We had decided that I would watch Emma’s game while Dwight stayed home with Caleb and then Dwight would come out and watch Ethan’s game and I would go home to watch Caleb.  Drew was home with Caleb and would watch him for the overlap time while Dwight and I were switching places, but we didn’t want Drew to have to be at home alone with Caleb all evening … The last time we tried that Caleb knocked over a bookcase, knocked over a dresser, locked Drew out of the house, took down all the pictures off the wall in the living room and played his own game of baseball with my Precious Moments figurines … throwing them one by one at the wall.  He was one busy boy and his destructive creativity was working overtime. If you have a child with Autism (or know Caleb) you probably can relate.

Emma’s game was tied up and then at the very end the other team scored 2 points and won.  The good thing is that Emma isn’t all wrapped up in whether they win or lose … softball is more of a social thing for her. She loves to see her friends and wear the cute uniform.  She is usually out in the outfield twirling around in circles or picking dandelions and she gets most excited about the snack after the game.

I helped Emma gather up all her softball gear and we went over to tell Ethan “good luck” on his upcoming game.  The sky was getting darker and more and more raindrops were falling as we walked quickly over to Ethan’s dugout.  After talking with Ethan for a few minutes Emma and I took cover under the awning of the concession stand because the rain had started really coming down.  

After a few minutes Emma asked, “When are we going to leave?”  I looked out at the rain and said, “Well, we can either wait out the storm here where it is dry or we can ‘make a run for it’ now and run as fast as we can through the rain to the car.”  Emma smiled and said, “I think we should ‘make a run for it’!”  All the other parents huddling under the awning with us started laughing.  “I don’t think that is the option your Mom would have chosen.” one of the other moms pointed out to Emma.  I was just wishing I had my umbrella with me, but it was in the car (of course!).

So Emma and I took off running through the rain towards the car.  Emma seemed surprised at how wet we were getting. “Run faster Mom! We are getting soaked! Watch out for the mud puddles!”  Luckily I remembered where we parked and we made it safely to the car without stepping in any mud puddles.  Once we were both inside the car we started laughing at how soaking wet we were.  Emma looked at me and said, “That was FUN Mommy! We will have to do that again sometime!”

One Amazing Kid

March 10, 2011

As many of you know I have a son, Caleb, who has Autism and is non-verbal.  Caleb is 9 (almost 10) and has made wonderful progress over the past year.  He has been transitioned from the special ed class to a general ed 3rd grade classroom where he is mainstreamed with other students his age and has an aide to assist him when needed.   Caleb has learned so much this year through the help of a wonderful team of teachers, therapists and aides.  He is still considered non-verbal, but Dwight and I have noticed how much his speech has improved this past year. He seems so close to verbal speech and we want to continue to provide ways for Caleb to find his voice and find ways to communicate.

I have started a new blog called “Caleb’s Voice” that will focus on the struggles, frustrations, joys and celebrations of raising a child with Autism.  I hope that this blog will be a great way to look back and easily see the progress Caleb is making and the wonderful ways God is working in Caleb’s life.  We would love for you to join us in praying for Caleb as he is learning to communicate and engage more with the world around him.

You can check out this new blog at calebsvoice.wordpress.com

Life Happens

March 4, 2011

I drove by a church sign this week that read, “Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.”  “Wow, that is so true” I thought.  I know that my life hasn’t turned out the way I had planned. 

I never planned to be a pastor’s wife – my husband was not a pastor or even a youth pastor when we got married.  I never planned to have a child with Autism – in fact, after my first pregnancy ended in miscarriage, I said that probably there was something wrong with the baby and God knew I couldn’t handle raising a child with special needs.  I never planned on having twins – After having Drew and Caleb we said we would only have one more baby, but God had a different plan in mind for our family.

I have always been a well-organized person who loves to plan and make lists. I love to have things go according to those plans and I love to accomplish tasks and cross them off my list. I also find myself getting stressed when I things DON’T go according to plan.

  After Drew was born I was exhausted but still managed to keep my house tidy and accomplish a few things on my ever-growing “To do” list.   Although there were times when I felt very overwhelmed by this new addition to the family, I had no idea that this was just the beginning. 

