Sunday, January 18, 2015

A New Thing

As someone who likes to plan things down to the smallest details, I become frustrated when things don’t go as planned or when unexpected events arise, making me feel unprepared and anxious. In raising a child with autism, I have learned that I can make all the plans I want, but at the last minute, things may change suddenly to derail those plans. Consequently, life with Alex has taught me patience and flexibility. Most importantly, I have learned that God’s plans are always better than mine, and I need to allow Him to guide me so that I make the best decisions for Alex.

While waiting two and a half years for a day program that we had thought would be ideal for Alex, we kept hoping that Alex’s name would soon come to the top of the waiting list. As time passed, we sensed that his enrollment would not be imminent, which was disappointing because we thought that was the direction we were supposed to go. Instead, we worked with our case manager to develop an alternative program to help Alex make progress, adding music and recreational therapy and finding an agency that could provide respite care that better suited our needs than the previous agency had. In addition, our case manager found a new smaller day program located less than five minutes from our home for us to consider. While we were waiting for what we thought was the ideal day program, we were going to keep Alex busy and moving forward in developing his skills.

Two months ago the day program finally contacted us to let us know that Alex’s name had come to the top of the waiting list. However, we no longer felt that this program was the best placement for him now. The program we put in place for him as we were waiting, essentially our Plan B, had turned out even better than we had expected. God had led us to the right people who could help Alex. Therefore, we were not going to make drastic changes by setting aside what has been working well just so that Alex could attend the day program. After discussing all the pros and cons with our case manager and Alex’s behavioral therapist who agreed with us, Ed and I believed that turning down the offer of the day program was the right decision.

Although we were a little concerned about closing a door, we discovered that God had opened another door for us. About the same time, the day program near our home offered to teach Alex computer skills on a one-on-one basis. To start, he would go there for an hour one day a week, and he could increase the time and number of days as he acclimated to the new setting. This program sounded ideal because of its flexibility, convenience, and accommodation of Alex’s interests and abilities. However, once again, we were told we would have to wait a while to get this program started. Having waited over two years for the other program and nearly a year to get respite care started from this same agency, I decided that I could wait patiently. I knew that when the time was right, things would eventually fall into place.

Two weeks ago, the new day program contacted me, anxious to get started working with Alex on computers. The person who was arranging the details had just been transferred to the office here in town, and she was eager to get things rolling. Quickly, she arranged training with Alex’s behavioral therapist to learn how to work best with him, and she arranged a meeting with Alex and me to discuss the program she had planned for him and to answer any questions we had. While I was pleased that we finally seemed to be moving forward on this program, I was a little taken aback by how suddenly things were being put into motion after being on hold for a while.

Also, to enroll Alex, the agency needed paperwork showing that he had had a recent physical examination and a TB test. At first, this detail sent me into brief tailspin mode, as I thought we’d have to arrange for Alex to have a TB test and knew that I had no paperwork from his doctor regarding his physical this summer. After a little online research, I found that the Minute Clinic where we’ve taken Alex previously could do a TB test, which set my mind at ease. However, I then discovered that a chest x-ray could substitute for a TB test. Fortunately, before Alex had his wisdom teeth removed in November, he had to have a physical exam, an EKG, blood tests, and chest x-rays to make sure he was healthy enough for anesthesia. Because his regular doctor has reduced his hours, we took him to a new doctor for his physical exam. Fortunately, her practice offers online medical records for patients. After logging on to Alex’s account, I discovered everything I needed for the day program, and I printed out copies of the test results and doctor’s notes. Even though I had been reluctant to take Alex to a new doctor for his wisdom teeth exam, I realized that God had led us to her so that we would be able to access all the information we needed to enroll Alex in the computer class. God knew what we would need in the future and led us in the right direction.

After meeting with the young woman who will be teaching Alex computer skills and feeling positive about how nicely she interacted with him, I’m hopeful that this new addition to his schedule will work well. Of course, we always worry about how he’ll adapt to new situations and new settings, and we hope that he will put to good use the social skills we’ve worked hard to instill in him. As for Alex, he seems really excited that he’s going to be starting computer school this week. While he begins something new, we pray that everything goes smoothly and that this is one more piece of the puzzle that will allow him to reach his potential. In the meantime, we trust God, who made this path smoother by guiding and changing our plans, will lead Alex where he’s supposed to go and will give him the hope and future He promised.

“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:19


marjorie said...

Great news, Pam. Am hopeful about this new step!

Pam Byrne said...

Hi Marjorie!
Hope you are doing well. The first two computer classes have gone very well, and we are delighted. Will tell more in a future blog... :)