Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Therapies--June 5, 2013

Hello!  Long time, no blog, I know!!  Whew...

So, we have recently started Occupational therapy and speech therapy with Ryan!  What a trip!  We are on our 3rd week and we have experienced ups and downs already.  Today was a down, but that's ok!  We are getting used to this new schedule and seeing how this really works.  I would say the "honeymoon" period is over for Ryan and he has decided to be defiant instead of cooperative, but I had a feeling this would happen.  The first couple of weeks of "getting to know you" with the therapists was wonderful.  Ryan would do everything they wanted without much complaint.  When they would ask him to sit on the "big, black ball" he would.  When they asked him to say, "May I have this or that" he would!  Whew...Today found us in a completely different boat.  First of all, Wednesdays we have both therapists come within a half an hour of each other.  They overlap times, so they are at our house the same time, working with Ryan simultaneously.  It started with our speech therapist, arriving at 9am.  As soon as she walked in (and she is wonderful, by the way) Ryan flips out; flailing out of my arms and screaming down the hallway.  My heart immediately goes heavy. This is not going to be easy, I think to myself.  With all the strength I could muster, I gritted my teeth and grabbed Ryan in my arms.  Trying to restrain tears myself, I try to calm him the best I can.  To the speech therapist's credit, none of Ryan's behavior seemed to bother her.  She calmly got all the activities in order and tried the best she could to get him to concentrate.  What seemed like an eternity of trying to calm Ryan and restrain him enough to concentrate, the OT walks in!  I try to warn her with my face that Ryan is having a terrible day.  As the OT walks in (and she is also magnificent, by the way) Ryan looks at her, then at the speech therapist and FLIPS OUT EVEN MORE!!!  There's tears, coughing, slobber, flailing limbs, red face, SCREAMING NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! Can you picture this?!  :/  In the meantime, my youngest Josiah who is almost 2, is also having a meltdown!  It is almost laughable now, but this was definitely my lowest moment in our session.  I could have broken down and cried in front of the therapists right there.  But for the sake of my 2 flipped out sons, I kept it together.  The OT saw all of this going on and asks Ryan if he wants to get the "big black ball" out of her car.  (She brings a giant-sized exercise ball for Ryan during his sessions.  It strengthens his trunk and does wonders for his speech, stretching out his diaphragm...and things I have no idea about, but it's amazing and seems to work wonders!!!)  So, Ryan goes out with the OT and the speech therapist follows.  I pick up crying Josiah and begin to tear up myself.  All I could do was pray.  "Oh Jesus, I need your help.  This is over my head.  This is way beyond what I can handle.  Why?  Why me?  Why Ryan?"  I begin to think that I am completely unqualified to handle this.  And then the peace of the Holy Spirit comes over me.  After Ryan returns from getting the "big black ball" he is smiling and at peace!  Whew, Thank you, Jesus.  He is mostly cooperative the last part of our session and we move nothing ever happened! 
Why do I question myself in the midst of trial?  Why is it the hardest to see Jesus when you're in the "thick" of it?!  Because you can't depend on YOURSELF anymore!  DING, DING, DING!  When Ryan is cooperative and obeying appropriately to the therapists, I can easily lift myself up and begin saying, "Oh yes, I've been working on that with him...."  or "Oh yes, I'm really focusing on that skill with him!"  Oh, it's just laughable at how prideful I can become.  Yet, what happens when he's completely and undeniably disobedient?  I give up.  I lose hope.  I question.  I doubt.  I need Jesus.  I would like to get to the point that in GOOD AND BAD, I need Jesus.  In GOOD AND BAD, I glorify and praise the one who created Ryan and loves him even more than I could imagine.  Help me, Jesus. 
Thank you for reading my ranting!  :)  Many of these revelations come as I write, which is such a comfort!  You all just get to join in on our chaos and get to be witnesses of our mess!  Ha!  But even in the mess, I will praise the Lord!  :)

Friday, December 28, 2012

"More Understanding" -- December 28, 2012


Hope this blog finds everyone well and relaxing on the other side of the holidays!  Holidays can definitely get stressful with 4 small children, but I really had some good time to reflect on the amazing love of Jesus, the true reason for the season!  :)  So thankful for His amazing grace, guidance, Truth, and love in my times of weakness. 