When Caleb came along I started to struggle a little more.  The house wasn’t quite as clean. I started to care less about whether or not I had make up on or what my hair looked like if I was just running to Walmart or the post office. I also started to notice how forgetful I had become and I was even having trouble in my cluttered office finding a pen and paper to write down things I could no longer remember.

Shortly after the twins came along things started to go downhill at an alarming rate.  The house was in total disarray … toys all over the floor, dishes piled in the sink, and juice stains on the couch and carpet.  Not only did I not care about my hair and make up, but I even ventured out in my pajamas once or twice when we overslept and I had to rush off to get Drew to school on time. Granted, my pajamas were sweatpants and a t-shirt, but I would have NEVER gone out looking that way back when Drew was little.  

One of the hardest lessons I have had to learn is to ask for help. Realizing that I can’t do it on m y own and that I am not in control has been hard for me to accept.  I have had to learn to ask my husband, mom, mother-in-law, friends and kids to help me get things done and not try to be super-mom and do it all alone.  I have also had to learn that God has things in control and I don’t need to worry about every little detail of life, but rather turn these worries over to him. 

There were two times in my life that I must not have been doing a very good job of learning these lessons because they were times I was forced to ask for help due to circumstances beyond my control. One was when I was put on bed rest when I was 7 months pregnant with the twins. The other was when I broke my ankle and was put in one of those very lovely and oh-so- stylish boot casts.  In both these instances I was forced to ask for help because there was no way for me to do things on my own.  In both these instances it was the month of December which is already a stressful and busy month with all the Christmas preparations and things going on at church. 

I was really overwhelmed wondering how in the world things would get done but it amazed me how many people were there to help. I had my mom and mother-in-law that helped with the kids, did laundry and cleaned my house. My husband did all the grocery shopping and chauffeured the kids and I around.  There were people in the church that brought meals and checked on us to see if there was anything they could do to help. I even had my friend (and roommate from college), Becky, who came over and wrapped all my Christmas presents for me!  I knew that there were lots of people around me that cared for me and wanted to help and all I had to do was pick up the phone and ask.  It was hard at first, but it got easier as I started learning the lesson that everyone has to ask for help and there are certain times in our life that we need help more than others.

 Last night as I was upstairs getting the kids in bed I noticed Emma was missing. I started looking around the house and found her down stairs in the kitchen with all the lunch boxes lined up. “It’s time for bed Emma, what are you doing down here?” I asked.  “I just wanted to help and pack the lunches for you and surprise you” she sweetly replied.  It warmed my heart to have Emma help me, especially since I hadn’t even asked for help.

Caleb’s Voice

February 12, 2011

Our nine year old son, Caleb, has Autism and is non-verbal.  I have to continually remind others (and even myself) that although he cannot verbally express himself that doesn’t mean he doesn’t understand what we say to him. It also doesn’t mean that there aren’t things that he WANTS to tell us.  I can’t even imagine how hard it is for him to not be able to communicate.  It must be extremely frustrating to not be able to express his wants and needs or even to just make a comment or observation about everyday things we take for granted like what we did that day or what we had for lunch.

When Caleb was around four or five we discovered that he had taught himself to read and spell and he started using magnetic letters to communicate with us.  We had tried to teach him sign language for almost a year but he showed very little interest in learning the signs. However, he has a fascination with letters and words and so he loves to use his magnetic letters to spell words. He sometimes just spells his favorite words like “editor”, “lighting”, “effects”, and “Dreamworks” (his favorite part of any movie is the credits, can you tell?).  Other times he spells to tell us what he wants and so he will use his letters to write words like “apple”, “cracker” or “computer”.  His fine motor skills are improving and so now he also uses a pencil and paper to write out words or phrases to communicate.

