Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Lord who Provides

Jehovah Jireh.

I'm a mom learning to walk down the path of the "developmentally delayed." Being new to this world and it's terminology, this will probably be the least politically correct post you've ever read. I'm a work in progress.

Wade has been in therapy for his delays since August, and he has grown leaps and bounds--jumped over BIG hurdles!  At the beginning of his journey my grandma suggested to me, "might he be autistic," simply because of his delay in speech. Oh my! I was dumbfounded at her assumption. Dumbfounded that she would suggest such a thing.  Just dumbfounded.  It's a conversation that sticks out so vividly in my mind.

Looking back I feel so foolish (SO foolish!) for not being more educated on the subject. Not knowing about the "early warning signs." Not knowing more about a condition that warrants so much awareness in our culture.

Like I mentioned in my previous post, Wade failed his M-CHAT. Meaning he was put in the "red flag" area for autism. His score left him in the "high risk" area. Since receiving this information the word autism is frequently thrown around in our therapy sessions. Suddenly, things started adding up. We see behaviors in Wade and can point our finger at the culprit.

I've been trying to arm myself with all the knowledge on the subject that I can (within reason!). Like most other things in this world, I've realized the internet is a very dangerous place for research. Nothing about this situation scared me from the outsiders perspective, but I'd be lying if I told you I hadn't shed buckets of tears over this (the good kind and bad kind).

Wade has brought joy unspeakable to our household, and anyone that has truly seen his bubbly personality would agree. Through trials that we have faced with him we have learned the absolute joy in the small things in life! Like how beautiful it is just to make and hold eye contact with our big, brown-eyed boy. How words like "mamamamama" elicit big tears, claps, and smiles.  How a sound like "baaaaaaa baaaaaaa" is the most beautiful sound in the world. How the wave of his hand leaves me in awe. Small things around here have become big miracles! God has done a big work in me since becoming Wade Logan's momma.

As much as I see the blessing I have been given, there have been sad tears too. Satan knows our weaknesses, and he knows just when to attack this worried, tired momma's heart. I know that I know that I know that I know that I know that Wade is the handiwork of God. He is perfect. (Psalm 139:13, Ephesians 2:10) However, that hasn't stopped the questions. Did I eat too much lunch meat when I was pregnant? Did I not take the right vitamins? Did I not talk to him enough as an infant? Did I not read him enough books? Were they the wrong books? Was it because I vaccinated him? Will Wade ever be able to live on his own? Will he get married? The questions just get more and more ridiculous, and I'm thankful I don't have to answer all of them. I have a God that covers that :)

I've also met plenty of "experts" on autism. "Wade can't be on the spectrum, he's too happy." "It's probably because you vaccinated him." "If he has autism at all, I bet he's super high functioning."

There are also those that haven't done their research that obviously feel like autism is a lack of intelligence. "I'm so sorry to hear about Wade." Try to tell this momma my baby boy isn't intelligent. I dare you.

Sooner Start referred Wade to a developmental pediatrician for formal testing and diagnosis; however there are only two in our area. Our appointment isn't until June. I expect no big revelations to be made---as it was explained to us, sometimes a "diagnosis" will help with insurance and such for future therapies. It might open some doors for Wade too.

There have been times during these months that I haven't even known what to pray for "My Tiny," as we call him around here. With autism there is no "if you do this, then this will happen" cure or quick fix. We can't look at Wade now, or even the progress he has made, to make an assumption on his development in the next year. Or five years. Or ten years. I suppose that's just the nature of the beast in this situation, though. I don't doubt that God has BIG plans for my bitty boy---I mean, have you seen his smile?!

This weekend, I heard my seven month old nephew say "mama" more times in 12 hours than I've heard Wade say in his entire life. I've joked with Alan that I want to put a sign around Wade's neck that reads "Please Don't Handle Me" to sport at big family functions. We don't go in public much because Wade is a "runner." I turn down playdates with friends because I know they will make Wade miserable, which will in turn make momma miserable. Sometimes he surprises me and handles certain situations extremely well. And sometimes he does not. There are situations that occur, like these mentioned above, that I just don't anticipate. And they tear at my heart strings.

