February 27, 2011
Just a quick note on a small revelation I had this week. I started on twitter (never thought I'd like it, but I REALLY do) and discovered what a great place it is to network for the Rhythms of Grace ministry. It really is wonderfully comforting to endure a major meltdown from my Aspie son, only to see someone else tweeting that the same thing is going on in their life at that very moment! Real time communications are amazing.

Now maybe this isn't a revelation for anyone else, but as I started to "follow and be followed" on twitter, I started to notice my reactions to people who communicate with me. For those I follow, the tweets are not generally directed at me personally but go out to everyone. But in an odd way, I come to feel that I *know* them in some way, that we're acquaintances.  That odd juxtaposition of *knowing* someone and yet not really knowing anything about them in a real sense is new to me...especially since my vocation is all about getting to know people in very intimate ways. You can't pray with someone through a crisis and not feel a connection!

Here's the revelation I had: I THINK that that feeling of *knowing* people who are essentially strangers is akin to my Aspie son's way of relating to others. Even those he knows most intimately--me, his sister, his family and friends--are not truly present to him. In a  very real way, we are ALL strangers to him. Not that he doesn't recognize us, of course, he's super bright. But I suspect that he has never really FELT that intimate sense of *knowing* another human being that I feel with him, or his sister, or even with friends and acquaintances.

I could be wrong, of course -- I've found that NOTHING, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING is certain in the world of Autism. My son is constantly amazing me by what he accomplishes, what he knows, what he can do. AND what he finds difficult. AND what he has done successfully before but somehow can't seem to do now, but probably will do again at some point (if you have an Aspie child, you know exactly what I mean! I roll my eyes every time I read the term "secured skill." HA HA) Never Say Never.

Anyway, I'm praying with it and hoping for more insight into the children I love so dearly. Frederica Matthewes-Green paints an image of her autistic grandson as one like an astronaut orbiting all alone in space <Earth to K, are you out there?> My prayer is that little revelations like this may one day bring my little spaceman and I into a place where we can TRULY *know* one another.

I invite you to share your thoughts and experiences...or even follow me! :)


Proud Mom of an Aspie

January 20, 2011
I recently read an old, old article by Frederica Matthewes-Green. Here is a link to it: click here.  It got me thinking and praying on the promise of being known by God, even from before we were formed.

I tell volunteers to be prepared for a different kind of joy when they work with autism spectrum children.

The payoff for most of us in children or youth ministry is seeing these young people grow in the Lord -- seeing their enjoyment of programs, an increase in knowledge, a growing awareness of God's presence in the world.

Autistic children see and experience the world so differently from "neuro-typical" children that we may never understand, know or discern that any of our efforts have any "effect."

I think Frederica eloquently and beautifully expresses the joy of knowing deeply that we are ALL KNOWN TO GOD.

I AM the proud Mom of two children --one of whom has Asperger's Syndrome. Like most parents of children on the autism-spectrum, I see daily the confusing, dismaying and sometimes shockingly wonderful effects of the way my son's brain is wired. He is argumentative, sweet, loving, angry, clingy, aloof, anxious, impulsive -- all in all, a mass of contradictions.
And, too, I see daily the impact on his sister and myself -- anyone who has lived through a day-long lecture on all the characters in the Mother 3 Nintendo game, punctuated by meltdowns over loud noises, rough socks and a new mailman, knows the truth of the saying "Our Family has Autism."

I can laugh even at the aggravations and stress - laughing sometimes even through tears -- because my son is also a daily blessing.

He teaches me daily that God is present in the world, not because of some "breakthrough" that shows him in the light of what we expect from neuro-typical children; no, he teaches me that DIFFERENT really is DIFFERENT, and wonderful, and aggravating, and exalted.

For a first blog, I wanted to share this with you:

This is a poem written by my son two years ago. He was then in the 6th grade. It is his ode to Fall, a time he doesn't much enjoy--not because of the season itself, but because it brings school. He is a brilliant child, with a high IQ, who nevertheless hates and fears school. He is exceedingly fearful and anxious about many things. He is also often unexpectedly and amazingly funny.

Translated from the Original Oakese
We... we...
We are leaves..
Please, please,please,
We are leaves.
Sitting in a tree, we were green.
But now that we have come here now,
This we will not allow.

To fall, to die,
To crunch, to cry,
What has gone awry?

We, we, we are leaves,
Hoping for the best,
waiting for a test,
Expecting the worst,
What will become of us now?

We will wait,
Till next spring,
If you can imagine such a thing.

We are glad we are not turkeys.

Please feel free to use this space for your thoughts (and bragging) about our complex, mysterious, amazing children.

May God bless you with the unexpected.

Rev. Rebecca Black