A couple of years ago we purchased an Augmentative Communication Device (ACD) for Caleb.  An ACD is like a small touch screen computer with keys that have small icons or pictures. There are different menus for things like food, clothing, holidays, school, etc. and each of them has icons of things that are in that category.  Caleb can use the keys to build sentences and then when he is done the device will read the sentence for him in a computer generated voice.  He can also go to the QWERTY keyboard pages and type whatever he wants to say.  This has been a great help in providing a mode of communication for Caleb and has really opened our eyes to what is going on inside his head.  We have discovered that Caleb is a very smart boy and he also has a sense of humor. He has found there is a joke page on the ACD and will often tell his therapists jokes to stall for time and avoid work.  The more we see Caleb’s personality the more we realize that he is like most nine year old boys in that he loves to play and tries to find creative ways to avoid work. 

One afternoon my husband, Dwight, was visiting a member of our congregation in the hospital and since bringing four children into the hospital would have created quite a scene I just kept them in the van with me and we drove over to McDonalds and went through the drive-thru to get a snack.  I asked the kids what they wanted.  Drew wanted a coke and fries and Emma and Ethan both decided on chocolate chip cookies and milk. I also ordered french fries and a Sprite for Caleb.  We got our food and drove off to head back over toward the hospital.  Caleb started fussing and whining and continued to let me know that something was not right. I asked him what he wanted and he just continued to kick the seat and whine.  I was driving so I couldn’t tell what was bothering him and I asked the other kids and they couldn’t tell either. I said, “Caleb, get your talker” (that’s what we call his ACD)  “Caleb use your talker to tell me what you want or what’s wrong”.  He got his talker out and then I heard it say, “I want a cheeseburger” and then he added “Please”.  “OK Caleb, we will go back and get you a cheeseburger.” I said with a smile.  After all Dwight had not texted me that he was done with the visitation and so we probably had plenty of time.  I was looking for a place to turn around and head back towards the golden arches and I guess it was taking longer than Caleb thought it should because he grabbed his talker again and I heard, “A hamburger … with cheese”.  I laughed and said, “Yes, Caleb – I know what a cheeseburger is. We are going to get you one as soon as Mommy can get turned around and back to McDonalds.”

Caleb’s ACD has been in “the shop” getting repaired so we have missed it these past two weeks and have had to try and find other ways to help Caleb communicate with us.  He does pretty well with writing so we have used a good old-fashioned pencil and paper and also the magnetic letters so he has some way to let us know what he needs or wants.  This has worked pretty well, but there are times when he decides to find other ways to communicate and they are not always very pleasant for those around him.  He has this piercing scream that he recently has become quite found of.  This scream sound is pretty irritating to listen too especially since my motherly instincts associate screaming with a child being hurt or upset.  However, the more we have charted and tried to figure out the cause of the screaming the more I think that it is not a scream that means something is wrong, but rather an expression of protest  (what the ABA therapists call “avoidance behavior”).  Instead of saying “no” when you ask him if he wants to do something or wants to eat something he lets out this piercing scream (even though he is capable of saying “no” and /or shaking his head).  He will also produce the piercing scream if you try and get him to complete a task whether it be homework, cleaning up his room or some other not-so-fun part of a nine year olds day.  Last week he was in his therapy session and he was doing this screaming sound.  His therapist kept asking what was wrong and couldn’t figure it out so she wrote out on a piece of paper, “What’s wrong?”  Caleb took the pencil and wrote back to her, “What’s wrong with you?”.  “What’s wrong with me is your screaming.”   she replied.  Caleb wrote “no screaming” on the paper.  “Yes, no screaming.” She agreed.  Caleb put down the pencil and the screaming stopped.

These examples have helped to show me that Caleb can engage in a conversation if given the proper tools to help him.  He learns a lot from the world around him and we have to find ways for him to express himself in order to grasp just how much he knows.  I am always thankful for the times when God helps Caleb find his voice by allowing him to discover alternative ways to communicate with us.  I especially enjoy the times when his sense of humor shines through and he makes me laugh.  One cold winter day Caleb came up to me and sat on my lap and as I grabbed him to pull him close and hug him I felt his feet and they were freezing. “Caleb!”  I said, “Your feet are so cold … they are like ice cubes. You really need to have socks on!”  Caleb scooted off my lap, took two steps back, looked at MY bare feet and then looked back up at me.  He then started giggling and I could tell by the look he gave me exactly what he was thinking … Where are your socks Mom?