Life in the Ingold tribe has been really good!!  I have taken some opportunities to read some books about autism and the spectrum.  Interesting reading, for sure!!  I have been reading a book entitled, Look Me In the Eye by John Elder Robison.  It's a self-exploration book of sorts, in which the author tells of his journey with Aspergers (a developmental delay that is under the autism spectrum disorder).  IT IS AMAZING!  Robison discusses his battle with Aspergers before he became aware that he was "different."  He wasn't diagnosed until he was 40!!!!!  Wow.  One thing that really stuck out to me, however, was the fact that Robison longed for friendship.  By his actions, no one would ever know.  Like typical autistic children, Robison played alone, didn't want to talk, didn't look anyone in the eye and just didn't seem engaged in real life.  People started leaving him alone at an early age, thinking that's what he wanted.  But more than anything, he wanted to have a friend.  I think so many times it's easy to just give Ryan "space" when he gets overwhelmed.  It seems like he wants to be left alone, but I now know that it is more like a cry for help.  Instead of trying to get Ryan "out of his world," why don't we try to meet him in his?!  When he flees into the kitchen to play with his countless cars on the kitchen table, why don't we follow him and play the way he wants to play?  He may always remember those special bonding moments, though he may never have the capability to tell us.  We need to remember this.

I'm so thankful Ryan has syblings.  I have been noticing that he has begun to "parrot" them.  This is very typical behavior for people on the autistim spectrum, at least that's what I've been told.  He has been quoting movies for quite some time, but now he has moved on to parroting others.  It can be very funny at times.  Sometimes he won't respond appropriately, but I can tell he is getting there and slowly coming out of his shell.  Here's an example of what I'm talking about:
Before he would parrot, this is how a typical conversation would sound like:
Person:  "Hi Ryan!"
Ryan:  Silence, looking at the ground
Person:  "How are you?"
Ryan:  Silence, looking at the ground
Person:  awkward laughter...person gives up trying.

Now, here's what a conversation might sound like after he has started parroting:
Person:  "Hey Ryan!!"
Ryan:  "Hey Ryan!!"
Person:  "How are you?"
Ryan:  "Hey Ryan!"

LOL!  And we do make this funny because it is!  I'm not disappointed in Ryan one bit!  To me, this is VERY GREAT PROGRESS!  Ryan is actually talking back to the person!  That's huge!  Soon, he will be able to approriately answer those questions!  This is merely practicing his social skills!  I love it! 
The one major thing I have learned through this entire process is....IT'S A PROCESS!  I know, that was deep!  :)  Ryan learns in a completely different way and it's beautiful.  He will learn to appropriately respond to people if we give him time.  We can't get frustrated with his time table.  Sometimes there will be regression and sometimes there will be progression and that has to be ok with us!  I am definitely saying this to ME!  There are times of frustration, sure, and there will always be those times. The one thing I know I have is the guidance of the Holy Spirit that so peacably leads me in the right direction for Ryan and all my kiddos.  It's amazing!  When I am at a loss and I ask the Lord to guide me, HE DOES.  Thank you, Lord.  I don't know how I'd do life without You!

Before I end, I would like everyone to know that I love talking about my Ryan boy!  That's why I have this blog.  I don't and will not keep anything hidden from my other children.  My 3 others know that there is something "different" with Ryan and I will never hide that from them.  We talk about it.  I have used the term autism with them.  The amazing thing I have noticed about the other 3 is they all have amazing compassion for others.  And I believe Ryan has helped them develop that characteristic!  I am an open book to any questions you may have about Ryan!  I am not a professional on the autism spectrum, but I am a professional on Ryan!  Anything you want to know, I can help!!  :)  He is actually one of my favorite topics to discuss!!
We have our "Ry Guy" on purpose, a true mission sent from God.  I pray that I live out this mission to the best of my ability and give God the glory in the midst!   

Hope this New Year brings you much joy!! 

Monday, September 10, 2012

"Regression" - September 10, 2012

Hello All!  So, it shows I have allowed life to get in the way and not blogged about things when I have to remind myself how to work this blog thing!  All these new-fangled ways of communication...I feel so old!  :)

I thought I needed to blog and get some thoughts down last night as I was up with Ryan...yet again.  Lately, he has had a very hard time settling down to sleep.  Once he finally falls asleep in his bed (about 11ish), he wakes up about 2-3am, yelling quotes from movies, squeeling, pounding on the wall, hitting his door against the wall repeatedly, screaming "MOOOOOMMMY!!!" as loud as he can.  Needless to say, I'm worn out.  I have seen quite a few regressions lately and to be very honest, it scares me tremendously.  Ben and I have recently filed for disability through social security and have not heard yet about our situation.  We had to take Ryan to two assessments in order for them to see if we qualified.  The first one was a speech evaluation, which to my surprise actually, Ryan passed with flying colors.  The evaluator said he was on target for his age in his speech production.  She didn't evaluate the context of the speech...just production (how Ryan said words).  The second, was an IQ test.  The evaluator asked Ryan maybe 4 questions, and knew right away she wasn't going to get anywhere with him.  She was quite taken with Ryan, however, and seemed to be very interested in getting me the help we need.  She asked if she could call Madison County schools to see what my legal right was as far as services that we could receive from home!  I told her, "OF COURSE!"  I am in need of any kind of help and guidance.  I believe she came into our lives for a reason. 

