Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Update

I apologize for being so slack and not keeping this blog updated more. We went through a spell where Keeg, Pook's older brother was battling his health condition again that kept me busy. Then we had a family crisis and after that, I ended up in the hospital for a week and am only just getting back to my self!

We've had quite a few things happen in the last several months. First, I'll start with the chiropractor visit. We discovered that the top vertebrea in Pook's neck is slanted at a sharp degree upwards. This could, in fact, be blocking signals from flowing from his brain to the rest of his body like they should! This is big news for us.

You see, Pook's head has always been super super sensitive to touch/pain. However, from the neck down, he feels no pain at all. He's cracked his elbow when ice skating, and never once said it hurt! He sliced through the tendon in his pinkie finger, and never complained of pain! His neurologist has long said that he felt there was something blocking the signals that are supposed to flow freely between his body and brain.

So, can chiropractic help? We're hopeful that it can. So far, we have noticed changes in Pook, but have no way of knowing what is due to chiropractic and what isn't!

Now, let's talk about phonics. Pook still doesn't comprehend that each letter makes a distinct sound, or that putting those sounds together forms words. However, he is recognizing sight words on his own. He knows and can spell many words now, some of which are off, on, out, and exit. He picks the words on his own and once he says he knows it, he's retaining the information!! As you may recall, Pook typically gains new information but then looses it. Hopefully that's not going to happen anymore!

Also, Pook's memory has always been above and beyond, but now he can articulate the things he remembers even better. He has told us about events that happened when he was as young as 6 months old! He remembers details so vividly that there is no mistake that these are his memories and not something he just overheard. It's pretty spectacular (isn't God amazing!).

Pook also is starting to understand different emotions and the part they play in his actions. This is a huge leap for him and it's making things so much easier! He's started to express guilt when he does something wrong, and genuinely feels remorse for his actions that hurt others. There is still a significant delay in the amount of time between the actual action and his emotions catching up to it, but we're getting there and that is a start.

At this moment, it really seems that his Auditory Processing Delay is causing most of his frustrations. He acts on impulse, and then will cry for long periods of time upset about his action. He tells me, "I not want to do that, my body made me" or say that his "brain made me". My heart breaks for him when this happens. He's starting to realize that his actions have a bearing on others, and to feel that he can't control these actions is very upsetting to him.

He's only just now started addressing the issues he has resulting from the recent division in our family. He doesn't speak about his emotions, except to say that he misses Daddy. The rest of the emotions he discusses he puts on the other person. For example, if he was mad at me, he'd say "Mommy has a mad face". It can get confusing at times, but we're figuring it out!

Overall, Pook is making progress each and every day and I am thrilled! He's come a long way. One of his medial specialist told me recently that he'd have never come this far if I hadn't started his therapies so young. I encourage each parent to challenge any specialist or insurance company that wants you to wait until your child is older for therapy. Early intervention makes such a big difference. Fight for your child, cause at the end of the day, you're the only one that will.


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Death? .... Literally!

Death is never easy to explain to a child. However, for children with autism, it can be even more difficulty. Children with autism have a hard time understanding abstract concepts. Then, there is the fact that they take spoken words very literal. Then of course, with the processing delays that some children with autism have, it may be days, weeks or months before you find out exactly how what you said was translated to your child. I found out last night, several weeks after we had discussed death!

"I love you Brandy!"  Pook expressed to his best friends mother. She and I both melted and smiled. As she came towards him to hug him, he declared, "I'm gonna cut your head off and put you in my heart forever!"

She froze. I froze. She looked at me and asked, "What did he just say?"

"I'm gonna cut your head off and put you in my heart forever!" he said again, making sure we understood him.

Frantically, I searched through my own memories. When had we talked about dying? When had we talked about heads being cut off? When had we talked about people being in your heart forever?

Then, it hit me. I had told Pook several weeks ago during our talk about death, that when someone you love dies, they stay in your heart forever.

With Halloween around the corner, Pook has noticed the gruesome yard displays and asked questions about them. Hence, the chopping off of head conversation and how it would resort in death. (I'll stay off my soap box about gruesome Halloween displays for the moment)

So, in Pook's mind, if he wanted someone he loved to be with him forever, they had to die. Then they'd be in his heart forever.

I have no doubt that my loving sweet child had no intentions whatsoever of harming anyone. He was just trying to tell her that he loved her so much that he wanted her in his heart forever. But then, I doubt we'll be seeing that sentiment expressed in his words on any Valentine cards!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Central Auditory Processing Disorder

Pook was evaluated for Central Auditory Processing Disorder a few weeks ago. Today, the results of the evaluation was mailed to me.

