Friday, September 27, 2013

The Children's Garden and The Phone Call

I was standing in the kitchen this morning when the phone finally rang.  I saw the number and panicked a little, because I knew that this was it.  I picked it up and the speech pathologist told me that she hadn't been able to find my number, but that they had completed the test scoring and that Mae qualifies for the program and that that means that we'll likely be part of the residential program (if that means therapy at home I am super, super excited about it).  

She paused and I asked if qualifying meant that there was actually a diagnosis then, was there actually a name for what she was telling me and she paused again and said yes that the results tell us that she is autistic.  

I had expected it and yet when I hung up the phone my hands were shaking.  And then I really, really wanted to talk with someone over the age of five.  Which was probably when I started complaining that Paul's matrimony law class feels like it goes over it's alloted time every. single. week.  

But he finally got home and Sadie got to have her special oh-my-goodness-please-stop-crying-over-the-tooth-you-just-knocked-out-lunch and we headed to the university's children's garden for our final field trip of the week.

And it was wonderful:

Then we wandered over to horticultural gardens where we got eaten by a willow dragon:

Which I slooooooowly made my way through with the girls (Maggie LOVED it):

And we came upon a statue that Paul thought looked a lot like the eleventh doctor... missing only a red fez:

And then it was finally time to head home for Paul to mow the lawn so that our yard stops embarrassing our neighbors (it's been hard to figure out a time for him to mow the yard now that he's doing full time school and working!  There just aren't enough hours in the day!).

Now to figure out dinner...  


  1. I know that you are a total introvert but...if ever you need someone to talk to or a shoulder send me an email with your number and I call you (as its international) its actually not more expensive for me to call the states than long distance. I get the whole wanting to talk to an adult thing. I have those moments particularly since my husband is/will be gone for a week or two at a time mulitiple times a year.

  2. A diagnosis is just a way for adults to gather our thoughts. A diagnosis is never a child and a child is never a diagnosis. A diagnosis is just a word. You don't raise a diagnosis; you don't teach a diagnosis; you don't provide therapy for a diagnosis--you do these things for and with and beside a child. Ultimately, labels don't matter. Behaviors and skills and gifts and love matter. A child is a gift of God--full of love and hope and uniqueness and potential. So, everything has changed, but nothing has changed. She is still just Mae--what a precious package of God's love! Diagnoses are just words that help us make plans and locate resources and find our way as we stumble along pretending that we are in control while a child teaches us about the limitless and indescribable love of God. It's a help to have one--a diagnosis. Use it; don't allow it to use you.
    God Bless you Cam. Peace of Christ; be well.

  3. I'm around too and get it. You can find me on Facebook, or email me. Help is nice to have, but remember the experts are generally neuro-typical and don't get everything right, so you will need to stay in contact with your mommy instincts and refuse if they want to do something you recognize as wrong for YOUR child. You have done brilliantly so far, this changes nothing about the graces God is giving you for the fulfillment of your vocation.

    Mae Bae is a gift as all children are and you parent her beautifully.

  4. Glad you finally got the call. And even though Iknow it wasn't what you wanted to hear, at least now you have a diagnosis and can go from there.

    Prayers for you all.

  5. Maggie is the same beautiful, adorable, lively child today as she was yesterday. A diagnosis doesn't change her; it simply means you will now have access to people who can address her challenges. You are doing a beautiful job!

    God bless.


  6. Thank you for your wonderful writing!
    I am thinking about becoming a Catholic as I am deeply in love with God and also with a Catholic man.
    It is therefore helpful to read about Catholic life and thought on your blog.

    All the best from Germany and have a wonderful weekend,


  7. I'm thinking residential program = in-home therapy where the therapist comes to your house and works with Mae for a set period of time. This is what we have with Daniel currently and similar to what we had with him before he started preschool in the autism class. (The preschool a block away has a class for autistic kids that uses the ABA method.) They will also probably have you run lessons with Mae once she gets good at something, just so you get a sense of how to teach her.

  8. I agree with the above comments - the diagnosis doesn't change who Mae is, but it does get you funding to help her learn and grow. Treatment for autism is growing by leaps and bounds - even in the past 5 years professionals have learned so much about how to work with kids with autism and kids are doing great with it. But I guess this is going to be a very big new world for the whole family. Prayers.

  9. Hey! You know what it going on and you know that it isn't just you thinking that something is going on! She is thriving now and will continue to thrive, probably even more as you learn how she learns.

  10. What Michelle said above, x2. When you get that sort of news, and it's not good, it's like a kick in the head. But it has to be said, straight out, so a person can figure out what they are facing, so there is no misunderstanding. I hate when doctors or therapists don't want to be flat out blunt or straight when they have bad news. I know they are trying to be sensitive, but couching the words doesn't help. You also don't have to believe everything they say. You know your girl better than they do.
    Now comes the five stages of grief for you: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally, acceptance. Maybe you'll be able to get through a couple of these quickly, but you're going to grieve. Then comes a brighter day; a new normal. Now that you know for sure what's going on, you can begin to understand and cope and do what's needed for the best possible outcome. There is always hope. Your faith WILL grow (ouch, God!). Where ever she is on the spectrum, she must be pretty functional because you thought of her differences as quirks. So she will maybe just need different approaches to coping with her different wiring. And with all the research that's being done now, who knows, a cure may be in the future. You are in my prayers. God bless. (I can only publish under anonymous. But I'm known as Bonnie.)
    P.S. My brother graduated from Ave Maria School of Law in 2008, when it was still in Michigan. He loved it there. He did not have the best LSAT score and did not graduate at the top of his class, but he passed the Illinois Bar on the first try, and he is a lawyer.

  11. Your kids are always in my prayers. They are all special.

    Today was my neighbor Annabelle's 3rd birthday. Based on how much your daughter loved the stories of St. Teresa, I bought her the first 10 books in the set you recommended. She immediately insisted I sit down and read the first story to her. She loved it (and so did her mom and dad). Thank you.

  12. I agree with Bonnie. I imagine Mae is lower on the spectrum if you thought that she was just quirky.

    In college, I had a professor that actually took a 2 year sabbatical to do therapy with her niece who had autism (she's a psychologist specializing in child development). When she got back, we were able to help with her research by coding her therapy sessions that she had filmed. Long story short, by the time she was done working with her and had turned over maintenance therapy to the family etc. her niece was basically functioning normal. She was in class with the "regular kids" and had social relationships etc.

    Of course I can't know your exact situation, but I do know that people have a lot of misconceptions about autism. There is such a wide spectrum of function/severity. It doesn't mean your child is mentally challenged. It doesn't mean they won't be able to function. So keep faith (i know you will) and work hard with her (like I know you do with all your kiddos) and God will bring her right to where He wants her to be.

    I know its hard, and I will keep you guys in my prayers!


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