The last month, I would say, I have been observing Ryan very closely.  His speech is not improving.  His eye contact is worsening.  He has started walking on his toes (a symptom of autism).  He is getting progressively anxious when going anywhere.  His sleeping patterns are all over the place.  He is becoming very quiet and withdrawn, oftentimes looking into the distance, taking a long time to get get focused back.  I am worried. 

I didn't realize how much I have kept all this worry inside until my very good friend, Rachel Ross, called me this morning and I totally broke down on her!  Sorry, Rach!  :)  Thanks for listening!

I know that God is good and faithful, but sometimes I don't feel it.  I have to trust in the fact that I BELIEVE in Jesus and that His ways are higher than my ways and His thoughts are higher than my thoughts.  BELIEF is all I stand on right now.  I trust in the Lord because He has never left me and He will never leave me.  I see His guidance on this path and I will stand until He tells me to move forward.

Though I have seen these regressions in Ryan, I don't see him (nor will I ever see him) as damaged goods.  He is my son and the Lord specifically designed him to be in this family.  Ben and I are searching for the best for him, but ultimately he is the Lord's and I have to constantly give him back to him.  I will trust in the Lord with all my heart and lean NOT on my own understanding.  In all my ways, acknowlege HIM, AND  HE WILL DIRECT MY PATH.

Thank you, Jesus for your promises.  I will stand upon your Word forever. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

"Progress" -- June 6, 2012

Ok, so since the last time I sat down to blog, the entire blog website has changed and I had to figure out how to work it again!  Haha...I really need to get on here more.  Oh well.  Such is life with 4 small ones running around.  I'm sure most of you reading can say AMEN!  :)

Anyway, things here in the Ingold tribe have been great!  God is good!  Ryan is definitely progressing and Mommy is feeling less and less pressure!  We have figured out that Ryan's memory is AMAZING!  We are starting a new homeschool program called Classical Conversations (for those that don't know, this curriculum is based on the Classical method of teaching through memorization first to build on harder concepts later).  Ryan has already taken to it like a fish to water!  We have the CDs for the first cycle of lessons and he loves it!  I started playing the Presidents of the United States song mostly because I didn't memorize the Presidents myself and wanted to!!  :)  Ryan picked it up in 2 days!!!!  He knew the song better than I did!  It made Ben and I so proud.  I just love that we are figuring his brain out little by little and what we are finding is astounding!  He may not appear to be involved, but oh is he ever!  I can't wait to see where this journey takes us. 

Ryan is still slow in his speech and social interactions, but to think back even a year ago, he has grown leaps and bounds!  Every morning, I have Ryan say "Good Morning" to Gracie, Olivia and Josiah (many times he does this on his own already).  And I make him tell me what he wants for breakfast in a complete sentence.  It's slow-going, but day by day I can see Ryan's eyes twinkling with joy.  He is an amazing young man FULL of potential; potential we have not even begun to touch the surface of yet!  And that's exciting!  It's still discouraging when we compare Ryan to "normal functioning" children his age.  Especially when we have a hard day...that's when questions and doubts pop up.  When those doubts and questions start to run rampant, I have to remind myself that God is not done with Ryan or Ben and I!  We can't focus on what we see here and now.  The bigger picture is what God sees and He knows so much more than we could ever think!  I am glad He knows what He's doing.  And I have to remember that God CHOSE to give Ryan to Ben and I.  Ryan is NO ACCIDENT.  God knew Ben and I were the only parents for the job of taking care of Ryan.  I take that responsibility with great weight!

I would like to take this time to thank all of you that work with Ryan and are not giving up on him.  I know it's hard to put yourself out there for a child that doesn't respond normally.  Please know that he is trying and he WANTS your attention and love.  Thanks for being a hero to a boy who will never forget your face! 

God Bless!       

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Taking Back What's Mine!--April 3, 2012

Whew, I don't know where to start on this new entry.  I am amazed at God's unending grace and mercy as we walk this life.  So many ups and downs through our separate journeys and yet God understands each one of us.  I don't understand it myself, but I stand amazed at this revelation and who HE IS.  Thank you, Jesus.