First, let's answer the question, what is Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD). Part of CAPD is Auditory Decoding Deficit. A child with this part of CAPD has difficulty analyzing the difference between speech sounds. This child will have trouble with task that require him/her to discriminate and analyze sounds. A cihld may "mis-hear" words, such as mouth for mouse.

Another part of CAPD is Auditory Integration Deficit. This means that their is poor communication between the left and right sides of the brain, and/or between various sensory centers in the brain. For example, if a child is given a pattern of series of tones (example: high-high-low), both sides of the brain must work together in order for the child to distinguish this. The right side of the brain gives the child the pattern and the melody while the left side of the brain adds the words "high" or "low". If a child can't name the pattern, but can reproduce the melody, it tells us that he or she has good melody skills, but poor communication between the two parts of the brain. We've seen this with Pookie often. He loves music and will often sing a song he has heard afterward. Although he has the melody perfect, the words never match up to what he has heard, even if he's heard it often.

Another example is a child that has difficulty using rhythm and meter cues. For example, he/she can rhyme words, but has difficulty with pauses, beats, and rhythm of a song or nursery rhyme.

So, now that we know a small bit of info about CAPD, let's see how Pookie did. Due to his age, his test were limited. He'll go back in  2 years to get more testing. In the meantime, here is what we do know.

Pook was given three test, all in a sound booth with earphones on. The first test was where two different sentences were given to him at the same time. One sentence in one ear, while a different sentence was in another ear. On this test, he showed a definate strength in one ear over the other, but scored within normal limits. Honestly, I was surprised as I figure this would be difficult for me to do!

The next test is where words are spoken at a slightly louder volume then the background babble. Pook had to tell what the word was that was spoken to him while he heard background babbling. Pook scored in the .1 percentile. Note, there is a (.) in front of that 1. So, 99.9 percent of children scored higher then him on this test.

The last test performed is where pook had to repeat sentences that had been altered by compressing the time between sounds. Again, he scored in the .1 percentile.

Pook has  difficulty understanding speech in the presence of background noise. He has auditory processing deficits in both Phonemic Decoding and Integration. He needs speech therapy that emphasizes phonemic detection, discrimination, synthesis and analysis. He will benefit from repetition, repeating but nto rephrasing verbal communication. he'll benefit from reducing auditory overload by giving him "listening" breaks (periods of time where there is no auditory stimulation and it's quiet). Pook can not be given auditory and visual directions at the same time, but will benefit from either individually. Activities that use both parts of his brain, such as chess, gymnastics or dance would be good for him. He is to be given extra time for tasks and responses and should have OT for sensory integration.

Recognizing these issues, and being given specific ways to help him should improve his (and the family's) quality of life. There is a new level of patience that I, and those who interact with him, is going to have to reach. A level of patience that I truly believe will only come through God Himself as not a day goes by that I don't feel my patience whittled away.

I must admit, the fact that his percentile scores were  .1 has been quite overwhelming. It tells me that Pook needs alot of assistance. It tells me that once again, I'll have to sink into research to find the best way to help him reach his full potential. It tells me that I must rely on others for their support and understanding.


On a different note, I can't help but wonder........ how is it, that with all these problems, he can still overhear a "bad" word, process it just fine, and then repeat it at the most inopportune moments? ;-)



Thursday, July 28, 2011

Holy............

"Holy Crap!!!"    


"Pookie! What did you just say?"  I asked. 


"I say 'holy crap'", he replied. 


I explained to Pookie that we don't say that. 




Several days later......................


"Holy Cow!" 


"Pookie, didn't I tell you not to say that?" I asked. 


"No, you say not to say 'holy crap'. I not say 'holy crap'. I say 'holy cccccoooowwww'". He enunciation the cow very slowly so that I'd understand the difference. 


"Well, you can't say that either. You can't say holy anything. You can call God holy and that's it." 


"What can I say? Holy what?" he asked, seemingly confused. 


"Holy NOTHING!" I told him. He nodded, smiled, hugged me and said, "OK Mama."




Several days later..........................


"Holy Nothing!"


I give up. 

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Red Red Red

Pook has never really been fond of red. He won't eat a red sucker, won't wear red unless it's camouflaged as something else (like spiderman), and won't eat red foods except for strawberries. He hates blood because it's red.  Yet, today, he reached a new level of aversion to red. 


