A Journey Out of Autism...by Stephanie Lane
My journey began in 1994, with the birth of Christian. At eighteen months of age, he began exhibiting violent behavior. He was removed from several daycares, to be placed in state programs with testing and evaluations at $300-$600 every few months. For three years he would undergo intense behavioral, occupational. and speech therapy. He had sensory issues, auditory and visual issues - and the labels/diagnosis began accumulating. The first was Attachment Disorder at two years of age, Oppositional Defiant Disorder at three, and PDD (a generic Autism diagnosis) at three and a half.
With each new program, he grew more withdrawn and violent. He still had no cognitive reasoning or language by four years of age. I was encouraged to send him to an "inpatient center" for violent toddlers, but state programs/grants would not pay the $2500.00 a month needed. I called every advocate for disabled children, as the list narrowed down. One program remained, CBTU - (Child Behavior Therapy Unit) for extremely Autistic children. They had a waiting list of over one year. I was told by my caseworker and Christian's therapists that Christian's future as a violent toddler would be full institutionalization for life and that I "should sign over guardianship" of this one I loved so much.
That night, when Christian was asleep, I began to weep as I opened my Bible. I believed in my heart that if God had given me this child, then He would give me everything I needed to take care of him, and I couldn't accept that there was no hope. My thoughts and past were like a filter and clouded my thoughts. "Maybe I deserve to lose him - just like my husband. I have made such a mess of my life." I was emotionally and physically exhausted.
The Bible was open to the book of John, chapter 9. I started reading at verse 1... "And His disciples asked Him, saying, 'Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he should be born blind?' Jesus answered, 'It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was in order that the works of God might be displayed in him."
As I read this through my tears, the most wonderful, unexplainable peace came over me. In my heart I had accepted a lie - that this situation was my deserved punishment, because of the mistakes and sins of my life. But in that half hour, something had changed forever. I believed with all my heart that my Savior, Jesus, would make a way, and I wasn't being punished at all... This would bring glory to Him, someday, somehow.
The next day, there was a call from the CBTU program. They had been informed about my desperate situation, and moved Christian to the top of the waiting list. I immediately called and scheduled our evaluations and testing. Christian was accepted and began that week. The September 1999 report reads, "Christian had 54 physical aggressions to persons (hurting himself, throwing himself off things,) 19 physical aggressions towards objects (throwing toys, chairs) and 9 bites to others during this month." He had been in attendance for 15 days.
I had called a local church during this time, and they began praying and fasting for our deliverance from this situation. They taught me that the Word of God is our life and we need to believe - cling to it rather than what our circumstances may show us. I repented of my pride and prejudice. I had many wrong views and beliefs - as if God was like Mr. Wickham, while all the time he was Mr. Darcy... beyond what I could comprehend. He had provided the redemption and way out for this situation and moment of my life, and show me His faithfulness! He loved me before and so I could love and trust Him the rest of my life.
Psalm 10:17-18 "You hear. O Lord, the desire of the afflicted; You encourage them, and You listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed.
Christian was removed from the institution in March of 2000, without medication. Within a year, the Lord brought Lind Kane into my life - an ICAN Neurodevelopmentalist. She approached developmental delays in view of children being created in the image of God. She described to me how each of Christian's function problems could be addressed with neurodevelopment - giving him growth and a learning foundation in the brain.
When we began with exercises, Christian was almost 5, processing as a 2 year old. He was "delayed" at the pons level of the brain in all but one of the reflexive/expressive areas. His vocabulary was purely a recording, saying phonetically difficult words, but with no association to what the words meant. His pupillary response was very slow, and social interactions (especially regarding humor) were dry and difficult for him. He was hypersensitive to sound, which caused problems with music concerts, crowds and even church worship services. Many tones in the mid-range would cause him to cover his ears or hide.
He had an accelerated auditory memory, but it was automatic, not understood. He could listen to a song or movie once, and then "re-play" it verbatim, but he did not experience the music. We learned that Christian was hearing musical tones with more intensity then other input, and this was distracting him - so he was concentrating on this all the time. Since he needed to develop other areas for him to function, we removed music for a time until we established dominance and balance in language, emotionality, processing and reading.
Within six months, Christian's processing had jumped to that of a six year old's. His language was released, and at first he was stuttering terribly with many reversals in both speech and writing. We continued to target his language center with exercises until dominance was established, which took about three more months. His reversals and stuttering completely disappeared! He was reading, advancing to second grade level books by the end of the year! Sound therapy also brought changes to how he handled loud environments and he no longer had to cover his ears for loud sounds, concerts or music.
We re-introduced instruments and his keyboard after about a year. Christian began composing many thematic and orchestral pieces by six and has written many more pieces which he loves to share. ( See Christian's Rhapsody in C major) http://www.tangle.com/view_video.php?viewkey=9da87a1a66fa10d1323f
No one who knows Christian suspects the difficulties he faced. I remember thinking he must be a David or Joseph, for such a tremendous amount of difficulty to happen at so young an age. I praise God for His remediation and divine intervention. We praise God for the plasticity of the brain and the wonders of His guidance! Today it is my honor to offer the same comfort, hope and a future that God has given me! Thank You, Lord, that this was for Your glory!
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