Jehovah Jireh continues to bless our family, immeasurably more than all we could ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). Tears are streaming as I'm anticipating the words I'm about to type. Two weeks ago, one of Wade's therapist called and asked if we could schedule special meeting with her. As she explained she had a "great opportunity for Wade." Vague call, but ok, sure!

Wade was offered a spot in a program called Early Foundations.

"Early Foundations at Crosstown Learning Center in Tulsa is one of the replication sites of the Early Foundations: Autism Model and Outreach located in Oklahoma City. The model was designed to provide intensive intervention for very young children with autism spectrum disorders and their families. The project was started in the fall of 2007 and is a collaboration between the State Department of Education, Department of Health, Sooner Start, and the Section of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics at the University of Oklahoma. This unique project for toddlers with ASD addresses the importance of early intensive intervention as soon as a child is suspected of having an ASD and provides these services in a developmentally appropriate settling that includes access to typical peers and typical childhood activities. Because this model provides services for very young children, ensuring a successful transition to public school programs is critical to this model."

A child has to meet certain criteria, and there has to be a spot open in the two year program. Well, lo and behold, the stars have aligned (read: God showed up and showed off BIG TIME).....and Wade was (is) the perfect fit!  Tears. I've been a blubbery mess, not even able to talk to Alan about it without crying. We hadn't even heard of this program to know to fight for it for Wade, and here God just laid this big 'ol gift wrapped up in a big red bow right into our lap. I don't doubt God for ONE second, but since Friday I've found myself asking "why us?" These tremendous blessings for our little family.

What does this mean for Wade? Basically, Early Foundations occupies two classrooms at Crosstown Learning Center in Tulsa. Wade will go to "school" there five days per week, 9am-12pm. Early Foundations is at full capacity with SIX children. Six. That's it. Wade will receive one-on-one therapy and instruction three days per week (M,W, F). They follow the Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) style of therapy. You can read more about that here. Two days per week (T, Th) he will spend his three hours in a "typical" classroom with "neurotypical" peers. In addition to this strict structure of learning environment, Crosstown Learning Center brings in a gymnastics instructor each Thursday for a 30-minute session with each class. Also, Early Foundations offers (required) parent seminar enrichment, such as Autism 101 and Introduction to ABA Therapy. So overwhelming and incredible!

The goal of this program is to teach Wade necessary social, communicative, and adaptive skills to enter a "regular" or "typical" classroom by the time he reaches prekindergarten---rather than needing to be in a "self contained" classroom.

We are still in shock about this opportunity falling into our laps! It took us (mainly momma) several days to process all the feelings and emotions that come with such a big change, both good and bad. Realistically, everything about this situation is GOOD and AMAZING (and all the positive words!), but we feel very selfish too. Momma is sad that I'm sending my babiest baby to school five days per week (and yes, I realize it's only three hours!). Like I said, I'm a selfish mom! Mostly, though, we are SO SO SO sad that Wade won't be a part of the Park Plaza Preschool family anymore, that alone has made me cry more than anything else. Anyone that knows us, knows we have such a special, sacred place in our hearts for our "Ms. Judy." So I feel very blessed that Wade has gotten to spend the last 5 1/2 months with her. If she offered to teach my boys through high school, I'd pay her a salary in a heartbeat! The thought of only dropping one boy off at Park Plaza makes me cry, but the thought of spending some extra special time with Cale three days per week makes me happy. I know we spend a lot of time working with Wade and doting over his accomplishments, so I'm extra happy to be able to have some one-on-one time with Cale! I think he will be too!  Those are only a handful of emotions that I've had over the last five days, but we both agree this situation is a God thing! It can only be a God thing.

Wade will officially start full-time with Early Foundations after spring break. So, essentially, he will miss the last month of school at Park Plaza. In the meantime, Ms. Heather, the director of Early Foundations, will be spending some time at our house getting to know Wade. After he starts the program, Ms. Heather will also visit our home for one-hour each week to help us with enrichment activities. All of this seems to good to be true!

.......oh, and one last thing. Get this, all of these wonderful services, therapies, and enrichment for our precious baby boy are free. Zero dollars.

God is SO good. All the time. Jehovah Jireh. The Lord who Provides.