Ido In Autismland

There are many people in our lives that don’t even know how they affect us, or help us.

Ido is one of those people for me.

I read about Ido a few years ago when his book came out titled Ido in Autismland. There was an article about him and I was directed to his blog. At the time we were working with Landon and I was beginning to wonder why certain things were not working any more. Landon’s last year of ABA he was downright protesting. How does a non-verbal protest? By purposefully picking ALL THE WRONG ANSWERS. He knew how to work the system and just wasn’t moving anywhere. He just wasn’t happy.

And then as a special needs parent you are left asking yourself, “Well, what am I suppose to do now?” Everyone–teachers, friends, family knew that Landon was intelligent. (And sometimes sneaky.) But where would he flourish? As he graduated preschool we had some hard decisions to make. He qualified for the all day autism program that that school district offered. He got into the Spectrum Academy they built not a mile from our house. He was also accepted into Porter’s school, just a regular charter school with regular students.

And here I was reading Ido, and something really stuck with me. He recalled being trapped in therapy sessions where he was forced to review the ABC’s over and over again, when reality he was trapped in his body and couldn’t tell people that he could read advanced material. He talked about the disconnect he felt to his body, yet his mind was sharp, alert, and absorbing everything around him. These insights impressed me, and in fact stressed me out because I developed an enormous fear that Landon would feel trapped by what we would decide for him. I wanted him to be happy.

So we looked at the options, and prayed, and looked, and prayed and freaked out. Mostly I freaked out because I felt drawn to the charter school, and it didn’t seem to make any sense. Why would I turn away from all the therapists and social summer programs and therapies and experts that these other alternatives had to offer??? I feared that I would cheat Landon of opportunities he needed. I worried he would regress.

What won over though was the calm feeling I got from prayer to my Heavenly Father. I remember one particular prayer where all I could say is, “Thous knowest Landon, and Thou knowest what is best for him. Please guide me to understand.” So—- we put it all in His hands. We took that leap of faith into the unknown without our support groups and ventured into uncharted territory. The journey this year has not been without struggle: (like the Momma Gets Called Into the Principles Office Incident–which I just realized I never actually wrote about. It must have been too traumatic at the time.), and sometimes I still drop him off in the morning with a prayer in my heart that everyone will survive, but as we come to the last month of school I can say one fact for certain. Landon is Happy.

I know if you have read anything here you know that we have witnessed a lot of growth and miracles this year. and I have only one acknowledgement: The Lord knows Landon and He knew what was best for him. He provided teachers and aids with an enormous capacity to love. He allowed Landon to be exposed to math, science, social studies, music, and art. He provided him with a host of typical friends who embrace and adore him. And in turn I see Landon growing, and changing with the expectations that these wonderful people give him.

I still worry, and am trying to get over that. I’m just thankful that my little treasure is watched over every day by a higher power. And I still pray that Father in Heaven will continue to help make up the difference between what we are able to do and what is needed.

I think the Lord also sent me Ido, that I would understand better. I’m thankful to him for sharing his experiences, and hope one day Landon might do the same.

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