(Family Magazine May 2011 2nd Issue)

Some people say when a family has an autistic child, the whole family will become “autistic” or very much withdrawn and detached from other people. You can probably imagine the struggles and the stress that a family faces when raising an autistic child. Yet the hard work and the tears can also bear fruit. This testimony of family with an autistic son shows how God turns their struggles into growth and blessings, to the family as well as to the people around them.

Father’s Perspective:

The label “autism” has been with my son since he was about 3 years old.  Professionals said that his IQ was about 20% lower than that of kids his same age. His learning skill is low and slow and all the special characteristics that an autistic child would exhibit, he has them all! All these pose enormous challenges to me and my wife.  I am an educator by training, I taught in the most expensive international school in town, I have a master degree in education and have many years of teaching experiences, but when I see my son’s autistic behavior, I was completely lost.

My son did not start to talk until around 7 years old.  He lived in his own world most of the time. He loved to line up all his toy cars. He didn’t talk, he didn’t sing, what can we do?  He didn’t know the word “danger” and would cross the road without any caution.  When he saw water he would jump right into it, whether it is an ocean or a river, what can we say?  He didn’t like to play with others and he didn’t care what’s going on in the outside world.  He didn’t know how to count and he only liked “M” fish burgers wrapped in blue paper.  His communication highway is severely congested, what can we do?  Progress on learning is like turtle if not snail, a simple everyday task like washing the face and brushing the teeth would take him a total of 29 steps to finish, sigh!!

I have seen elephants dance and paint, monkeys doing somersaults and tricks, whales and dolphins performing, parrots sing and talk, cats and dogs follow order; all these are results of training and I just can’t accept the fact that my son is not trainable or “educatable”. So finally I have decided to quit my teaching job, immigrate to America, and pose new challenges to myself. I will apply my educational ambition, give up the traditional way of teaching, try to look at things from different angles, even 3D, and use practical methods to change my son’s behavior, and pray that some day he will be alright, that he will become a useful person and not a burden to the society.

We find that being observant is a very important factor in bringing up children.  Amongst all the toys, my son only likes cars and nothing else. So, we use “car” to open up his mind and heart and teach him.  If we want to teach him alphabets and numbers, we teach him how to read license plates. If we want to teach him colors, shapes, size, we use different parts of cars.  If we want to teach him discipline, we use traffic rules.  We let him have hands-on experiences in everything so his senses can be stimulated.  Our family is united in handling our son with lots of love and patience, but at the same time we don’t give up our principles and yield to his unreasonable demands. We just need lots of wisdom and creativity in taking care of him.

One evening after we had dinner in a restaurant, my wife posed a test to my son. She asked him if she can throw away a toothpick outside of the car window since it was dark and we were on a highway, no one would see us. The answer he gave her was simple and straight forward: “But God is watching”. We were so comforted and joyful! After this incident, we know that his faith is strong and that he knows there is a God who is watching over every step of his life, and he knows to fear this God. What more can we ask for in life than to raise a child who is God fearing?

I believe God in heaven must be very pleased with my son. One time when we were out of town, he told us he went to meet his professor at 6 am to see if he can change his class schedule from 11am to 7am because he thinks he will become lazy if he doesn’t has class until 11am.  Even his professor said he is really one of a kind and he has not seen such a student in many years.

Have faith in Jesus, hold on to the Word of God, bring all your burdens of raising kids to God, tell Him your worries and troubles, He will guide you through and bless your family with joy and blessings from above.  I once raised my hand when the pastor asked during Sunday service, “Who is a 100% happy person?” I know it is rare to find someone who feels himself a perfect happy man in this world. Honestly I really feel I am one of the happiest men on earth. I am proud to have a son who is so useful and independent and can take care of himself. I am proud to have a daughter who is honest and responsible. And I am also proud of having a wife who is smart and capable.  Every time when my whole family gets together and enjoys a wonderful meal prepared by me and my son, I would give thanks to the Lord for the great things He has done in our family and I give all the glory to God.

