Category Archives: Mental Health

A Mother’s Emotional Challenges Dealing With Her Autistic Son

Alesia and Luke in TAHOEHaving an adult son with autism has hard and complicating challenges.  My first time hearing Luke’s diagnosis in 1994 made me numb.  It did not seem real.

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Grow Up Problem

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Ode to Diary Input on Valentine’s Day, 1999

Recently I read from an old journal of mine.  My diary depicted a smart gal with more positivity a person could muster.  There was no facebook, twitter, youtube, amazon or even google. There was just a lonely gal writing.

Problems are mixed up.  Some are easy to deal with.  Others are not.  The heavier the conflict, the more noticeable my frailties would come to light.

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The Honesty Factor

My bracelet from my autistic son changes colors when light hits it. Otherwise it's plain. There will never be just one way to explain any given topic. If that were so, we would all be robots.  The honesty factor can be in different colors, yet with the same truth. 

Last week all hell broke loose with an issue dear to my heart. I am unable to discuss it fully on my blog. You know it is big when I can not even come up with the words. 

How many times have you had a metaphor utilized by someone to translate what they are trying to communicate?  Ministers love them in their sermons to help us achieve to that “higher” level.  Even physicians pitch them to translate science. 

How many of us have heard evidence based lingo?  We all value the meaning behind what facts are known on any given subject. The question is do we need those  facts thrown at us without some thought? 

Transfer of information always brings to mind a childhood game of whispering in one friend’s ear and then another, etc until all have heard.  What comes out at the end is always a good laugh. 

What if the transfer of understanding  goes amok? Communication 101 in college  after all is more important than even I thought.  

I am always full of questions . I wonder. I think.  I wait .  I need some answers. Maybe you do too. I hear ya.  Is a miracle around the corner? I hope. 

Easy Out

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No easy out- we must stop or we will crash!

 

We need to learn to let go.  We hold onto things way too long that needs to be released.  I decided recently I need to start judging.  Yep.  You heard right. Judge.

After carefully thinking through this, I am judging it all.  How you taste inside me?  What drew me to you?   Where this will take me?  It is true good or bad and now I am OK with judging.  Watch out.  I may prematurely put you to the test.

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Sofie

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Sofie just came hunting in my backyard.  I see her, but she does not see me.  I watch.  I enjoy.  Sofie went MIA after neighbors shot off obnoxiously loud fireworks July 4th.  It is no surprise She went into hiding.  She showed up a few weeks later in the postman’s arms to the delight of my heartbroken neighbors!

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Finding Luke


It was 1999 and we lost track of our six year old autistic son Luke.  Prior to this, our church service had just ended.  Luke just began walking and our youngest son was two years old.

The church we attended at the time was meeting in an old building.  My husband got Luke from Sunday School and I went to get our baby.

At some point, Luke wandered off and we went on a wild goose chase looking for him. I was panicked to say the least.

Everyone was leaving the church , except for a few concerned parishioners. It was the craziest feeling not knowing where our son disappeared to.

The church had an old attic that was used for sound checks. It was accessed by a pull out ladder. At some point it was shut, but we kept running around yelling, “Luke! Where are you?”It just did not make sense. 

All of a sudden, I could hear a distant whimper. To say the least a mother knows her child’s sounds. I scurried to have someone open the drop down ladder and low and behold there was our sweet Luke sitting in the dark.

I had not thought of this event for quite some time until I was told recently of the little autistic boy who lost his life after wandering off from his family in PA. These stories are hard to fathom, and even more to swallow.  Yet, we have to.  We have to remember how vulnerable our cognitively challenged society can be especially our children.    Searching for someone missing is a feeling I would not wish on anyone.  Anytime a person vanishes-tragedy can be right around the corner.

I hope this story shows how easy life can change in a heartbeat. In this case, it was a quiet sound of a whimper from my precious son.  It was just enough to help this mom find her beautiful little boy stuck in a dark, damp attic.  My heart still pounds pondering this event.  

Luke was held by me for many years until he learned to walk.  

 

Ask What They Can Do. Not What They Can Not

This is Luke after walking 3 miles on a trail on the beach with his care provider.  Yes. Luke you can do it!!! You walked the whole way!

This is Luke after walking 3 miles on a trail on the beach with his care provider. Yes. Luke you can do it!!! You walked the whole way!

“Luke, are you there?”
Sitting down next to my son, I gathered the rocks he was moving from one pile to another. Luke has always loved putting things in order. If it was not the rocks in one place all together, he was busily in the home putting all the chairs around the dining room table in perfect order. Pushing as hard as he could at times, he was bound and determined those chairs had to be just right.
“Luke, are you there?”
Moving to the computer room, Luke noticed the closet doors were not shut completely. From the corner of my eye, I watched Luke push the door shut until it was closed to his satisfaction. He pushed his body on the door and felt it to make sure it was exactly how his mind thought it needed to be. He was happy then.
“Luke, are you there?”
Luke looked up this time and he started coming rather rapidly toward my direction. He pressed his face and especially his nose into my hair. He took a deep sniff and inhales my aromas. These sniffs were not one or two times, but rather several until I said, “Luke, I know you are there and you can stop smelling my hair now.” He did.
“Thank you Luke.”
Luke does not seem to remember, but I remind him every time when he pushes too hard on my face or head that he is hurting mama. It takes a lot of reminders. I mean A LOT!!
In bringing these examples of some of Luke’s unusual autistic behaviors, I fail to describe too much of the damage that some of these strange motor movements can do to inanimate objects until he starting hurting me. It is because I want to make it clear that I want to see Luke showing me something HE CAN DO. It may not look pretty. In fact, a chair or table may get scratched up, and a closet door may get broken over and over as Luke believes he can fix it. That does not matter to me. As his mom, I am interested in seeing Luke just do. It is not being afraid to let go and bring a CAN DO spirit in my son. Autism does a lot to our children afflicted with this devastating neurological calamity, but we CAN DO a lot to show how proud we are of them even in the midst of quite possibly not understanding for ourselves what the behavior really means for the autistic mind.
“Thank you Luke for fixing my door and putting the chairs so nicely under the table. Mama is so proud of you. I love what you can do Luke. You are my best guy ever! You gorgeous boy.”

“Mama, Luke is your best guy ever and gorgeous.”

Yes. You are Luke and you can do….luke and cap