A few weeks ago when Caleb was in Sunday School  he took his paper and pencil and wrote,  “I love you” and handed the note to his teacher. She smiled and said, “Thank you Caleb. I love you too.”  She took the pencil and wrote back, “I love you Caleb”  Caleb looked at the paper grabbed the pencil and added “Elliott” after his name.  “Yes” she laughed and added, “I love you Caleb Elliott”

Surprise!

January 18, 2011

“There’s baby # 1 and there’s baby #2” the doctor pointed to the two fuzzy objects as I sat straight up and stared in disbelief at the ultrasound monitor. I was in my fourth month and had just recently come to terms with how I was going to handle a third child, but a third AND a fourth?  Dwight and I had been married 9 years and had 2 beautiful little boys : Drew, who was 5 and Caleb who was 17 months old.  We had always planned to have 3 children, and although I had gotten pregnant sooner than expected we were very excited and we were already talking about names and deciding where we would put the crib. However, we had no idea that we were getting the two-for-one special (aka: twins) “Where in the world are we going to put them?” I wondered as I continued to stare at the two heartbeats on the ultrasound.

This pregnancy had gone much like the other two except for 1) I had been eating non-stop and 2) I was gaining weight at a much faster pace.  However, since eating and gaining weight are related I just thought I really needed to cut back on the pizza, french fries and cheeseburgers I had been craving.   I had come in for my monthly check-up and thought this would be a pretty uneventful visit.  However,  I was measuring larger than normal for 18 weeks along and so the doctor had decided  it wouldn’t hurt to do a quick ultrasound there in his office to check and see if there might be more than one baby.

“Well, all I can say is that God must have a sense of humor” I said to the doctor as I tried to wrap my brain around the fact that I had two babies growing inside me.  “Of course he does” the doctor replied back with a smile.  Dr. Blake had been my doctor for all of my pregnancies including my first which was only 8 weeks and ended in miscarriage.  He and his staff were all wonderful and I knew I was in good hands as far as the pregnancy and delivery were concerned – it was what would happen after the birth that scared me. There was no way I would be able to return to work after this  – how would I afford childcare for 4 small children ?  How would we feed four children if I wasn’t working ? So many questions – my head was spinning and I know that it must have shown on my face because the nurses were very encouraging and kept saying things like “Everything will be work out”  “If anyone can handle this we know you can”, etc.  Very sweet of them, but I wasn’t as confident in myself and my mothering skills as they were. 

The rest of the pregnancy with the twins went quickly and the closer I got to my due date the more scared I became.  I was put on bed rest at 32 weeks because I had already dilated to 4 cm and was having contractions 5 minutes apart.  I was also given medicine to stop the contractions.  This medicine did not help at all with my nerves because it made me very jittery and high-strung.   I had to go in for a non-stress test every week.  It’s a good thing these tests were measuring the babies stress levels and not my own personal stress level because I felt like I was having a nervous breakdown. With all the worrying about the impending birth of the twins, the racing hormones in my body and the side effects of the medicine to stop the contractions I was an emotional wreck.  I was torn between just wanting to have the twins and get it over with and wanting them to stay in my uterus where they were a lot easier to care for than they would be when they came out.  At 36 weeks the doctor decided it was time and we welcomed Ethan Thomas (7 lbs, 5 oz) and Emma Nicole (5 lbs, 8 oz) into our family.

When we brought the twins home from the hospital their oldest brother Drew was very excited and wanted to help bring diapers, pacifiers, or whatever else we needed and even wanted to help entertain the babies when they were cranky.  During the pregnancy he had been a little unsure how he felt about adding to our family. One night he had told Dwight and I that once the babies came he would be moving in with Grandma and Grandpa Brock.  “It’s been nice living here, but I think it’s time for me to move on.”  Dwight and I were shocked by this news and asked him why he didn’t want to live with us anymore. “Oh, it’s not that I don’t like it here … it’s a pretty nice place and the food is OK, but once the new babies come there won’t be room for me to live here anymore.”  Drew is a smart boy and he had counted up the bedrooms and knew that there weren’t enough rooms for two more family members.  Since he was the oldest he assumed it was time for him to move out.   We explained to Drew that we already had plans to build on an addition to our house with two more bedrooms and another bathroom, but that even if we hadn’t we would never kick him out.  “Whew, that’s a relief!” Drew said as he gave me a big hug. “I’ve really kinda gotten used to you guys and I think I might miss you.”

