Sunday, August 19, 2007

What Autistic Girls Are Made Of

What Autistic Girls Are Made Of is an excellent piece published in the NYT Magazine earlier this month that explores the differences between boys and girls with autism. As stated in this rare gem, girls and women on the spectrum are a grossly under researched and under served subset in the autism community.

I found the descriptions of young girls with Asperger's and autism to be accurate reflections of my experience as the mother of two girls on the spectrum.

I enjoyed the piece and was grateful to see some attention being turned to girls and women. I have speculated for years that the ratio of 4:1, boys: girls, is not a figure that has been irrefutably proven as fact. I think it is far more likely that females are simply undiagnosed or misdiagnosed because they present differently than their male counterparts and societal norms allow for their unique traits to be overlooked more easily.

I have to admit that the accounts of what young women face were not exactly encouraging. I cried a little bit, both for those girls and my own. All Jimmy and I can do is keep fighting for them and working with them. I know that their futures are secure in the Lord. That He has not carried them this far only to abandon them at the precipice of adulthood. Despite understanding these truths intellectually, my heart heaves when I think about what the future could hold for them.

For our family.

For me.

How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and every day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?

Look on me and answer, O LORD my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death;

my enemy will say, "I have overcome him,"
and my foes will rejoice when I fall.

But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.

I will sing to the LORD,
for he has been good to me.

Psalm 13:2-6

Sunday, August 12, 2007


My brother took the girls to the circus today. This is an annual outing that the girls really look forward to, and afterwards talk about, until the next year's outing.

Today, my usual routes to get the girls from here to there were all closed, so I ended up going the "long way."

The "long way" included a stretch of highway that I drove for two years between our home and the therapy center where both girls had ABA therapy. As we drove "the long way" to my brother's house today, we passed a faded IHOP billboard featuring a tall stack of pancakes.

I had forgotten about this billboard until we passed it today.

For two years, Abby had to see this roadside pictorial. When I say she had to see it, I mean she HAD to see it.

It was part of our driving ritual for Abby to spot this billboard. If she missed it for any reason, I had to take the next exit, loop around, re-enter the highway and drive past it again so that she could call out, "PANCAKES!" Otherwise the remaining three miles were comprised of extreme shrieking and tantruming.

Why Abby needed this billboard of pancakes was always a mystery. She had never eaten at IHOP and didn't like pancakes. Nonetheless, this billboard remained a huge thorn for a year and some change.

Today when we drove past it, inexplicably and for what remains an unidentifiable reason, I burst into tears. Huge, messy sobbing tears.

It was so bizarre. I could no more tell you then, than I can now, why that sun bleached billboard featuring a stack of pancakes created such a reaction in me, anymore than I could tell you why that billboard, though brighter at the time, consistently provoked a similar reaction in Abby for two years.

Autism is so weird.

"Can you fathom the mysteries of God?
Can you probe the limits of the Almighty?

They are higher than the heavens—what can you do?
They are deeper than the depths of the grave—what can you know?"

Job 11:7-8

Friday, August 03, 2007

Isn't it ironic

I recently posted that my girls now "know" that they have autism. I say "know" because while they understand that the word applies to them, they do not know what it really means.

Today, we were leaving Super Target and I heard Emma Jean singing to herself, though rather loudly. I asked her for an encore and she obliged singing:

"I love my autism.
I love my autism.
I am superb at remembering facts, but making friends is so abstract.
I love my autism."

This was sung to the tune of a bible song called, "What an Awesome God We Serve."


Later, they were sitting at the dinner table of a friend's house when Abby abruptly asked for a show of hands of everyone who had autism. My friend has one son on the spectrum and one daughter who is NT. The NT daughter kept insisting that she was autistic. She just couldn't stand being left out.

I fear our little discussions as of late may have unintentionally created autism elitists.


After an all-night march from Gilgal, Joshua took them by surprise.
Joshua 10:9
  • International Day of Prayer for Autism & Asperger's Syndrome