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When Inches Become Miles

August 15, 2011

by Sarena James

Artwork Raphael James onaisle9.com

When Inches Become Miles

As with any journey, you start counting down the miles as soon as you know the destination. When our son was diagnosed with Autism though, our road map suddenly seemed to point nowhere; or maybe it’s that it pointed everywhere, and there was no clear cut direction. One thought and theory intersected the next and honestly, we weren’t sure what to think of his future. With many questions in tow, we slowly began traveling life by the inch.

Letting go of the comparisons of his typically developing peers was painful, but holding on to them proved to hurt even more.  Can he learn?  That was our number one question.  Raphael and I, along with his early interventionist, teachers, and therapists, formed a new map with new roads, but kept the destination the same; that Grant would reach the point that he could communicate well and interact socially. He has progressed amazingly in both areas.

This summer he held down a 28-hour scheduled week. He attended a fun-filled camp engaging in activities such as painting, water sports, and library outings.  There was Applied Behavioral Analysis Therapy (ABA) daily, and Speech and Language Therapy weekly. In just eight weeks, he has added over 30 words to his vocabulary, applying them appropriately. He is learning to talk in three-word sentences and even learning a few new songs.

There are frequent celebrations at our house as more and more words are showing up for the party. Every week, another word R.S.V.P’s and when it shows up, thankfully, it stays.  

Inches later, Grant has covered many miles.  Without hesitation he writes his name, the name of several really cool cars, his sisters’ names, and numbers 1-82 (he ran out of chalkboard space). He knows his colors, and shapes, and his address.

Can he learn?  Sometimes the beauty of an answered question is not just in the answer you hope to receive; sometimes the purest beauty is in who answers the question for you.  Grant has been answering that question for us for over two years!

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Marilyn permalink
    August 16, 2011 3:35 pm

    This is such a beautiful and inspiring article of what faith and hope can do, one that almost brings tears to the eyes of the reader. Grant is signally blessed to have two parents who didn’t give up at the point of diagnosis, but who instead have chosen to find new pathways for him. Your love for your son is evident. May God continually give both mother and father the strength and guidance to keep going until the journey ends. By the way, the picture is so very appropriate for the title of the article. Yes, there is incongruency in the idea of a tape-measure along the wide road meant for speeding. But the truth is that if you can just keep going, you will finally arrive. Sarena and Raphael, the two of you make quite a team as writer and photographer. Good job. “Onaisle9.com” is a great website for families seeking to support their loved ones along the way.

  2. August 16, 2011 12:01 am

    Such blessing Sarena!!!! The journey has just begun and I’m looking forward to seeing what Gods does with our children. Our kids will continue to shock doctors, teachers, therapist and strangers. It’s a lot of work but benefits priceless. Stay strong and continue sharing. I am truly inspired!!!

  3. August 15, 2011 6:41 pm

    So wonderful Sarena! Thank you for sharing Grant’s progress! Our kids will continue to do great things! This is only the beginning!!

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