Mother’s Perspective:

Having a daughter who knows how to recite poetry at 19 months old, I was faced with a son who couldn’t even utter a word at 3 years old.  I still can’t get over the shock when the bad news came that he was diagnosed as “autistic”.  Psychology was my minor in college, so I immediately dug through the books and figure out how “autism” was going to impact my life. Unfortunately, as of now, there is still no single authoritative “clinically confirmed” cause of autism.  So I had to do my own analysis of the cause of my son’s autism. Could it be the air pressure when I was on the plane pregnant with him? Or was it the agony and emotional instability of being apart from my husband for a few months? Was it the pregnancy induced diabetes, the C section, the Chinese herbal soup? Guilt overcame me and I was quite tortured for a while.  I remember studying Dr. Kubler-Ross’ research on death and dying that identified five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.  I am sure that I went through all those 5 stages, but luckily it was a very short process. I am a Christian and I quickly recovered from the grief knowing that there must be a reason why God allowed this to happen to me.  It didn’t take long for me to gather all my grief, put them aside, and then get ready to face all the challenges ahead of me.  I know that if I prolong acceptance of the situation, the one who suffers most would be my son. He would be deprived of the golden time to learn and acquire life skills.  I got this “self help” notion from my numerous plane riding experiences.  In an emergency situation, all passengers are asked to put on their own oxygen masks first before helping their children. We may think we are so great to take care of others first, but by the time we finish helping them, we are out of oxygen ourselves. Who then would be able to take care of those who we die for?  God’s words from the Bible have been my strength throughout this time, verses such as “Your strength will equal your days” (Deuteronomy 33:25), “I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13), “Rejoice in the Lord always…Do not anxious about anything…” (Philippians 4:4-6) kept my life going joyfully.

My son is a really lovely boy; he is kind, responsible, considerate, and a peacemaker. From him I understand why God wants us to enter His Kingdom like a child.  When he was small he didn’t know how to express himself. When he was very nervous, I would hold him tight to my heart in the hope that my peacefulness can be transferred to him. I felt very close to him and I felt his struggle as his heart would be beating very fast against mine. After a while he would be able to calm down as if he felt the security and love I passed on to him.

I also find touring around the world a big help to my son to learn things faster.  When we are on vacation he is more relaxed and is easier to absorb new things.  Basically he has limited imaginations and he needs to see, feel, touch and smell things for himself before he can recognize that those things do exist. When his horizon is widened he is more interested in the world around him.  I recently received an email depicting the 58 places a person must see before he dies; we have been to 38 of them already. I think my son gains more self-confidence by getting to know different cultures and all the stimulations associated with those touring experiences.

Everyday living with my son brings new surprises.  With all the changes in the environment as he grows, everyday is a new challenge and is also an endless struggle. The anxiety, disappointment and sense of failure are beyond words.  But with all the strength from the Lord, I know that I can do anything through His grace and blessings and I believe that my life is more abundant and fulfilling in having a special person like my son as part of my family.

Sister’s Perspective:

There are a lot of characteristics that accentuates my brother’s “uniqueness.”  Just to name a few are his bear-size body, checking himself out in the mirror, peeking at his phone constantly, and watching the same TV programs or movies over and over again.  Yes, these may sound abnormal, but there is always a gentle smile the goes along with it – something he likes to do especially when no one is around.  People who don’t know him may think that he is anti-sociable as he always likes to hide himself in the dark and be away from the crowd.  He has a special thinking process so intricate that others usually would not understand.  It takes time, trial and error, and experience to know what he really wants.  In order to explore deeper into his world, one must investigate what his interests are, then pay close attention to his peculiar acts and have close eye contacts with him.  The experiences that I’ve gathered all started when we were at a very young age.

As his sister, I’ve never considered him a burden to the family.  Even though I lose patience with him sometimes because he reacts too slowly and pays no attention to what I, I’m still thankful that his relationship with me is different from my friends and their siblings who argue and fight with each other often.  He is indeed a very precious gift to me, and I consider him my best friend.