Yesterday Pook was swinging on a rope. The rope scraped the top layers of skin off of both his middle fingers. Nothing serious in the scheme of childhood injuries and even less serious compared to the injuries he's had. Today though, the layers of hanging skin dried out and necessitated being cut off. This revealed the new and somewhat still raw flesh underneath. This flesh was..................you got it...........RED. 


Hence began the several hour long battle. Pook insisted that we take him to the doctor to have his two fingers cut off. Yep, you read right. CUT OFF. He kept screaming that he didn't want the red touching him. He had to have the red off. He begin biting his fingers, clawing his legs, and slamming into the sliding glass door. I held him providing deep sensory input as long as I could, but after a lengthy period of his not calming down, we decided to strap him in his car seat and go for a ride. (while in car seat injury to self is minimal and easier to prevent) We took him to a playground and got him a slushy which helped distract him temporarily. However, in the bathtub at home later in the evening, he saw his fingers again and melted. We spent the next hour holding him with his begging us to take him to the doctor to have his fingers cut off. 


Pook finally fell asleep in a state of pure exhaustion from his thrashing and screaming. I DREAD tomorrow morning. 

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Shoes

Every mother that has a child with sensory issued understands the dilema with shoes. Shoes "feel weird", "hurt", and overall just don't want to be worn. We've learned to get very creative. One summer, Pookie wore golashes all summer long. They literally fell apart! One winter, he wore slippers. As an infant he wore moccasins. 


Two weeks ago, a friend gave us some hand me down clothes. Pookie never wears "new" clothes because they are to rough for him. I'd have to wash them every day for two weeks to get them soft enough that he'd consider wearing them, and even then it's usually no. So, we live on second hand and hand me down clothing for him. With the clothes came a pair of new balance tennis shoes, barely worn, with shoelaces. Shoelaces have always been avoided due to his obsession with ropes and strings (we all still hide our shoes with laces). Pookie however loved that his "best friend" gave him these shoes and wants to wear them all the time. He insists that they make him "special" and they are "good cause N on the side". 


HOWEVER, Pookie can not stand that the shoelaces never tie perfectly. 


Step 1: Stretch out the laces and make sure the tips line up with each other. If not, relace the shoes until they do. 
Step 2: When making the loops, they must be of equal size with each other. This can not be close, or almost, but PERFECT. You must try over and over and over again to make it just right. We often don't make it past this point and end up in full melt down mode. 
Step 3: After getting the two loops on the shoe to match, you must then get the left over laces to be the same length. This is extremely difficult since if you pull one lace, it shortens the loop. This means the loops are no longer equal and we proceed to either Step 1 or 2 depending. 
Step 4: Once the two loops and laces match on left shoe, repeat steps for right shoe. 
Step 5: Now it's time to make sure left shoe and right shoe have loops and laces the same size. 




EVERY time he wears these shoes, he has a complete meltdown and we run late. I've tried hiding them, but he insists he has to have his "N shoes". Today, after he calmed a bit from his meltdown I said, "I have an idea. Let's go to the store today and buy you some shoes like that without shoelaces".  Translation: We'll pick up some athletic shoes that don't have laces. What Pookie translated it as: We'll go buy a pair of shoes that looks EXACTLY like these but that do not have shoelaces. 


So, if any of you happen to see a pair of New Balance sneakers, gray black and orange, with no laces......how bout letting me know. 

Friday, July 22, 2011

OVERWHELMED in Holland


Today's blog is so intricately woven with multiple aspects of my life, that I'm going to post it on both Paths From My Soul and Paths From Pooks Soul. I'm pretty sure this blog rivals all my other to be the longest post yet.






I honestly don't know where to start. There is only one word to describe how I've been feeling lately...........

OVERWHELMED

I know that God is going to carry my family through this time as He has all others. My faith is not doubting. I just know that the journey through is hard and difficult. 

It's hard to believe all that has happened in 2011. I decided to come off all my prescription medications and now only take Ibuprofen and use Lidoderm Patches. I take tons of vitamins and supplements. I feel that I have a much higher quality of life, though the pain can be enough for me to consider ways to render me unconscious at times. I refuse to take immune suppressants, steroids, narcotics, muscle relaxers, or any of the other junk most docs try to pump me full of. Stopping all meds has been an emotional time for me. I still have so many days where I feel like I'm going through withdrawl. I never thought the negative effects would last this long. 

