Monday, March 11, 2013

Time Flies When You're Havin' Fun!

Wow! I can't believe how long it's been since I posted ANYTHING here! I have so much to tell you!! It may have to be in segments since I only have a few minutes at the time these days....

I've been having a blast with my baking business. It's called Darlene's Kitchen, in case I haven't annoyed you enough with my facebook posts to make it stick in your head :) I've been attending farmers markets, appearing on live TV, and as a guest on the cooking stage at the Birmingham Home and Garden Show. I have also been baking "add-ons" for a produce co-op business a friend of mine runs. It's been a busy life for the past couple of years!

When my mother passed away almost 3 years ago, I found myself wallowing around in self-pity. A lot of other stressful events occurred around the same time, so it was easy to rationalize my actions (crying--a lot, staying home--a lot, complaining--a lot...get the picture? now let it go. it's not a pretty sight). Instead of staying in the muck, I slowly pulled out of it and began to immerse myself in my baking business. Not only has it helped to give me another good reason to get out of bed each day, but it has also helped clarify some things I had been trying to figure out. Lots of praying will do that for a person. Trust me on that one.

About 6 years ago (or so) my son Will gradually stopped talking, not just to others, but to me, too. I never thought that would happen. He had always talked, especially to me. We had a hard time getting him to quiet down sometimes, especially at bedtime. So, this has been heartbreaking for him to verbally shut down.

For years I've been praying for specific help for Will. A couple of months ago, I decided to start calling around for a speech therapist (again). I'd done it several times before, got frustrated and let it drop (many times). This time, I was determined. Feeling bolder and more focused (refer back to "lots of praying"), I sat down with several phone numbers I had retrieved from the phone book and Internet searches and punched in the first number. After an afternoon of calling, getting referrals for other professionals ("sorry, we don't have anyone trained/qualified to work with your son, but let me give you another number to try" was a common phrase... for hours). I put the lists aside for a while, had a good long cry and went to bed. Will needed help "finding" his voice again. Plain and simple, right? Not really. I got back up the next morning with a goal. Get Will some help TODAY! I wasn't going to stop until I had at least an appointment with someone familiar with Down Syndrome and Autism. Both of them. In the same person. I found her in the most obvious place to look- at the Adult Down Syndrome Clinic at UAB. I had called there a few years ago, right after it first opened and they were not staffed with anyone we needed services from. Now they are. I don't even remember anymore what made me try them again. It just happened.

In January, Will and I met with an amazing psychologist (very familiar with what is going on with Will's lack of communication now) and a Speech and Language Pathologist (not as helpful, but not all her fault). Will immediately bonded with the Doc. She has a British accent which Will must have thought was pretty darn cool. I learned that what has happened to Will's verbal skills lately is common for adults with Down's and with Autism. He has both. Letting him continue to live in silence is not an option though. So, we are learning other ways to communicate that don't require Will to have to "talk", until he is ready again. It has been so motivating for all of us, including Will. He's still not using his "voice," but we are hearing him now, loud and clear.

"Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great."

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