Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Dealing With Autism

Recently Carol and I watched Larry King Live on CNN. He was dealing with the subject of AUTISM and had an excellent panel of doctors, parents of children with autism and others with a connection to this pervasive condition.

Carol and I were especially interested because our son Matthew (11) has Asperger's Syndrome, a high-functioning form of autism.

It was stated that back in the 50's polio was considered an epidemic because of the seeming inordinate number of cases. Now, 1 in every 95 boys will be born with some form of Autism Spectrum Disorder and people don't seem too upset or alarmed.

Last night I sat across from a couple who had an autistic daughter who had been able to speak but then lost her language skills suddenly. As the mother shared her heartache with the waitress tears welled up in her eyes and the waitress gave her a big hug. It was sad to watch.

My heart goes out to parents of autistic children because, generally speaking, the public don't understand our children and don't know how to handle them...or us.

Carol and I face the struggles brought about by autism every day and, at times, they are more than we can handle. Without God's sustaining grace we would be overwhelmed. I can't even imagine what it would be like for parents whose children aren't as high-functioning.

Please pray for us and please seek to understand the challenges that autistic children face. THANK YOU!


  1. Mr. Fisher~
    First I would like to say that I have been a frequent reader of your posts for some time now and have just never had the courage to comment. I am so grateful for the way that you allow the Lord's blessings and goodness to flow from you. God has truly blessed you with insights and you bless others (more than you know-like me!!) by sharing them. I am a huge hockey fan and stumbled across Pilgrim Scribblings through this passion and my desire to see the Good news of our Savior spread throughout the hockey world. I am a Special Education teacher in Denver, Colorado and have had a few students with Autism one in particular. Last year I was privileged to work with a young boy with Asperger's. He was such a joy and incredibly intelligent. I know sometimes I question why God allows these wonderful children to have various difficulties in life and learning, but when I see the joy and content they live life by and the incredible impact they have on those that are closest to them; I believe that in many cases He places these children in our lives to be a blessing to us and challenge us to seek His face. I know this is how it was for me with my student. His genuine care for those around him and his curious interests in the funniest things kept me in awe and always laughing!! I pray that your son is understood, taken care of, and challenged to succeed at his FULL potential by his teachers in school. Know that I am encouraged and inspired everyday by the parents of my students-you have been given a great gift, but defiantly on that does not come short of its struggles. I want you to know that I m placing your son on my prayer card and will pray for him and your family daily God Bless you and thank you for sharing yourself with me and other readers! IN HIM~Lindsey

  2. Lindsey:

    Thank you so much for your encouraging words! What a blessing to hear from you!

    Matthew has been such a wonderful gift from God! We adopted him when he was about a year old after providing foster care for him since he was 3 months old.

    May God continue to use you in the lives of children and their parents as you offer loving, Christian care and concern.



  3. Dear Pilgrim...My sister, Gail has three children all boys.
    Two of them have M.D. and the middle child is autistic.
    Although things have been very hard at times for her and her husband, I am sure that she is just like you and Carol. She loves them so much and spends a lot of time with them and surprising to say she says she feels very fortunate that she will be able to keep them for the rest of her life!

    I think that the Lord sends these little treasures to parents that He can trust!!

    Matthew is such a handsome little guy and I find it so amazing that just like Mrs. Mac's Nathan , and YOUR Nathan, his name means, "gift of the Lord"
    How incredible is that David Fisher?...from Terry

  4. I have always considered it a privilege when the good Lord has gifted a couple/family with a child who has "handicaps." Truly! Think how much the Lord trusts you for Him to send His special child to you.
    Blessings, David!

