Friday, August 12, 2011

Life with Asperger’s

Hope in Horses and Gardens

This evening when we came home from work, my husband and I settled down in the living room to plan our evening. My son bustled around doing his chores and chattering each time he passed. Finally, his chores finished, he announced he was going out to climb a tree.

Tree climbing is somewhat new to him. About a year and a half ago, he used to climb the lower branches with one of his classmates, but was never more than six feet off the ground. But since she moved away, he stopped climbing altogether. He is so sensitive to, well, everything! Hot, cold, soft, scratchy, taste, sounds, so many things that just being outside seemed to irritate him. Then he started riding horses.

Therapeutic Horseback Riding. I can still remember our first day. He was bright and alert, taking things in. He followed instructions and chose a safety helmet to wear. Then he watched as another child climbed into the saddle from the ramp and he froze. He then drew close and stepped a bit behind me. “I don’t think I can do this!” he whispered. They called his name next, so I turned and said “It’s your turn.” I saw him take a deep breath and walk toward the ramp. He climbed in the saddle and the teacher stopped and looked at him. She started to speak to him, too soft for the rest of us to hear. I saw him nod, then relax a bit and they were off. He was never afraid again. That was almost a year ago.

Now, he asks to jump in the pool without others swimming with him. This summer he finally taught himself to ride a bike. Once this week I caught him shooting hoops with the kids at camp.  And now, he climbs our oak trees. Not the low branches, six feet from the ground, but straight up high fifteen feet in the air, I think a tree house is in order.

 He is so proud of the ribbons he won riding in last years’ Challenge Show. He also wears his boots and helmet whenever he can. He loves visiting the other animals at the stables too: chickens, rabbits, pigs, but his favorites are the goats! He visits with them and brings them treats after his ride.

It’s wonderful to see him in the great outdoors! Otherwise, he is tending to his passion, reading, or playing video games like other kids his age. He has grown in so many ways. He also started playing chess with anyone who will play with him.

Now if I can just control the food he eats a bit more. It’s so frustrating. Every time I think we are doing well, I find some new ingredient or something in food that I once trusted. That’s why I want to grow as much of our food as I can. Then I know where it came from and that no pesticides were sprayed on it. And I am enjoying it too. Seems I enjoy getting my hands dirty.

And caring for the earth. The soil in my yard is getting better all the time. Every load of compost I dump into my garden makes the soil darker and hold the moisture better. It’s taking a while, but I am growing things we enjoy the way God intended. I feel so blessed! Having my son has opened my eyes to a better life for all of us.

“As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter,
day and night will never cease.”

Genesis 8:22

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