Ok, I guess I need to give you some background before I start with my newest revelation in autism and understanding Ryan.  This background starts with my own life story.  Hang on tight...this might be a bumpy ride!  :)  I also need to preface this entry by saying we all have our own stories and struggles.  I would encourage you all to dig deep and see why there are some reactions we may have to certain things.  There may be unresolved bitterness, unforgiveness, anger, mourning, etc, that may need to be handled in order to experience TRUE freedom.  This is what I am experiencing in my own life and want to share with the world!  Please forgive me for the rawness and honesty I have, but I think I need to reveal how I am truly feeling, so I can experience true freedom through Christ and through the words of my testimony!  Amen?

On to the story...  :)

So, when I was about 8 years old, I was inappropriately handled by a friend of my brother's who was staying the night at our house.  In that moment of sheer terror and since, satan has used this moment in my life to speak lies of destruction.  As he does with everyone!  His one and only purpose is to kill, steal and destroy everything about us!  So even though I wasn't raped or molested (I truly can't imagine how that must have felt to those of you who have been.  I am truly sorry for the pain that you have gone through!), satan went to work on my inner self.  As soon as the door was open for him to do so, satan began to destroy my self worth, confidence, and ministry!  He would tell me things like, "See, you thought you trusted him, huh??  Well, who can you trust now?  No men are to be trusted.  You really wanted this to happen, didn't you?  You are worthless.  You are ugly.  Men only want one thing.  Might as well stay silent.  No one will listen to you.  Gross, look at your body.  You are nasty."  Whew, and this started at 8 years old!  By the time I reached my 20s, I hardly looked any man in the eye.  I was petrified by the way I handled myself with a man.  Did he think I was too forward?  Is he going to do something to me?  The reason I am telling you all this is to shed light on the darkness!  Satan does this with everyone!!!!  He is a liar and I want him to pay for the destruction he has done to me and most of you!!!  Let's be free!
Ok, so how does this relate to Ryan and autism?  Hang on, I am definitely getting there!  Stay with me.
So, whenever I have breakthrough in my life when it comes to my security in Christ and self-confidence, satan does an "over-haul" on Ryan.  I went to the Foursquare Women's Conference in Louisville this past weekend!  AND.OH.MY.WORD!  God spoke so plainly to me and wants me to know He is poising both Ben and I for ministry.  He is working and moving towards what that ministry is going to look like in our lives.  But I could tell that He is working on my heart most of all during this time.  I am experiencing more and more freedom through Him and walking in boldness when it comes to the Gospel of Jesus Christ!  It's awesome!  But guess who hates this?!?!?  Satan!  So, I came home from just an amazing time listening to the Holy Spirit's gentle voice...and I crash into a deep, dark depression the next day!  I hate satan!  Yes, we have our choice to get out of that pit, but boy, it's HARD SOMETIMES!  So, I am trudging along, trying to remember the wonderful things God revealed to me and I am just getting pummeled in the Spirit.  I dont' know which way is up and which way is down!  All of a sudden my insecurities from my past come flooding to me!  I begin to question Ben about his purity.  I am angry at him.  In fact, we had play practice last night for an Easter play my church is putting on and as we were heading home, I lash out!  I begin questioning his integrity with such harshness, Ryan starts to have a meltdown in the backseat of our van.  What I have noticed with Ryan is he is so sensitive to spiritual things.  Interesting, huh?  But as I was processing all this, the Lord brought this revelation to me.  Ryan is ultra sensitive to light, sound, touch, etc...why wouldn't he be ultra-sensitive to spiritual things?  What an amazing gift that he has for the Holy Spirit, but also he will recognize when satan is getting in there, too.  Because boy, the whole time I was getting angry with Ben about MY OWN self-worth issues, Ryan is having a hard time controlling his emotions.  The Holy Spirit kept whispering to me, "Nicole, do you see what you are letting satan
God is revealing more and more things about Ryan to me and I think this is going to be very important for our future;  to know how sensitive he is to the spiritual battles we go through on a daily basis.  I want to teach him how to discern when to fight in the spiritual battles and when to cry out to the Lord for help.  My eyes were definitely opened last night and I am very excited/interested to see how God uses this gift that Ryan has for His good purposes.  I am so grateful for my children and the gifts God has placed inside each of them.  As mothers and fathers, it's our job to recognize the giftings each child has and begin complimenting them, nurturing them, pulling them out so others can be encouraged and ultimately be saved.  We have been entrusted to raise this next generation of leaders.  What an amazing opportunity!  Let's use our weaknesses/strengths to recognize how God wants to use us and our family for HIS GOOD PURPOSES. 

