Sunday, November 15, 2009

Nathan











I took this picture of Nathan yesterday and thought it turned out so nice. He has really shot up the past few months and is taller than me. We've had our challenges with him this past year and it's been a hard road.

However, God is faithful. He has used bad circumstances to help us learn more of the extent of Nathan's disabilities. We have an official diagnosis from both a psychologist and a neurologist of autistic spectrum disorder. It is interesting because there were so many times over the years that the word, autism, would cross my mind but then I would think, "A doctor would have told me that."

However, Nathan is obviously on the higher functioning end of autism. Most people don't notice anything out of the ordinary with him superficially. However, after spending any amount of time with him, you will notice things such as garbled speech, he doesn't make good eye contact, he has no relationships with his peers, he gets very stressed out with change and crowds. He is obsessed with different things and will talk about those things over and over again. His latest obsession is trucks. He talks about them, draws them, looks up pictures of them on the internet, builds them with legos. This will last for a week or two and then he'll be on to something else.

He has a child-like quality about him that can be endearing. When he gets home from school, he will ride his bike around the parking lot next door and pretend to be a policeman. At times he exhibits normal 18 year old behavior and then at other times he reacts to things like a much younger child would (about 7-8 years old at times). He can be very sweet and compliant. He is very eager to please which can be a problem because he can get taken advantage of very easily.

Nathan has an appointment with a geneticist on November 30th. They will be doing genetic and metabolic testing on him so that we can figure out exactly where the problem lies. Nathan is also still dealing with tics for Tourette's Syndrome. This is something that perplexes us as well because no one in either side of the family has this and yet, it is supposed to be hereditary. So is it really Tourette's or is it something else causing the tics?

There are so many questions and unfortunately, nothing is clear cut with Nathan's case. However, we are slowly getting answers.

In the meantime, he is doing well in school. He is talking to other teens though it seems to be fairly one-sided. I mean they have conversations but he is not really developing relationships with them. He is much more comfortable with adults. He is making better eye contact and his teachers and the school psychologist are working with him on developing proper social behavior and learning to read social cues.

It's been hard because things are different for Dan & my future than we envisioned. Nathan will be living with us for many more years. I have a difficult time remembering that he is not functioning on a normal 18 year old level so I expect things from him that he is not always able to give.

However, God has seen fit to give Nathan to us. He obviously feels we can handle this situation. I do get overwhelmed, discouraged and depressed at times. However, I know that the Lord does not give us more than we can bear so those feelings come but they are not constant.

We love Nathan and though are lives are different than our friends, we wouldn't change it at all!