Sunday, February 23, 2014

Dress Up And Pictures

We spent the morning playing dress up. Maddi was in an Easter dress with a matching purse and a lot of pink eye shadow; her request. When Lincoln saw her, he began addressing her as “Princess” or “Princess Maddi.” He was pretty smitten with his sister as she twirled around in her dress. “Oh Princess, you dropped your purse,” he said and would pick it up for her.

Seeing his delight in his sister dressing up, I quickly grabbed a few things for him to put on; a dress shirt and pants, his sister’s Hello Kitty tie and his beloved Fedora hat. Then I asked them to take a picture for me. To my amazement….HE DID! He stood at the door with Maddi doing everything I asked. “Hug Sissy” or “Give Sissy a kiss,” I would say. He would immediately do it and then wait for my next instruction. When finished he would ask to see the photos and he would smile looking at them.

I remember right before he turned 2, we wanted to take a quick family photo while family was all in town. All of the other kids present followed instructions and would smile and say, “Cheese” at the appropriate time. Not Lincoln. He just wanted to play in the rocks counting them. We actually had to move rocks to where he was sitting so he would stay in the picture. That was our “Thinking Differently” at that time. I have a copy of that picture and every time I have looked at it, it makes me sad. He was there but he wasn’t really there. He was more like a prop that had been placed in the photo. He was trapped in his own little rock counting world and that was where he wanted to stay.

So today, I have been elated to see his love for dress up and pictures. I am not holding him down on my lap or trying to distract him with a lollipop or an iPad to get him to pose appropriately in these pictures. I am just taking his lead and loving every minute of it. So thankful for his growth, awareness and interest in being a part of our world.

As if the moment couldn’t have been any better. Lincoln held out his hand and said, “Can I take a picture please?” I told him of course and handed him my phone. He told Maddi, “Hug your Mommy Maddi, say cheese!” We did as he instructed and he smiled as he looked at his photography skills. This will forever be one of my favorite pictures. I am so thankful for the little surprises Lincoln is full of everyday as he blossoms.


Random Updates

I am GREAT at posting updates of Lincoln's progress on my FB. However, I forget to do it here. So I am simply going to copy some things and post them here. They are just too awesome not to share.

January 21, 2014
Just spent 15 minutes in the bathroom with Lincoln. His request; pottying, fixing hair, meticulously brushing his teeth. My favorite part, when he asked me to hold him up in front of the mirror, he checks his teeth and hair and smiles at himself. So proud of his self-care skills. I remember not too long ago thinking I might need to get him occupational therapy if he didn't progress. He did though, literally out of no where and in abundance. Incredibly thankful on this Journey. More progress to come. Loving this season! #kickinautismbooty
James1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

January 24, 2014
Big deal today for Linky! Did some work for Daniel today in Wellston America and I had Linky and Maddi with me. My phone was dying and I didn't have a charger and Maddi had just fallen asleep. So I spotted a Dollar General store to buy a charger. I had no stroller and there were no carts once I got in there. Lincoln used to run off, not listen and be distracted by odd carts or have been a MUST in the past. So, I just rolled with it, carried Maddi and let Linky walk. He walked all the way through the store with me while I looked and did great even while having to wait in line. He said hello to everyone in the store. He picked out lollipops for Maddi and himself and was so well behaved. Then we walked to the car and he got in his seat on his own! Did I mention that we were in the car for 4+ hours and he had no potty accidents. 5 minutes before we got home, he told me he needed to go. SUPER DAY! He was like a NORMAL little 4 year old and I am so proud of him. He has came so far and is a completely different kid. Thank you Jesus! #kickinautismbooty #healed #hismindisfree
January 16, 2014
Well, we had Lincoln's re - evaluation today. We still have to go back to finish some testing. However, He commented that Lincoln is a "completely different kid" from 2 years ago when he diagnosed him. He indicated three different times that Lincoln was "high - functioning!" High functioning autism is HUGE compared to where we were 2 years ago with Lincoln being severely impacted by autism. This such good news. Things can only go up from here. I am so thankful for the progress Lincoln has made. I still hold on to my faith and believing Linky will lose his diagnosis in the future. For now this is amazing and even with Linky still having some areas needing help, I am even more assured that we are on the right path. Thank you Jesus! Feeling very blessed!
We actually have gotten his results for his evaluation. See Here.
February 20. 2014
Maddi and Linky were asleep in the same bed at opposite ends. I heard talking and laughing and went in there and they were snuggled up next to each other laughing and talking about who knows what. They both said, "Good Morning Mom!" Maddi hugged Linky and told him, "Love you Bu." Then Linky kissed me. LOVE these kiddos. So happy about how well linky is doing. Sweetest way to start out the morning. Now Linky is pulling on my arm saying, "let's go to sleep mom." So lying here as he reads me "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom." #lovethatlittleguy #kickinautismbooty

Update from the Dr. who diagnosed lincoln 2 1/2 years ago.