Thank you, Jesus for your unconditional love.  It amazes me everyday.  Continue to reveal your TRUTH to us everyday as we try to make sense of this world around us.  You are my all in all.  In Jesus' Name I pray, Amen!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

"Lessons" February 16, 2012

So, for some reason I have felt compelled to write a specific blog about the lessons I have learned during this journey with Ryan.  I think it will be for me in the future when I am having a "down" day and need some encouragement, so bare with me as I reflect on this journey thus far and the lessons that have naturally come about!

Lesson 1:  Mourning is natural when dealing with a special needs child.  There are days when I ask God, "why???"  And that's OK!  I have learned that it's not bad to have an off day, but to ALWAYS communicate with the Lord about my questions as well as my husband.  If we can't communicate, bitterness can definitely breed!  If I let bitterness in, then Ryan suffers.  That just can't happen! 

Lesson 2:  NEVER compare Ryan with another child!!!!!!  God does NOT make junk.  Yes, science has tried to explain the different phenomenons that occur during pregnancy/delivery and whatnot, but I truly believe what the Bible says about HIM knitting each person together in the womb.  I BELIEVE that Ryan was made specifically for Ben and I.  I can't compare him with a "normal functioning" child because God WANTS him to function just the way He made him.  Is that difficult to understand???  OF COURSE IT IS!  Especially on those days that Ryan has meltdowns every 10 seconds!  Yes, I have questioned this many times.  But the lesson I have learned is maybe God made Ryan the way he is to teach Ben and I how to react to certain situations that we wouldn't have otherwise!  Another difficult pill to swallow, but it's going down slowly and we are realizing Ryan's abilities and inabilities are a gift from above!  We won't and can't compare! 

Lesson 3:  Mommy needs some "me time"!  There are days that I feel like "SUPER-MOM", fighting off germs, dirty laundry,  dishes and poopy diapers all with a smile and pearls...THEN there are days that I feel like the scum of the earth, dragging myself from task to task, in my nasty pajamas, counting down the, seconds that Ben will be home! Those days used to make me the nastiest person...ASK BEN!  hahahaha!  We have both learned that if "momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!!!!"  True story!  So, Ben, being the most amazing husband in the world, allows me to go out and do something for me when I need to!!  I LOVE doing zumba here in Berea, which is totally my outlet!!!!  It helps get my perspective back as well as dance my frustrations out!  He also tells me to go out and get a Sonic drink or just something totally selfish that takes 5 minutes and that out time allows me talk to God and have clarity in my thoughts.  I know, I know...what an amazing husband, right?  Yah, I know!  He's a keeper!

Lesson 4:  People may never be able to understand Ryan...and that's ok.  Before I was a mom, I had this thought that all my children would be completely perfect!  HA!  It's laughable now to think I actually thought that way....because if we are all completely honest, children were made to make us humble!  I know you have examples of times where your children said something or wore something that completely embarassed you!!!  LOL...I know God is up in Heaven smirking when that happens because we are not supposed to be perfect!!!!!  Our faults actually can make GREAT testimonies!  So, when Ryan is in a social setting and he is aggitated or doesn't respond the way people think that he should, I have to allow those times to be teaching moments for Ryan and MOMMY!  I can't just let shame rule and forget about my amazing, gifted child that can feel my embarassement radiate.  He needs to see that Love rules in our home always.  Yes, he knows there are consequences to certain actions, but those consequences are always out of love and NOT shame!

Lesson 5:  I am still learning!  All these lessons I mentioned are still works in progress!!  I am walking this journey one step at a time.  One thing I know for sure is Ryan has made Ben and I the happiest parents in the world.  He is the sweetest, most sympathetic, sensitive little boy...once you get to know him, that is!!!  I love it when he just rests his head on my shoulder (his idea of a hug!).  I know there is intelligence in him and I am still trying to challenge him, but it will take time!  I ask that everyone involved in Ryan's life have patience with me!  Help me pull him out of his shell.  He may never look you in the eye or respond to you, but he is in there and he wants love just as much as anyone!  Keep saying hi and don't give up on him.  One day we will see the fruit! 
Love and Hugs!!!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

"Attachment for January 27th Post" -- January 28, 2012

So, my mom was reading in her Bible the morning she read my "Walmart" blog and the verse she was reading fits INCREDIBLY perfect for the previous blog I posted.  When I see God fit things together I am just amazed at His goodness and faithfulness....SO, I just have to share!!!!

Psalm 27:13-14
I would have lost heart, unless I had believed 
That I would see the goodness of the LORD
In the land of the living.

Wait on the LORD;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the LORD!

Thanks, mom!!!!!  You are always an encourager in the Word of TRUTH!  Love you so much.