Living Outside the Box

As we drove to the “mental exam” SSI requires to qualify Reid for funding (now that he’s over 18), I prayed:

Lord, guard my heart. Whatever happens, I want to see Reid through your eyes. Whatever they say or determine, doesn’t change your plans for him. Guard my heart and his from the world’s misperception and lies.

I have learned from experience that these appointments, however routine, can leave me in despair. Not this time, I declared in Jesus name.

We walked into the generic medical office chosen to provide an outside opinion of Reid’s capacity, despite the paperwork and access to records I had already approved. It was one block from the Social Security office, in a neighborhood we don’t frequent. Nicer than DMV, yet reminiscent in a way.

Hellooo! Reid welcomed himself at the reception area appointed with framed prints of American veterans erecting flags.

Candy?! Miss, may I have one of those–from that bowl? There were two candy bowls. He gestured to the bigger one by “the lady on the computer.”

We checked in. I answered inane questions, as if I were Reid, on a form and clipboard:

Who drove you here?
Have you ever hurt your self?
Hurt others?
Do you see things others don’t see?
What disables you from working?
Have you received treatment for this?

The million dollar question on my mind was: Who writes these questionnaires? The process itself lacks dignity and reeks of ignorance and disregard. I wanted to rephrase every single one.

A woman called, “Rade” to which we answered. She took Reid’s weight, height and photo, then we returned to watch another scene from The Nutty Professor.

An underemployed female doctor lacking affect called us the second time. A very standard cognitive assessment ensued.

I’m ready for the interview! Reid said taking the hot seat in front of her laminate desk. The blinds were closed. I sat on the side as directed.

Are you his mom?

Yes. So far this was easy.

When was he diagnosed with autism?

Age 3.

What behavioral issues does he have?

All those associated with the spectrum. Keep it simple.

Didn’t he have any intervention, ABA therapy?  Maybe I was supposed to have listed those.

Oh yes. We did all that; it was just 15 years ago. He had a full-on home program, ABA, PRT, Floortime, the works.

Reid watched me, obviously wondering when it would be his turn. Seems like the interview is for me, doesn’t it? It’ll be your turn in a minute.

When it was, she asked his name. Check. Address? Check. Birthday?

June 4, isn’t that right mom? I nodded.

What year?

19…. I helped when he got stuck.

2004

That’s okay. She made notes.

How many days in a week?

Seven

How many months in a year?

Well, let’s see… He raised his fingers one at a time, in no particular rush.

January is 1, February is 2, March is 3….. He restarted around May…which is 5…then finished strong.

November is 11…December is 12. Twelve months!

Wishing she got paid by the hour, she smirked and moved onto another section.

What would you do if there was a fire in the building?

Get low and go! Reid said without hesitation in all seriousness, recalling two loud fire drills at school in the past month.

Our little-while doctor nearly chortled at the creative, appropo, and succinct response. She modeled a connect the dot numerical sequence. Reid completed his longer one in good time and handed her the paper.

It doesn’t make anything, he pointed out as if to say, what was the point of that?

No, there’s no picture, it took her a minute.

More than once, he took the easy road handing things back to her saying, it’s too hard. He seemed to have some opposite of test anxiety–maybe a new condition we could call “test familiarity.” He mimicked her prompts in anticipation like they were the lyrics on our Top 40 radio station.


She handed him the WAIS-IV blocks he’s seen a million times. He literally said, let me get comfortable here and pulled his legs up under him criss-cross applesauce in the vinyl barrel chair.

She flipped forward in the spiral for harder material, then back when Reid was stumped. Recognizing the drill, he called her out to save time, I need an easier one.

Can he read? She addressed me now.

Yes. She handed him a list of single words in a grid.

Reid played to her expectations, beginning at a labored speed.

See…live…water…journey…despite…

When he got to “qua–ran-tine” at the bottom of the page I couldn’t help but think again about getting him a cameo acting spot on Sesame Street. He shines at dramatic decoding, with or without Elmo.

Okay, I’m going to ask you to write some words now.

Oh, like a spelling test!  

She was more than cracking a smile now. Reid brings joy to the most deadpan of faces.

We’re all done then. I will submit my report. There should be no problem at all recommending him since he could not complete a 9-5 job 5 days a week.

Well, thank you for your time. What else could I say?

As we headed for the parking lot, the Lord gave me a word. It came out of my lips before I could think it up: 

Reid, you aced that! (high five) The gifts God gave you can’t be measured on a test. That way God gets all the glory, not us!


I put my manila folders and sweater in the back seat. Mom, let’s go! 

Yup, that was kinda boring but, at least you got to miss school. Let’s go!


In Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority Colossians 2:10



Neither this man nor his parents sinned, said Jesus, but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. John 9:3

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
And see if there be any hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way. Psalm 139:24

Read more

It’s April and I’m not Blue

April to April. It was the working title for the book I thought I was writing before we received The Poppins Revelation. 

It’s also a catch phrase in our family. We use it to express how far we’ve been delivered from a crisis in April of 2010. April marks a new year in the Hebrew calendar and commemorates God’s deliverance of the Jewish people from slavery during Passover. In a pretty tangible way, we can relate; God delivered us from the bondage of autism (and more) during April. Every April we watch it come to more and more fruition.

April includes tax day….Jim’s birthday…and Easter. It marks a full circle in our process of becoming rescued, redeemed, resurrected, re- people.

Thinking of April as Autism Awareness Month just pales in comparison.

Autism may be the presenting issue that takes me most often to the Lord. It might be one of the greatest challenges I have faced in life, but it isn’t the only one, or the last one. And it surely doesn’t have the last word.

Four years ago, I prepared daily posts during April. I had to abandon my post about day 13 when the proverbial #$%& hit the fan at our house. All that ensued is the subject of The Poppins Revelation book I am finishing. Through it, each member of our family was changed from the inside out. Frankly, autism is not the villain anymore. It was the vehicle.

This April I’d like to unpack one “Re-word” each day to remind us all that God’s Word is the last word…on life, on autism, on cancer, on trials, on fear, on death. May it fall afresh on you…take root…and make all the difference.

Today’s verse is a double portion: Review and Rewrote.


Every day I review the ways he works, I try not to miss a trick. I feel put back together, and I’m watching my step. God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes.  2 Samuel 22:20-22


Read more
Yes No