This is an update I posted on my FB February 4th after we had Lincoln re-evaluated with the NeuroPsychologist that diagnosed him with Classic Autism just 6 days before he turned 2. He is now 4 1/2.
"Want to hear some awesome Lincoln news?? Over the past month we have had Lincoln re-evaluated for his autism diagnosis. I told y'all last time, that his NeuroPsychologist who originally diagnosed him with Classic Autism and considered him to be "severe" in level of functionality, now believes Lincoln has "high functioning autism." Well today, Daniel and I sat down with the Dr. and went over all of... Lincoln's testing and talked about it. The first thing he said was , "Well I know you will be excited to learn of Lincoln's IQ score so let's get straight to that."

To give you a little bit of background in regards to Autism I will quote a source as to not offend with my own words. "About 40 percent who have autism have an intellectual disability (IQ less than 70) By diagnosing standards, a score of less than 70 is equal to a diagnosis of mental retardation." (Now I have never hung my hat on a score and if my child or anyone else's had that score, I still believe in hope. This is simply a story of Lincoln's progress and I mean no offense to anyone dealing with intellectual disabilities.)

However, it has always been in the back of my mind since I learned of the associations of MR and Autism. Frankly, I didn't know he could even perform IQ testing on Lincoln. When he told me he was going to perform IQ testing, I was quite nervous about what he would find.


Our Dr. proudly informed us that Lincoln has an IQ of 99 in (one) of the areas on the IQ test. The others are pretty close to that range also. Scoring guidelines for the Stanford-Binet IQ test state the AVERAGE IQ is 90-110.

Please know this isn't like an internet test that anyone takes, it is administered by a licensed Professional who is familiar with IQ testing and diagnosing standards.

How crazy is that?! My little guy who was on the severe end of the spectrum of autism is now considered to have High Functioning Autism and has an IQ typical with his peers.


On some other tests, he determined that Lincoln's abstract reasoning in dealing with puzzles, patterns, numbers etc...he is in the 96th percentile.

If this sounds like absolutely is. Bragging on Linky and bragging on the awesome healing God we serve! Daniel and I have stood and believed that Lincoln is whole, healed, healthy and normal. He has the mind of Christ and that is something I confess and stand in faith believing for him. In the same way that Jesus died on the cross for our salvation, healing was also covered on the cross.

Side note, Under the new diagnosing standards for autism, Lincoln's official diagnosis is "Autism Spectrum Disorder-MILD."

Still have work to do and more ground to cover, but I am amazed at my little guy's progress. Overjoyed, overwhelmed with happiness and a sincerely grateful heart to God."

Linky's Reaction at Christmas

This is Linky this past Christmas. This was the first year he experienced it like this. He understood Christmas (for the most part) and looked forward to it. I LOVE his reaction at the end.  :)

Friday, February 21, 2014

Harvest Festival

I couldn’t help but think how cute Maddi looked in her tutu skirt.  It was black with ruffles and mock spider webs, perfect for the Saturday before Halloween.  I smiled as I drove past places with their fall decorations out. I love this time of year. I could hear Lincoln and Lucas in the backseat singing along to Jesus Culture’s song, “You make all things work together for my good.”  It literally felt like that too especially on that morning as we drove to the Harvest Festival. I was on a super mom high, somewhat because of the coffee but mostly because Lincoln had been doing so well lately. I was celebrating by taking all three kids by myself to what I knew would be a great time to be had by all.

 I slowed to turn left into the church where the Harvest Festival was being held. As I noticed all of the people and the lines, my heart sank and my stomach turned to knots. I knew waiting in line for Lincoln was still a huge struggle. I thought about turning around, but remembered Lucas’ face at previous events when I’d changed my mind. He would be heartbroken, especially after we had talked about it all morning.  I reminded myself that Lincoln had come so far, I was just being negative and too presumptuous. I reminded myself of scripture and began praying over him that he would be calm, that he had the mind of Christ and we could do anything we set our minds to. Nothing was impossible, not even a simple trip to a fun event.

