Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Gift of Autism...

Braden has lots of gifts from God, one of them is autism.

Just this past fall, we had him tested for autism and the tests proved what we have known since he was 8 months old. He is, indeed, a child with autism. And my response is “so what!” It changes nothing…we’ve been treating it like it was autism for almost his whole life with therapies and treatments.


Reading that psychologists’ report…well…it hurt. It boiled him down to numbers and analytic descriptors from a person who doesn‘t know Braden and his gifts/talents. And I don’t like what those numbers say about my son. I realize she has to write it from a deficit standpoint…and I know those deficits are there…it’s just there are 1 million times more positives than negatives. My “Momma Bear” hair stood up as I read…

He is SUCH a great kid…not what that report says he is…

And I have been thinking about and worrying about all of the parents that we handed reports to while I was a Principal. Oh how I hope we never hurt anyone like I hurt right now. These are just numbers, I was prepared for them, I understand them completely, and I know they do not tell who Braden Hofen is, but they suck. Plain and simple…they suck.

The autism does not suck. I think it’s been a gift for Braden…yes, really.

He has no idea he has cancer and that he could die from it. He has never once had to be scared or worried about death and anticipating the pain of treatments. That really is a gift! All he has to know is that we love him and God is taking care of him.

Braden has autism and I am not ashamed or embarrassed or apologetic…it is the gift he was given when God made him and we celebrate every gift!! EVERY single gift!! I have however, wondered if Braden would be able to understand “God” because things that are abstract are very difficult for him to grasp.

While I completely believe in God and His love; those are abstract concepts and I didn’t think Braden knew and understood God and that used to worry me.
Braden doesn't understand abstract concepts and I had never spoken to him about God. I prayed all the time, but I pray silently, not outloud and I wait until he is asleep because I'm prone to crying during prayer.

I worried needlessly!

A friend once gave me a cloth that had been blessed in a special place. I don’t really give much credence to those kinds of things but when he was 3 and going through treatment, I used to put it on his belly (where his tumor was located in his liver) and pray for remission when he was asleep for whole nights at a time. I figured it couldn’t’ hurt! :)
He had never seen it and it was always hidden during the day so he didn’t take it and play with it.
If it was special and magical, I didn't want him to rip it. :)

One day, he was beginning to feel warm which would mean a fever and ER trip…I put it on his head and was about to pray when he reached up, pulled it off his head, looked at it and said,
“Oh...hello God!”

With my mouth gaping open, I burst into tears.

Braden KNOWS God and God knows Braden. It doesn’t have to be in the way we typically think about “knowing” God.

God speaks autism!! ;)

And God is concrete in Braden's world!!

God surrounds us with his love and I know that He is surrounding Braden right now. No matter what these developmental tests showed and what happens with his future, He is with Braden and they are connected at a very deep level!

God will  ALWAYS be there with him.

God has given us 8 years with him...

We hope we will get 9!