When I look at Luke, I see a boy who is full of joy and loves life. I see a hard worker and helper. I see the most laid back and easy going child ever. I see a world changer. All wrapped up into a beautiful package that also contains autism. Autism could have crippled us, but instead it has made us better. The following quote from a fellow autism mother sums up my feelings perfectly:
“People often say special needs kids are given to special people. This has never set well with me. I find it to be quite the opposite. I feel as if I’ve been chosen because without these specific set of challenges I would be all the more mediocre in my life and in my role as a mother. He has been my greatest teacher and biggest motivator. He is what makes me special.” ~Karla Reed
Luke was not diagnosed with autism until age 3. His development was quite typical up to about 18 months old. At that time, Luke was evaluated by Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) and received a global developmental delay diagnosis. Weekly speech, occupational, physical, and developmental therapy began and continued until his third birthday. During this time Luke made steady, but slow progress.
Soon after receiving an official autism diagnosis, Luke was enrolled into the Autism Services program at the Child Study Center. This March will be two years that he has been receiving 35 hours per week of 1:1 Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Therapy. ABA therapy has been a true game changer for Luke. A quote from his recent treatment plan states that, “Thus far, Luke’s response to intervention has exceeded initial predictions.” Luke is 6 years old, and still has a long way to go to reach the top of the huge mountain he is climbing, but I am so thankful that we have found a program to help him navigate the obstacles in his way, where he is loved and cherished, and where he feels safe and secure.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” Galatians 5: 22-23
Autism might make verbal communication difficult for Luke, but it is easy to see each of these characteristics present in the way he lives life. Luke leads me and others to Jesus and reminds us of what is truly important. I can honestly and whole-heartedly say that I am thankful for this journey we are on.
Luke, you are so loved and pure joy. You are happy with life 99% of the time…I learn so much about contentment just by watching you. You are captivated by all things sea life and Chuggington trains. You love to sing! This might be one of my favorite things about you. Keep singing treasured one. You have a song that God created just for you to sing and the world will be a better place because of your sweet voice.
Lauren, mother of Luke
Fort Worth, TX