I got out of the car, fixed Maddi’s hair that she had taken out and put her boots back on. I went around to the back of the car to get the stroller.  As I opened the hatch, I realized I only had the single stroller and it was a 2-year-old’s size, not Lincoln’s size at age 4.  My heart sank again. I strapped Lincoln in the pink stroller with his feet hanging very close to the ground.  I looked at him and said, “Lincoln say, ‘I have the Mind of Christ.’” In his adorable little voice, he said, “I have the mind of Christ Mom.”  I continued with, “I can do anything I set my mind to, I am peaceful and I am calm.  I know how to listen, I know how to wait.” I went through the whole list adding in all of the scriptural-faith-confessions I could think of.  He repeated everyone. I felt better when he loudly exclaimed, “Let’s go Mom!”

We made our way through the parking lot.  I met my friends and we walked to the area where the event was. Lincoln started pointing and saying, “This way, Mom” as soon as he saw the moon bounces.  We were quickly approached by a volunteer asking us to register first. We made our way to the first of many lines. As we waited, Lincoln grew impatient and practically stood up in the stroller, dragging it with him. I decided to let him out so Maddi sat in it instead. I tried to hurry filling out the form.  It asked for everything from the kid’s ages to our address and if we needed prayer.

Lincoln went running across the lawn and I dashed after him calling out to my friends to please watch my other 2 kids for a minute. By the time I caught up with Lincoln he had cut in front of twenty kids and was making his way across the obstacle course moon bounce. A lady started yelling at him that he needed to listen and there were rules. I thought to myself, “Yeah we will see how far that gets you.” I finally caught up with her and grabbed her arm long enough to interrupt her yelling and I said, “Ma’am, he has autism….he’s not going to listen to you.” 

I cringed as the words came out because I hate confessing that over him as I am a faith believing, super positive, get results kind of girl. I don’t want people to define him by that or use it as an excuse.  But sometimes, like this time…it just is what it is.  I couldn’t help but think how fired up she was to be monitoring a kid’s moon bounce. It was very obvious that she was a stickler for the rules. Her demeanor softened as she helped me get him out of there.  Lincoln greeted me with a huge smile.  He was obviously not worried about the rules.

I grabbed Lincoln and when he realized we were done with the moon bounce, he began to flail and kick. I met my friends and fought Lincoln to put him back in the stroller. My friends offered to take Lucas and let me handle Maddi and Lincoln. I was relieved. I decided to let Lincoln have a clown make him a balloon.  I thought for sure that would be easier. The girl in front of us had FIVE balloons made. I couldn’t help but notice that this volunteer wasn’t a stickler for the rules like the other lady. Lincoln was quickly losing the little bit of patience he had found. By the time she finished his balloon, he had already noticed the rubber duckies next to us that I had been trying to shield from his vision. He went ballistic, screaming, “I want duckies, I want duckies.” He threw his balloon on the ground. I tried to talk him down, all while smiling as I pushed him and trying to ignore the people that stared. Looking back, I’m sure we were a sight to see; Maddi dancing like a ballerina in her tutu and pigtails oblivious to her brother’s tantrum and me in my heeled boots fighting my 4 year old son into the pink stroller. I felt like we reeked chaos.

I let my friends know that I needed to go to the car, that Lincoln was done. They kept Lucas and said they would catch up with me in a few. Maddi began running across the parking lot so I had to chase her, then carry her while I pushed Lincoln. He screamed the whole way back to the car. Once I got the stroller and Maddi loaded, I just put him in the front seat as he continued to scream, “I want duckies!” I loudly put on some praise and worship music and cried my eyes out.

I cried because that day I was tired of the struggle. I cried for all of the times I hadn’t been able to cry before. My heart hurt for me and it hurt for my kids, all three of them. I just wanted to have a normal day of fun watching all of my children play. I wanted Lincoln to conquer this day. Yet here I was, missing Lucas ride a pony and not getting to have Maddi’s sweet little face painted, all because Lincoln couldn’t handle it.

As I continued to cry, I noticed Lincoln was completely calm. We exchanged eye gaze for a moment and then he got right in my face and said, “I sorry Mom” and he wrapped his arms around me. There was no denying that he understood what was going on.  I felt like I was seeing him in a totally different light free from the barriers of autism.  I told him I was sorry too. Then I cried for a new reason. He may have not conquered waiting in line that day, but I had just watched him conquer something entirely new, empathy and emotions.  That made the entire, hard day totally worth it.
**This was a writing assignment for the "Autism Oklahoma Writers' Club."