I've also started to have a significant worsening of my short term memory. I ask hubby each night to tell me what we did the day before, in an effort to jog my memory and keep the information where I can recall it. It does seem to help a bit, but the majority of my days are lost from memory. I write down everything I do in a calendar, in the hopes that I can recall it. Due to the memory lapses, I find that I often offend people I don't intend to. I have always been a person of my word, yet here lately it seems I find myself not following through on things I've said I would do. Not because I don't care and don't want to..........but because I don't remember. My memory loss has terrified me so much, that as soon as a thought pops into my head, I say it for fear of forgetting it. This comes across as so terribly rude and I don't know which is worse.......interrupting to get the thought out before it's loss forever into the abyss or taking notes every time I speak to someone (I do this with EVERY phone call, therapist and doctor visit, etc). Those closest to me have noticed the differences that have come over me in the last several months, but I think they are at as much of a loss as me. 

My physical body is going through an upheaval. If this hadn't happened so many other times through the years, I'd think it was due to my stopping the prescriptions, but I know better. The pain has started to settle deep within my joints. My Reynaud's is attacking me even though it's hot weather instead of cold. The shooting stabbing pains in my head are coming with more frequency even as my vision issues have resolved themselves. The strength in my hands are almost completely gone and though I'm mentally clear enough to drive most of the time (I do still have days where I end up completely lost on a road I've traveled thousands of times in my life), the pain that results from driving is agonizing. I'm hoping a vehicle in better shape will not be as hard to handle (the frame on the truck is warped and it always pulls to one side while driving, plus transmission issues require changing the usual automatic gears by hand). 

The housework is piling up and I can't stand looking at it. Keara is a champ at helping me around here, but I think she's completely overwhelmed and I regret that she seemingly has no childhood. Between her caring for her younger brother, caring for me, and helping me carry the burden of chores....there isn't much time left for her. Time for her to spend with me alone....that doesn't even happen anymore. 

Yet, honestly.....the most stressful thing in my life right now isn't even my health or my ability to do all that needs to be done. You see, I went on and on above because I hesitate to really reach into the depths of my being and write the part that is tearing away at me piece by piece. 

Most of my readers know that our 5 year old is Autistic. It's high functioning which is a blessing in that he can reach a much higher potential then many children with Autism. It sometimes makes it harder when dealing with other people because the vast majority of people assume that if you look "normal" then you should act "normal". I've witnessed this first hand myself. When I had to use my electric wheelchair, people treated me different. It drove me crazy at the time because there was so much I wanted to do for myself that others wouldn't let me. Other people's expectations for me altered because they saw me in a wheelchair. They had more compassion and were even willing to volunteer things like bringing us meals, helping clean the house, and babysitting in our home so I could get a break. Once I was able to walk around again, even though I still battled the exact same health issues and was still severely limited in my abilities, the expectations of  others jumped right back up to the point prior to my ever getting sick. This is where Pookie is. People look at him and see a bright, active child. Therefore, they expect him to behave like a typical child. They don't know that the evaluations that we've recently gotten back say that he has "mild to moderate autism", "impaired vocabulary", visuospatial issues, processing delays, severe sensory integration issues and more! Worse yet, many don't seem to care even if they do know!! They don't look at Pookie and see how far he has come. They don't see how much he really does care of how after he hurts someone, he comes and tells me he wishes that he never hurt anyone. They don't know that he cries beside me saying he wishes he were dead because his body does things he doesn't want it to do (this is due to processing delays...he acts impulsively because his brain processes the information to slowly and only afterward does his brain process the alternate ways he should have dealt with a situation). 

Don't get me wrong...........we have some really great, exceptional friends in our lives who are very supportive and understanding. They've made all the difference. 

Yet now (finally, the meat of this post), I don't think any of us know what to do with the latest diagnosis. Not of Pookie, but of my eldest son. You see, Keeg has, up until recently, been the perfect and most exceptional child. I know you think I'm biased (and I am) but there was just so much about him that was unique. At 2 1/2 years old, he taught himself to read!! I was teaching him letters and sounds and he already was reading Doctor Seuss books. By the time he was in Kindergarten, he had already tackled his first Isaac Asimov novel (not an easy read for many adults even). He was super bright when it came to intellect and I watched him carry on conversations with his medical specialist that blew everyone in the room away. I can not tell you how many times someone told me that he was the smartest child they'd ever seen. I was PROUD. It seemed like no matter all the wrong I'd done, I'd been blessed with a child that was an enigma. Keeg always battled some pretty severe health issues, but his behavior was always above and beyond. He was the child you look at in the store and stop the mother just to say, "You have the best behaved child I've ever seen". He was the child you told once and once only. He was the child who always seemed to know who was upset and would ask what was wrong. He was the child who always did his schoolwork, always kept his room clean, and always ate his vegetables. 

