To start our sessions now I usually give Jake the option of choosing what we will do (i.e.”do you have an idea for today?”) or if he wants me to give him choices. Today he pointed to the “J” on the letter board indicating had an idea, so I said “awesome, go ahead…” and he spelled out:
Jake: Not really sure about most stupid hearing how not learn most to control most hate heart myself, not allowed healing in this life.
Mom(Tara/Me): Ok, so do you want to write a story entry? Or do you want to have a conversation?
Jake points to the “C” indicating conversation.
Mom : If your heart has strong hate that’s hard to get rid of – would you say that it’s actually “healed”? No matter what your body can do…..cause there’s plenty of people who do not have autism, but are still crippled in this life by hate.
Jake: Dealing eagerness in not getting hate about autism only too hard, not seem possible.
Mom: I admire your willingness to look at your heart. That takes courage, because it means you’re taking responsibility for your own feelings and life. And it takes courage because it can be scary when you don’t like what you see. I like learning that the truth is that with God we can heal and come out stronger as we learn and grow.
Jake: How to do that is the life most interest hard challenge, I have not still most healed my heart.
Mom: Healing is a process, and it can be a mysterious process. I believe God has designed our bodies to heal, if we take care of them – and I believe the same thing about our hearts, minds, and souls.
Jake: I eager to take care of my heart. Not hurt it worse.
Mom: So important.
Jake: Nice not hurting myself having so much anger about my lack of abilities. Ceasing interest in having hate got autism is too hard sometimes, have habit seems God is not helping me heal.
Mom: God gives us control over certain things, but other things are not in our control. So that’s something we learn – where do we have control? I’m sure, over your life so far, you’ve felt more pressure than most to learn control over your body when it was out of your control. And you’ve probably used your anger to get more control. So you were trying to help yourself. Now you’re realizing that’s a habit that wasn’t helpful. So I see God as bringing that realization to light.
Jake: Most surely, that is true. I eager more healing. Eager to have most habit of love.
Mom: That reminds me of Joyce Meyer’s recommendation in the book we’re reading (Get Your Hopes Up!) to replace bad habits with good habits. So the first step is your awareness that you have a bad habit you don’t want to continue, and the 2nd step is thinking of what you want to do instead. If you catch yourself starting on hate yourself thought habit, what could you do instead?
Jake: Most need to instead have healing love thought, not need to have hate dealing myself, it not help only makes things worse.
Mom: Want to make a list of healing thoughts to replace your hate thoughts?
Jake: Still only have need interest in love, so only I have eagerness to make list.
At this point our 70 minute timer had gone off, so I suggested we take a 5 minute break and come back to make the list. Jake was all for that idea, it is hard for him to sit and focus on letter boarding for long periods. He came back without hesitation, and I asked him how many hate thoughts he wanted to address. He pointed to the 1 and the 0 (10). I was fascinated as we flowed right through his list of “hate thoughts” (all his wording) & then a counter “love thought” that he came up with, and I came up with a counter love thought as well. This process took at least another hour, so this was one of our longest sessions to date (insert smiley face)!
Jake’s Hate Thought #1: Most stupid to not have ability to talk.
Jake: Healing talk isn’t most said, not important.
Mom: Communication is way more complex than just the ability to say words, listening is even more important than talking.
Jake’s Hate Thought #2: Most reality is not dealing having autism.
Jake: Dealing gets interesting God’s help.
Mom: We can’t always choose our challenges, but we can always choose our approach to our challenges.
Jake’s Hate Thought #3: Not most important reality of autism.
Jake: Most my reality means have life eager to learn Lord’s purpose.
Mom: What God values in our lives is not what people always value. God’s love isn’t limited by autism.
Jake’s Hate Thought #4: Mean to interest others each having interest they ability to do more than I do.
Jake: Most glad only some reality has autism.
Mom: Each one of us can only do our best, and God wants us to learn from each other and help each other.
Jake’s Hate Thought #5: I can’t have a normal life.
Jake: More important to have love in my heart than normal.
Mom: “Normal” is different for each of us, because we are each created unique.
Jake’s Hate Thought #6: I eager to heal. Not interested eagerness to most have autism, eagerness to not have autism.
Jake: Having keep facing autism is eagerness interest healing inside soul.
Mom: Accepting what you can’t control is the first step to directing your power to growing the things you can control – patience, persistence, love, joy, hope, wisdom. These are worth more in the long run!
Jake’s Hate Thought #7: Healing eagerness seems too stupid.
Jake: Eagerness to heal my heart means love is my priority.
Mom: Healing eagerness is a natural and wise journey, no matter what challenge we face.
Jake’s Hate Thought #8: Most not mean others interested really knowing me, since I can’t talk.
Jake: Need to communicate I am really smart, getting more capable at letter board.
Mom: Might be harder for others to get to know you, but the people who take the time to get to know you will be so blessed. You are an amazing person.
Jake’s Hate Thought #9: Have most meaningful interests to eagerly help others, hard without abilities.
Jake: Have some abilities, not totally helpless.
Mom: Absolutely, your best is always good enough. We can always strive to keep growing. It’s awesome you’re eager to help others.
Jake’s Hate Thought #10: Hard to not have interests in same things not autistic people do.
Jake: Not have same life so not need to have same interests.
Mom: You have more in common with people than you or even they realize, the more skilled you get at communicating your thoughts, the clearer this fact becomes.
To finish we read through the 10 hate thoughts and the counter love thoughts, and I asked Jake what he thought about this exercise.
Jake: Most helpful to stretch my mind towards more loving thoughts.
At the age of 22 he began expressing his very personal thoughts and feelings more fluently with me (his mom), and it was his idea to begin writing “The Story of My Life” one day. He is diagnosed with severe autism as well as intermittent explosive disorder. He has given me permission to share his story and our conversations.
Jake continually expresses his desire to “find purpose” to his life…I hope his willingness to share will help others learn about this misunderstood condition known as “autism” that has so much to teach us all.