Two steps forward...

The summer is nearly over. I will soon be back in school, but our family has enjoyed some wonderful time together in the last couple of months.

Alan went with us to visit family this summer. What fun he had! He joked and laughed with us, was engaged most of the time, and enjoyed all our sightseeing and family meals. Alan slept all night and was awake all day during our four days on the road. But on our way back, he slept all the way. This is not unusual, since he tends to sleep when he is facing a major transition.

When we got him home, he wanted to go back to his apartment. I was a little worried, and for good reason, it turns out, because he has had some behavior incidents in the week since we have been back.

For a while, he was doing really well, and this is probably not a major setback, but I still get this feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach when Alan acts out like this.

Here are the issues I find we face over and over: Alan sees the world as revolving around him, which is typical of those with developmental delay/autism. He does not realize that he has to share, wait, not interrupt when someone is talking. When he gets frustrated, he tends to become combative. He is a large man, and this can be intimidating for people around him.

We also had a very frank discussion with Alan's counselor. After a year of counseling, Alan has not had a significant change in his behavior. Medicaid rules will not allow him to continue in counseling. The counselor will need to stop seeing him soon. We also talked about placement, and although the counselor had previously stated that he thought Alan needed to be in a more restrictive environment, he now agrees that Alan is in the best place we can find. It is not perfect, but it is the best we can do. Our challenge now, is to find a psychiatrist who will manage Alan's medications. This will not be easy. We have some names.

We are also going to check out facilities outside our state for Alan, since we feel that he will need a different placement in the future. This is not because anyone has said anything to that effect, but one thing we have learned the hard way - we have to anticipate the need for change.

I sometimes think that I've had enough events to last me a lifetime. But that is not what God has handed to us. Alan is such a sweet and wonderful man. Often, his behavior gets in the way of who he really is. This is such a paradox - one that we bump up against again and again.

But here's the light - the one thing I hold on to. God knows all this, it does not take him by surprise, he is not "thrown" by behavior. God loves Alan, and has a plan for him. He will give us wisdom, will make a "roadway in the wilderness; rivers in the desert." We don't face this alone.


  1. Debbie,

    Your comments hit close to home. The issues of "future" are on my mind alot. Thanks for sharing your story with us.


  2. I am sorry Alan is having difficulty since returning from your trip. He WAS delightful when he was here visiting! We love you all. You are always in our prayers, and I really appreciate your blogs, as they give me some insight into the things you face and also as to what you pray about in regard to you. Was that a run-on sentence? I think so. But you get my meaning. Love you so much!


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