There is one scene in my mind I will never forget. When I was seven years old, I did something to my brother that hurt my mom, and that was the first time that I saw my mom cry.  That day, I pushed him around because I was jealous of him getting too much attention from my parents and I felt neglected.  When my mom saw what was happening, not only did she not scold me, she even held on to me and started to tear up.  She held me close and said, “My dear daughter, you have to understand that your brother is a special boy.  You are his elder sister and you have to help mom and dad take care of him.  In the future when mom and dad do not have the ability to take care of him anymore, he will become a very poor person deprived of help and love.”  Then she added, “Mom also loves you very much but I’m just using a different way to show it.  Therefore, you have to understand and help us take care of him, ok?”  I didn’t realize that I have made my parents worry so much.  From that day on, I told myself that I will not add more burdens to them because they are already very weary and tired already over their daily duties.  I admit that there are times when I can’t live up to my own promise, but I gradually start to appreciate my brother more and to accept him as he is.  Sometimes he is actually a more sensible and mature person than me and I’ve learned a lot from him.  Not too long ago one day I told my mom with confidence that “If I have nothing to eat, I’ll make sure that he gets something to eat; and when I have something to eat, I will make sure that he gets the best choice.”  Mom said she felt very relieved and proud of having a daughter like me. She can be assured that my brother and I will love and look after each other with God’s blessing and grace.

Now that we’re both grown up, my brother is the main helper of the house and when my parents are not home, he is the one who takes care of me and makes sure my stomach is full. He does a lot of household chores such as the laundry, washes the car and fills me in with high tech information like new iPhone applications!  We can testify that God is really an amazing God as he can use such a special weak person, like my brother, to do extraordinary things.  We always share with others that in fact my brother is a “blessing in disguise” to our family because he truly is a treasure in our hearts.  For myself, I have learned to be more appreciative of things in life and not to take things for granted.  I learned how to look at things positively. My brother’s world is very pure and simple, when compared to normal kids in this generation who has lost a lot of life’s basic principles and values; he is far more appreciative of what he has.  Now and always, I open my arms each day to accept this wonderful gift from God – my brother.

Son’s Perspective

During my childhood growing up was kind of the hardest thing I have experienced. I am autistic since I was born and I didn’t talk until I was around 7 years old.  Growing up was kind of hard for me like I do not make a lot of friends and sometimes people being very mean to me or yelling at me for no reason at all.  I also have learning disability too like I don’t know things while I was going to school so I was placed in Special Ed classes because of my learning disability like I not good at math at all. I always have interest in cars a lot even I have to get a lot of toy cars during my childhood too which my family said “you already have so many toy cars at home already” that how I remember.

Growing up I had a fear that I will never get a driver’s license because of my disability that didn’t stop me from there. When I was in High School I was a freshman I have seen a lot of like juniors or seniors driving to school at that time and I was determine to work hard for my driver’s license and learn how to drive.  Well at that time I was still young only 14 years old of course I have to wait until 16 years old.  So after graduating from High School I did not have a license yet so one year later in 2006 I went to the DMV to take the written test of course I was nervous at the end I passed the written test for the first time and I was very proud of myself at that time. So I learned to drive through a driving instructor I remember on the first day of my driving lesson the instructor told me to drive on the freeway already so I have no comment on that and it was raining at that time the day I always remember. After 5 driving lessons I went to DMV to take a wheel test of course I was very nervous at that time after the test I passed for the first time again and I was very proud of myself that I finally got a drivers license for me.

Now I am still going to college trying to get a certificate in automotive technology. I am trying to pursue a career in the automotive industries of course it’s hard for me now because of the economic recession now. So I am just taking the time now to studying and get my certificate.

About the authors: The authors’ names have been withheld to protect their privacy. They are an immigrant family from Hong Kong. The parents are Christians since childhood and firmly believe that God created each one of us for a reason. The challenges that God allows in life are just a way to bring Him more glory. The family has confidence that God has prepared them and He would guide us through all ups and downs. They have strong faith in the Lord that their lives would be a meaningful and blessed one. Their son is a “blessing in disguise” and they thank God for choosing them to receive His grace through this special channel.цены на копирайтинг в украинеанализ поисковых запросов googleкак накрутить лайки вконтакте на фотовзлом пароля одноклассники программа