Please welcome Noela with all of us here at Overcoming Through Time - With God's Help
In her recently released book ‘Hunter’s Prize’, Marcia Gruver writes about the difficulties a young Autistic boy called Ceddy faced, as well as the challenges it presented to those who cared for him. I have experienced some of those challenges myself with my son Nathan who was diagnosed with Asperger’s (a higher functioning type of Autism) when he was four years old. And it’s with much gratitude of God’s love and grace that I can share that he is now a 17 year old boy who has largely overcome the many obstacles and challenges from having Asperger’s Syndrome. He will be finishing High School soon with mostly A’s and numerous awards from over the years; has almost completed a 20 day Work Experience this year at a local Timber Sheeting store, proving that he can work hard and responsibly; and now has his Learner’s License and will be learning to drive soon. All are huge achievements for Nathan – and things that were too hard for us to even imagine when he was younger.
Like Ceddy, Nathan had many obsessions during his younger years. As a baby, he was obsessed with cars, white goods, vacuum cleaners, and irons! So utterly entranced by cars, he would frequently watch them out the window. Or he would want to sit in our car or stand up on the seat holding the steering wheel, while it was in the driveway… for hours!! The clothes iron… would evoke widened eyes and cause his whole body to literally tremble with excitement whenever he saw it. Who knew an iron could produce such pleasure?!
But those obsessions weren’t particularly what I would call challenges… nor these ones when he was a toddler… that is, unless you would call it a challenge if you weren’t allowed to sit on your own lounge chair… because it was a ‘car park for a Shopping Centre’ or have to side-step a hall-way full of F1 toy cars on their ‘starting grid’, every day! Or side step his emptied Piggy Bank, with all of his coins spread out in an intricate and symmetrical pattern for him to count!
No, the greater difficulties that Nathan’s Asperger’s presented to us was the anxiety and stress that he would go through when trying to make sense of a world, that was not only confusing but filled with too much noise, too many smells, too many new changes and way too many people! In short, Nathan’s Asperger’s caused him to frequently have a ‘sensory overload’. These challenges were highlighted more so when he went to school. In the early years, any change to his routine made him anxious and upset. The noise in the classroom was a problem often and he sometimes resorted to hiding under his desk when it all became too much. Once he refused to go into the School Hall because of a smell (that only he could smell!) and many, many more instances such as these plagued his early learning years.
At home, his sensory problems were evident in his growing list of strong aversions to foods, and even simple things like cleaning his teeth or washing his hair were a source of stress for him.
One of his ‘obsessions’ was swinging on a strong rope tied to a large Torelliana tree in our backyard, but this particular activity was actually very therapeutic for him after a stressful day at school.
We are so grateful that we’ve been able to raise him up in a godly home… because he was then covered by prayer, God’s grace, and so much love! And those things, as we’ve found from experience, were the best foundation a child with Asperger’s could ever have! Through God’s amazing grace and abundant blessings, he was blessed with the best teacher for every year of his primary school years. Along with a parent’s guidance, school plays an extremely important part in these kids’ lives. And Nathan’s teachers all loved, understood and accepted him, while helping him to excel even more.
And over time through God’s help, both at school and at home, he’s grown more confident and less anxious every single year. He may not be the most social person but he knows how to talk to both friends and adults well. I’m just amazed really, every time I look at him and see how far he’s come. He is now very strong emotionally and has developed an amazing sense of empathy, which is something Autistic people can be greatly lacking in. He makes me laugh every single day, and he can never do enough to help. He’s even incredibly chivalrous! In short, Nathan is my hero… but one I’m forever indebted to God for.
By Noela Nancarrow, Guest contributor
This was supposed to be Noela Nancarrow's first post with us as a guest. But while we have been waiting for this guest post, we have gotten to know Noela pretty well and she is now an official member of the Overcoming Through Time - With God's Help team. Help us welcome Noela to the blog as a contributor!!!
GIVEAWAY: We have a giveaway box of treats this week including angels (e.g., a little white teddy bear angel with gold trim, angel ornament, and angel mantel sitter, Earl Gray tea packets, and some other goodies!)