Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Elijah's Cup

FYI: In Judaism, Elijah's cup, is the fifth ceremonial cup of wine poured during the family Seder dinner on Passover (Pesaḥ). It is left untouched in honour of Elijah, who, according to tradition, will arrive one day as an unknown guest to herald the advent of the Messiah. During the Seder dinner, biblical verses are read while the door is briefly opened to welcome Elijah, who, it is further said, will resolve all controversial questions connected with the Law. In this way the Seder dinner not only commemorates the historical redemption from Egyptian bondage of the Jewish people but also calls to mind their future redemption when Elijah and the Messiah shall appear. (info from www.britannica.com)

I am currently reading a book of the same, fitting name, "Elijah's Cup". Normally, I wouldn't blog about a book until I'm finished reading it, but this one is too good to wait. I'm a little over halfway finished and I feel like this book has changed the way I think and given me priceless knowledge and insight into two very misunderstood and at times "invisible" disorders: High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's Syndrome.
Elijah's Cup: A Family's Journey into the Community and Culture of High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's Syndrome

I found this book completely by "coincidence". One of my favorite quotes from Jeffrey R. Holland says, "A coincidence is just a small miracle in which God choose to remain anonymous." Finding this book was honestly no coincidence and in fact, has been an answer to years and years of prayers and questions.  At church a few weeks ago, our teacher was talking about the prophet Elijah and mentioned she has an animated bible DVD of the story of Elijah that her kids really enjoy. Thinking I might like to get this DVD for my kids, I went home and decided to google "Elijah". In addition to the DVD (which ended up being really great by the way)... I found THIS book!

I'm not exatlty sure where I want to go with this blog post...

Let me first say that I feel completely inadequate and somewhat unworthy to speak of something that I really don't know much about compared to some people. Please forgive my ignorance.

To me, the book is absolutely fascinating and at times, heart-wrenching. In her own words, the author tells her journey of raising a child with Autism.  I'm amazed at her emotional strength, courage, and honesty. I've been inspired by her "fight" to help her son, Elijah, have all she can get in order for him to have the best life possible and at the same time try to keep herself sane and functioning in a world that just does not understand what they are going through.

I thought of several friends and family members I know who are dealing with some sort of  Autism Spectrum Disorder, like Asperger's Syndrome. This book helps shed light on what it's like to be Autistic and care for someone who is. Valerie's son, Elijah, is autistic and she has a good friend who is diagnosed later in life with Asperger's Syndrome (AS). 

I'll let you know more after I finish reading it, but I think everyone who reads this book will be better informed and feel a greater sense of compassion for what people affected by Autism are going through. You never know who might be affected by some type of Autism. So many people go throughout their entire lives never being formally diagnosed. Autism Spectrum Disorders can be very difficult to diagnose -- sometimes only certain situations and stimuli can trigger symptoms. Many people also have a combination of disorders -- making it hard to distinguish which disorder is  causing what symptoms. For example, many people with Asperger's Syndrome also have Sensory Processing Disorder.

My desire is to understand more about these disorders so I can help my family. I have believed for a very long time that members of my own family might have Asperger's Syndrome and probably other disorders layered on top of it. Much to my dismay, there has been no formal diagnosis. Maybe I haven't fought for that as hard as I should. However, that opens up a new "can of worms" for me, so to speak. Sometimes I think it might be better not to have a formal diagnosis, a "label", if you will, specifically in the case of Asperger's Syndrome. 

Many people live very successful and fairly normal lives with Asperger's Syndrome; Temple Grandin being one of them, but the lifelong social repercussions are hard to quantify and are more valuable to me than worldly success. I don't want the "label" to be an excuse for the behaviors and issues nor do I want it to be a hindrance or stigma. Temple Grandin struggled for a long time without help or support. Behavioral therapy is the best help for people with AS and other disorders. In order to get professional help (as far as I know), you need a diagnosis. 

Herein lies my quandary.

8 comments:

  1. I'm going to have to read that book now Lacy! I have the same quandary although we've been able to get help through the schools without a formal diagnosis. We miss you! I keep expecting to see your van turning the corner by our house. :)

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    1. Yes, I think you would appreciate this book for sure. I miss you too!!! :)

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  2. Mother of the Wild BoysSeptember 18, 2012 at 7:46 PM

    I've not heard of this book, I must read it!! If you'd ever like to talk about Asperger's, let me know. I've learned the hard way with my own son. I'm also learning more about the help you can get for a child without a diagnosis in a class I'm taking this semester.
    As for the "label" worry, I've never used it as an excuse or found that it boxes my son in...it allows him to have access to so much more help & understanding than he would otherwise have. He would still have to deal with the hardships whether he had the label or not, so why not give him a chance? That's just my opinion. :)

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    1. Thanks! I would love to talk with you sometime. It's hard for our family because those affected are very resistant to the possibility of having Asperger's -- I guess, what I mean to say, is I'm not as worried about what other people will think of the label, but how the individual person will come to terms with it.

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    2. That makes sense...it can be tough to admit you might need a little help. But I think that is something all of us have to do, in one way or another. :)

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  3. Thanks for the recommendation. It is sometimes hard for me to read books like this, but sometimes I really do find strength in knowing that someone else is going through what i am. I love you Lacy and I just think you are amazing!

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  4. I've got it on hold at the Library but it may be a month before I get it. As for the Lasik question you asked on my blog, I had it done right here in Logan at the Wasatch Eye Center. It's by Sams club. It was scary to me but all the surgery was a little pressure and some bright lights and that was it. The procedure was only 10 minutes long. I still wake up in the morning and think "shoot I forgot to take my contacts out" It's weird to be able to see everything right when you wake up (well at least it is for me :)

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  5. I somehow missed this post when you wrote it. I think as far as the "label" being hard on the actual person...I thought so too. It wasn't talked about much with him, but one morning I absolutely knew I needed to tell him (right then) more about it, and it has helped him a lot! It is only used as an excuse if you let it be. We are in the process of deciding if the formal diagnosis is worth the label for another child, and I think it will be what is the best for her, but it is so hard to know for sure. (And they are booking for May right now!) I have noticed it is easier for teachers (and other leaders) if we talk about it instead of ignore it. Good Luck.

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