Caleb was not even two when the twins came to invade his home and he was not happy at all.  He had been the baby of the family and he already had been upset that during the pregnancy Mommy’s lap had continued to get smaller and smaller. Now that the babies were here it seemed to him that Mommy was always holding one of them and these babies sure were noisy for being as small as they were.  If I were holding one (or both) of the twins he would walk past me by going out to the other side of the room, making sure to be as far away from the babies as possible.  He once found one of Emma’s socks and brought it to me but he carried it by a small string sticking out from the toe of the sock as if it had cooties or baby germs that he wanted no part of. 

Caleb was first diagnosed with Autism when the twins were only around a year old I remember worrying that I had been given more than I could handle.  I know they say God doesn’t give you more than you can handle, but maybe God had more faith in me than I did in myself.  However, looking back I can see how the twins being born when they were really was perfect.  They have helped Caleb so much that I know he would never have made the progress he has without his little brother and sister to keep him engaged in the world around him and to help include him and love him just the way he is.  Emma is like a second mommy to Caleb and she helps watch out for him and make sure he is safe. Ethan is a great buddy for Caleb and when we were teaching Caleb sign language Ethan made up a special sign for “chase” since that was a game that he and Caleb loved to play together.  It’s amazing how an unexpected surprise turned out to really be an unexpected blessing.

Miracles Come in All Sizes

January 10, 2011

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is though nothing is a miracle. The other is though everything is a miracle.” ~ Albert Einstein

Having a child with Autism has tested my faith and my relationship with God.  I have had to try and continue to have faith that God hears my prayers even though he has not answered them (or at least answered them the way I want him to).  Eight years ago my husband Dwight and I had two children, Drew (who was 5) and Caleb (who was 1) and we had just learned that we were expecting twins. This was a big shock and our lives were turned upside down.    In January of 2003, after being on bed rest for a month the twins, Emma and Ethan, were born – one month early.  The first few months of sleepless nights, endless loads of laundry and diaper changes were all a blur.  To add to the stress during this hectic period in our lives, Dwight and I started noticing changes in our middle son, Caleb’s, behavior and development.  He was not talking like he used to and he began to withdraw and became very destructive.  At first we just thought it was regression caused by his adjustment to the pregnancy and birth of the twins.  After all, Caleb had been the baby of the family and now there were two new babies taking all of the time of attention of his parents and grandparents. 

We tried putting Caleb in speech therapy through an early intervention program to see if that would help. After a year of speech therapy and very little progress we decided to have him evaluated again by our pediatrician.   After her evaluation she sat Dwight and I down and broke the news that from everything we had told her about Caleb’s behavior and his regression in speech and communication, it was very likely that Caleb had Autism.  She referred us to Riley Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis where they had a special center for diagnosing and treating children with Autism.  As I looked over at our sweet, blonde-haired, blue eyed little boy, who was quietly spinning around in circles in the corner of the room I couldn’t help but ask the question, “Why would God let something like this happen?”

Of course my first reaction to Caleb’s diagnosis was denial.  There is no way my child has Autism.  He’ll grow out of this ‘destructive phase’.  He’ll go back to being the happy, cheerful and social little boy he was.   He’ll start talking again and everything will be back to normal.  I started reading and researching everything I could on Autism. I read books and looked up experiences of other parents on the Internet. Google became my new best friend and I spent endless hours (mostly in the middle of the night since my days were filled with raising four children) and tried to find a miracle cure to bring back my little boy.

I would also pray every day that God would heal Caleb. I prayed that he would have the miraculous reactions to some of the treatments we tried as I had read that other children had.  There were many parents that claimed they gave their child B-12 shots, vitamin supplements or put them on a gluten-free diet and the child just woke up one morning and was talking and all the behavioral problems were gone.  They claimed that their children had been cured from Autism and that is what I wanted. So I chased every rainbow, trying treatment after treatment and praying to God, begging him to make Caleb “normal” again. 

