Because God had a plan for Mr. L’s childhood.
A few months back I shared the logistical reasons why my family has moved so many times. However this week I wanted to share a more personal, spiritual view of the organized chaos of all our moves.
Almost every move we have done, in hindsight has been for Mr. L’s autism journey. When we moved from my home state to my husband’s parents house we thought it was for my husband’s masters program. However we learned later that it was because my home state didn’t offer the same autism state funding that my in-law’s state did at the time.
When we moved across the country my husband and I soon found ourselves with a child who was head banging, screaming, soon lost his vocabulary and we didn’t know why. But we ended up being right where we needed to be to get the right doctor who believed us. This doctor referred us to one of the best children’s hospitals in the country and each appointment was scheduled for months out. But within weeks a cancellation would pop up and we would drop everything to drive all over the state to jump through the hoops to get our child, Mr. L diagnosed with autism. Many cancellations popped up from other people so we could get in much sooner to help our son.
We found ourselves in a state that offered not only great early intervention for autism, but appointments that should have taken months to wait for would show themselves almost immediately because of cancellations. And we were beyond blessed to find that our state covered these services that cost over $100,000 a year!
Our next move located our family in a terrible neighborhood, but it brought us closer to the services my son needed to find his words, and it placed us close to a program that we were specifically selected for based on my son’s fast learning abilities and his attendance record and previous therapies. This was a hybrid program that was the first of its kind at a world renown university.
The next move was 3 hours upstate to a beach town. Not only was the lake and sand unbelievably therapeutic to my son who had anxiety and stress at incredible levels. But we found an autism school program that was just what Mr. L needed. I did have to fight for this program for his physical safety- because he was a stealthy runner, and a regular public school would have lost him to a busy road within the first day I’m sure.
But this autism school continued both my son’s learning and my autism training as well. This autism school also recognized the seriousness of the statistics of autism drowning and they took my son to a local YMCA and gave him swimming lessons. And this move brought us to better autism therapies outside of school as well.
Every move has happened right when my son Mr. L was outgrowing his current situation and we as parents were so busy just trying to keep up with him and our own parent training, to be who he needed us to be that we didn’t have time to catch our breath and notice that he was ready for change.
Every one of these moves for Mr. L at the time felt like, are you serious? We are going where? THIS is where my husband’s schooling or internships or career is taking us!? When really our focus was way off. THIS was where God knew Mr. L needed to be in order to grown and succeed.
As soon as we seemed to have settled in to a new place it was time to start gathering boxes again and along the way I was fine tuning how to do a family move that would put less stress on autism. Because autistic people tend to thrive on routines, and there really isn’t anything naturally routine about moving to a different city or sometimes state. I learned how to pack in an unexpected way to keep things calm and organized for my first born child.
Eventually though, we even outgrew the beach town. The special school that I had fought hard to get my oldest son into was refusing to see that he had outgrown them. We had prayed and had asked others for prayers before school meetings. We prayed that his team would recognize that he had academically outgrown what they had to offer and that he was bored. He was talking to staff because none of his peers were verbal. So when his school staff dug their heels in, God gave my husband a new direction in career and we moved almost 5 hours back down state.
This move gave us a fresh start with a new school district who were able to look at my son’s progress with fresh eyes and they were completely on board with moving his IEP from a special needs school to a regular school with supports. After fighting for months with his previous school, it was a breath of fresh air! This move was right at the height of the pandemic and school shut downs. So the local school district was more then happy to let me create my own hybrid of home teaching with my own curriculum and they provided supports and services as needed.
And this was exactly what Mr. L needed to prepare for his next jump. I didn’t know it at the time but I was teaching my kids and they were surpassing their academic goals. So when we moved states and ANOTHER school district looked at this kid’s progress they agreed that he needed less restraints. So this school district placed him in a special education classroom but they gave him time to spend up to 70% of his school day in a general education classroom with kids his age! We have almost made it to full time general education at this point!
When Mr. L worked with his first speech therapist years ago, she told us that he would never speak and that she recommended a speech board. We were told not to expect much from our son in many ways. But even as a young mother I knew Mr. L was capable of so much more. I could see all of the intelligence he holds behind his big blue eyes and I knew she wasn’t the right speech therapist for us, so we got a different one. And in doing that, it set the pattern for how his services were going to look for his entire childhood.
Anytime a team, teacher, aid, whatever wanted to stop his growth, we learned it was time to change things up and find new staff for him.
But here is where my testimony grows. It’s when you look at the unrealistic luck my husband had at providing for his family and seeing how none of it can line up so hopelessly without there being a hand in it. I know that sounds a bit backwards. How can I give God credit for bad luck? Because why would we want to keep moving if my husband had found a great paying job where everyone loved him? We wouldn’t. We wouldn’t have found exactly what our son needed if we had been able to buy a house and just settle down.
My husband worked for an indoor football league that went under, he worked for a baseball team that wouldn’t promote him because he didn’t drink alcohol, he worked for another baseball team that decided after many successful years, to sell their team and put my husband’s name in the contract to not rehire because he was too good of an asset to them. My husband worked for a world renowned hotel and was moving up quickly when out of nowhere they sold and the only position that dissolved was his- everyone stayed on but him.
Can you see how this can’t just naturally happen? Multiple teams that have done great for years decide, after hiring my husband that now they need to end? It doesn’t add up. But it does. God just kept moving us to where our son needed to be and when my son needed to go somewhere else, God pushed us out the door.
This might not make sense to you, and I probably haven’t worded it well enough to share the deep feelings we as a family have experienced over the past ten years. But I can tell you that our loving Heavenly Father knows us. He knows what we need and he hears our prayers. He knew from my motherly prayers the desires I have felt for my children to succeed, but he has also heard our pleas for employment for my husband as well.
Life doesn’t always turn out how we hoped, but we have always got our needs met and we’ve been blessed to have many of our wants taken care of too.
I guess all we can do now is keep praying and see where God takes us next, or find out where he plans on keeping us for awhile ❤️
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