  5. Dear David,
    Terry made me aware of your blogsite, and specially the article "Dealing with autism".
    (My occupation for twenty years was being a Registered Nurse for the Mentally Subnormal with additional education in special education sience in Norway.)
    I also have a first cousin who has a son with Asperger's Syndrome, and so has in fact my husband. The boys are 12 and 13, and their parents have been divorced for 5 and 6 years.
    I never doubt for a second that all people are created equal in the picture of God. He has a devine plan for each and every one of us.
    The parents of the children with Aspberger's Syndrom, and even more the children themselves have, however, got a long and rocky road to go.
    The children tend to be a rough bunch. They say and do things that aren't social acceptable, through no fault of their own, sooner a fault in their brains.
    They understand that they are different, and that's the hard part, because lack of impulse control may shut them out from their comrade's company. Being lonely, feeling guilty but not being able to change their situation of course make the evil circle worse to get out of.
    Their parents have much of the same experience, because they often aare unrightfully blamed for their child's unsocial behaviour. Can you even begin to imagine how that must hurt.
    Then there are lots and lots of medication and special training.. The "specialists" often competing to present the only right recipe.
    All this trial and error can break the parents' hearts as well as that of the child.
    In the end I think both the parents and the child (who isn't just a diagnose, but a unik wonderful being) should be bould and listen to their ionner voice. Is this the right thing to try?
    Will this hurt more than help? And so on.
    Most parents know and love their children far beyond theories and science. Their feelings and meanings should be highly valued and respected. And they should trust themselves for being experts on their own child.
    "Aspberger children" need and have a right to help. They also need to be respected and build a good selfesteem.
    I'm not sure how things works outside Scandinavia, but here there is a system where the children have a free "relief." That will be a person to take care of them for occational weekends, vacations or help finding adequate sparetime activities.
    May God bless, strengthen and help you find your way in a very demanding life situation.
    May His love protect and guide you as is His promise in Psalm 121.
    Love from Felisol

  6. It seems as though autism has been all over the news lately. I was just watching a talk show the other day while I ate lunch, and they had dedicated the entire show to talking about children with autism.
    I actually had the chance last year to coach a girl with autism. Her name was Ashleigh, and we had a great time together! I ended up taking a course on dealing with children with autism so I could learn more about it.
    My continued prayers to you, Carol and Matthew!

  7. I've been meaning to comment here, as this was posted when I was away from my computer for a week, but time has flown by since then...
    I don't know if anyone will read this comment since it has been so long, but I do have something important to share about autism. One of the root problems which the public is not made aware of is allergies to gluten: that is, wheat, rye, and barley (oats are frequently contaminated, but do not contain gluten). I 've had the privilege of meeting the owner of a gluten-free bakery, and he has told me so many stories of children who: couldn't speak at 12 years old, couldn't walk well, didn't speak well, etc. from autism, and how when their parents took the child off gluten, the child could speak, walk, etc!!! I know it is true, because I have seen it time and again. I have seen the problem of gluten intolerance/allergies in many children and adults, but most parents don't want to address the problem, because it is seen as a hindrance to everyday life to change one's diet, instead of a necessity. I don't see it that way...but after all I've been through in reaching the point I'm at now, it's no wonder. I can still eat out. I can eat gluten-free breads/pastas/grains/etc., and there is still a wide variety to choose from. I recently met an autistic girl who wanted to pet the dog I was walking. I'd seen her before, and I noticed that she looked very swollen and red as compared to a few months ago. As she spoke about her love of dogs, she spoke well, and only slurred one word. Then she told me she works at a bakery. I wanted so bad to tell her to get out of that harmful environment (redness and swelling are signs of allergies), but I thought I better not start preaching at her the first day I meet her. Prayerfully, I'll be able to see her again, and talk with her. It hurts me a lot when I see autistic children, especially when I think of the children I've seen at the bakery who are so well and healthy. I just wanted to share this in the hope that maybe this info would help someone else out there. May God bless you all and give you wisdom, especially your family Mr. Fisher, as you raise your autistic son. By the way, Kelsey's (your favorite restaurant and mine) is a great place for people with food allergies...maybe we'll meet eachother there while in Ottawa one day! :)