A year ago I started having issues with him. He was always reading. He'd read the tags in laundry, he'd read the labels on the cans in the pantry, he read and read and read. He could no longer complete tasks or chores because he stopped to read everything. I even caught him a few times reading the garbage in the kitchen can. He'd walk by and it would catch his attention so he'd stand over the can, peering in and reading. I would have to tell him over and over and over again to do something before he would complete it. He would tell me he didn't hear me, or didn't remember. I would ask him to complete a chore and hours later would be appalled that it wasn't done, even after he told me he completed it. He'd walk into the room, look around and dumbfounded ask me, "what else needs to be done?"  I was at my wits end. How could the once perfect child suddenly be this rebellious, disobedient teenager?? I talked to friends with teens and they assured me that this was just part of growing  up and eventually (albeit a long eventually) he'd outgrow his rebellious streak. How did I not see what was really happening? 

About 4 months ago, Keeg and I were home alone. I told him that I was going to give him a chore and I was going to observe his completing it. Each time he stopped to read, I would redirect him. He was to try his best not to read, and if he read something and I didn't notice, he needed to tell me. About  3 minutes into this, he was crumpled on the floor, tears streaming down his face, his hands pulling at his hair, and saying, "I can't do this! I have to read! I have to! I have to!" I sat, completely blown away. The agony in his cries froze me. Something was wrong....terribly wrong....and I didn't know what it was. 

I talked to several professionals I've become friends with through the years and heard lots of different ideas. I decided that the first step was to get him in with a professional therapist. Someone that would address the needs of our family and help Keeg deal with the stress he was going through. I got a referral from a friend and set up our first appointment. The doctor had me feel out a bunch of assessment forms online for Keeg so that he could review them before our appointment. When my husband and I went to meet the doctor, he handed me a scholarly article to read about Asperger's. Confused I looked at my husband. Why would he give me this when I'd already told him our youngest was diagnosed with High Functioning Autism and not Asperger's? The doctor let me know that the information wasn't for Pookie...........it was for Keegan. 

The foundation of my world shook. Reality started to spin and meld. I sat in the midst of the chaos, frozen in a warp that wracked my awareness of all. This isn't what I was supposed to hear. I was supposed to be told that he was ADD with maybe some OCD. That's what I was prepared for. Asperger's??? NO NO NO....my youngest son is on the Autism spectrum....not my oldest! I pushed myself to read the article he had handed me, floored to find out that it addressed how it's actually COMMON for children with Asperger's to not be diagnosed until they are in their teens. I managed to make it through the appointment, and back out to the truck. My first words to my husband after we pulled away was, "How could I have missed this?"

I grew up with family members and friends that had special needs. I went to college for Early Childhood Education with a special interest in Special Needs. I've volunteered, helped out and fund raised for various organizations that help with Special Needs. I've spent the last 5plus years studying Autism Spectrum diagnosis, Asperger's included. And then the lighbulb went off............how many times did I pull Keegan over to me while researching and say, "Hey, this sounds like you!"  

Looking back..........I missed so much. The way that Keegan never really cared much for affection. Yes, he'd let me hold him, hug him, and give him kisses as a child. But deep down I always felt that he was only tolerating it for my benefit. The way that his room always stayed so clean because he didn't really own much of anything. He would always ask me to give his toys to children that didn't have any. Proud as can be, we'd do so. It's only in hindsight I see that it was because he didn't care for the typical toys children played with. His room has always been minimal in decoration and toys. For as long as I can remember he's only wanted an alarm clock with radio, a lamp, his hotwheels and a chess set. Looking back, I can see how unusual this is for a 5 year old.....but at the time I just saw it as a sign to his immense intellect. Keegan has always been particular about his clothing. He has always preferred khaki pants and shorts after he went to a charter school that required school uniforms. He likes long socks with the tops pulled straight up his legs. Keegan never really had any sense of style, but being a single mom that didn't really have any other Dads to chat with, I just thought it was a guy thing. There were always gross motor skill delays and clumsiness...........he had really big feet and I chalked it up to that. I never noticed that Keeg didn't recognize personal space until he was older. When a small child sits down immediately next to someone, it's cute. It's not a red flag that he doesn't realize that people have personal space. Keeg has never known a stranger.....NEVER. It's not uncommon for his interactions with someone to start off with 20 questions. I just thought he was curious and trying to feed his intellect. When my husband and I married two years ago....Keeg had pretty much spent his life caring for me and his little sister (due to my own health issues). He'd been the man of the house. My new husband, his now step-dad, sat him down before our marriage and told Keeg that he was proud of him for all that he'd taken on through the years. He was proud of him for the way he took care of me and his sister. Now, he could just relax and be a kid! He could play and have fun. Once Keeg accepted this, play he did. My husband asked me then if I noticed Keeg's play. Did I notice that he played like a young child? Did I think there was something wrong? Did I notice that Keeg had gone from one end of the extreme (never playing) to the other end of the extreme (continuously playing)? Did I think it unusual that Keeg's imaginary play was immature yet intensely intelligent at the same time? Nope.........I didn't think there was a problem. He'd spent years taking care of me and his sister and now was just letting out all those years of pent up play. Besides, he was altering his play to match that of Pookie to help keep Pookie entertained. He just continued the same games when Pookie was otherwise entertained, right? 