As the months passed I went through many emotions. I was mad at God, mad at myself, mad at these people who gave me false hope in the treatments that they claimed would cure my son.  I felt overwhelming guilt. Was it something I did when I was pregnant that caused this?  Is it because I am a bad mom? What am I doing wrong? Why are other Autistic kids being “healed” but not Caleb?  I would read stories of other parents that told of how they had recovered their children from Autism and I had done all the things they had.   It just depressed me to read these stories and I kept asking God, “Why won’t you heal my son?”

I wanted the BIG miracle but as I continued praying and listening to God I began to realize that maybe God’s plan was not the same as mine.  I started to notice little glimpses of hope that God was working in Caleb’s life in small, yet amazing ways.  Some of the things we noticed would really not seem that amazing to most parents, but to us they were nothing short of a miracle. Little glimpses into Caleb’s world that let us know that God was there and he did hear our prayers.  Every time my fear and discouragement started to overwhelm my faith God would send one of these small miracles to remind me that he had a plan.

One night when Caleb was taking a bath and playing with his foam letters I noticed him lining up letters like he was trying to spell something. I saw he had a “C”, an “E” and an “A” and thought maybe he was trying to spell his name. I was so excited because I knew they had been working on writing their names at the special needs preschool he was attending.  I continued to watch as he lined the letters up trying to figure out what he was spelling.  “ICE AGF” was what he had spelled out.  I didn’t recognize it at first, but when I did my excitement level climbed leaps and bounds above where it had been when I thought he was spelling his name.  He had spelled out the title of his favorite movie “ICE AGE” and since there was only one “E” in the foam letter set he had used the “F” for the second “E”.  Not only did this mean he knew how to spell the title of the movie, but he also had great problem solving skills for a 4 year old!  This small miracle led to other miracles in communication as he went onto spell other words he learned from his movies and DVD’s. He started with words like “Lighting”, “Effects” and “Production” and then moved on to spell longer words and longer phrases.  Next, he began spelling words he could use to communicate his wants and needs like “drink”, “cracker” and “play”.  We still have magnetic letters on our fridge so he can use those to communicate if we can’t understand what he is trying to tell us. 

Several months later we were potty training Emma and Ethan and were blessed with another small miracle.  Caleb came into the family room where the twins were playing and he pulled out the waistband of Ethan’s pants and looked down his pants to see his underwear. He then pulled out his own waistband and saw his diaper.  He immediately took off his pants and his diaper and pointed to Ethan’s underwear.  I said to Caleb, “Do you want to wear big boy underwear like Ethan?”  Caleb didn’t reply in words, but he got very excited and started jumping up and down and squealing with delight.  “OK, I told him, but that means you have to go potty in the toilet like a big boy.”  I gave him a pair of underwear and within less than a week he was potty trained.  This was a big surprise because I had been trying to potty train Caleb for over a year and he had shown no interest at all.  I had read that potty training children with Autism is very challenging and sometimes next to impossible.  I was so thankful for the miracle that Caleb was able to cross this milestone with such ease. I was also amazed that it was possible because of the miracle that Caleb had noticed Emma and Ethan were potty trained.  Caleb had become withdrawn and would retreat into his own little world where he didn’t really pay attention or care about what others around him were doing.  This was the first small miracle of many where God showed us that Caleb was starting to notice the world around him and that he wanted to be a part of it.

Caleb has overcome so many obstacles and made wonderful progress over the past few years.   He is mainstreamed into a Third Grade class with an aide and is learning academic and social skills from the other children in the classroom. He has a wonderful teacher, aide and support system at school and also an excellent team of therapists that he works with two days a week to help him with speech and sensory issues.  I am so glad that we did not lose faith just because God did not give us the big miracle that we were praying for.   When we have faith in God’s plan and we let him take control, wonderful things happen.

(This is part of a blog hop for Women of Faith.  Click here to view other Women of Faith Talk Back entires)