I could go on and on. You see, I've had 3 weeks and 2 days since the first doc told me he thought Keeg had Asperger's. Since then we've met with a pediatric neurologist who has all but confirmed the original therapist ideal. He's scheduled the appointments necessary to get the "official" diagnosis. Keeg was admitted into the hospital for unrelated tests, and numerous nurses and therapist he came in contact with assumed he'd been diagnosed with Asperger's long ago. (My mind screamed REALLY? REALLY? REALLY? the entire time). A child life specialist told me that her brother has CP and mild mental retardation and that Keeg reminds her so much of him. She said their mannerisms are identical. She said this with the sweetest affection for Keeg and her brother that I was deeply moved, yet inside I could feel the vibrations resonating through my body as my brain screamed "WHAT? MY SON? HOW DID I MISS THIS?"

Thursday, Pookie went for another evaluation with a speech therapist. I had to meet with the OT there so when Pook didn't want to go back with the therapist alone, I sent Keeg with him. When it was time for me to meet with the therapist, she wanted to make sure I'd realized that Keeg had special needs as well. Again, my mind screamed "DID EVERYONE SEE THIS BUT ME?"

There are always times in a parents life that you feel like a failure. That there were things you missed, things you should have done differently, things you should not have done at all. Yet, I can honestly say that nowhere in my 14 years of parenting have I felt so totally off the mark. My son has lived with me for 14 years....his entire life....and despite all my knowledge and training, I missed that he has Asperger's. I don't care that it is COMMON for children to miss diagnosis till teen years...........THIS IS MY SON. My firstborn. It makes a difference somehow. 

Each day I make so many mistakes. I am trying so hard to change my perspective, to see Keeg as who he is and not what I always dreamed he would be. I'm trying so hard to realize that I'm in Holland and that Holland has so many things to offer (click on the blue word Holland if you don't know what I mean). I have to stop myself and apologize a thousand times each day because I realize I reacted to him without realizing his actions weren't intentional, that he didn't understand, and that he was doing exactly what I said just as literal as I said it. 

I try not to think about his future right now. Don't get me wrong.......I'm doing everything I need to so that he gets the best of everything and reaches his full potential. I know that he can still be and do anything he wants to and that Asperger's is not a limit on this. Yet, since before he was born I'd dreamed of his future. When he was 2 he told me he wanted to be a doctor and didnt' sway from this except for when, at age 4, he decided to be a missionary. He talked of working at NASA so that he would have the means to reach the goal of missionary doctor. Those dreams haven't changed...........but the paths to get there are forever altered. It's not a bad thing......... but change is always hard for us adults. Selfish as it is, my life was always so chaotic there were only a few constants I felt I could depend on and those were God and my children. That hasn't changed.....but for me to be the mother Keeg needs, I have to change my entire perspective and outlook. I have to let go of my dreams to visit Paris and find the beauty of Holland. Ironically enough, when I read "Welcome To Holland" the first time I didn't really understand the full impact of it. I'd known since I was pregnant with Pookie that something "wasn't quite right" and the moment he was born it was obvious he had some type of special needs. I read "Welcome to Holland" shortly after Keeg's initial diagnosis and suddenly it all made sense. 

I know that through all these things God will make sure our needs are met and dreams fulfilled. This is going to be a beautiful and joy filled journey. Yet, we all must mourn the things in life we have lost..............even when the door God has opened for us is so much more beautiful, amazing and breathtaking.