I have seen TV news stories of a non-verbal autistic child writing and expressing their thoughts that no one knew they had inside. From outside appearances, people would question if the child was even aware of their surroundings. Yet given a keyboard and a world of emotion, creativity and beauty comes forth and shows the world what truly was on the child’s heart as they type out their feelings onto the computer screen. I don’t just cry during these TV stories, I sob. My heart aches as I think, “Is this true for Sarah? Is there more going on inside that she is trying to express? If autism has locked these thoughts inside, how can I help her?”
I tried giving her a keyboard and asked her to write, but she wasn’t interested. Secretly, I was wishing she would be like this child on the TV news show who now communicates with the world via her computer. Instead she got angry with me, pushed the keyboard away and walked away. In the TV story, the child wrote a poem (a poem!) to express her feelings. It had rhythm and a pattern. I was hoping for just a few words to get a sneak peek into my daughter’s world. Nothing, not a single word from Sarah, yet, we have always felt she understands and is aware of her surroundings.
(Sarah can copy things down on paper, she does this at school, but I was hoping for original thoughts so I could know what she is thinking/feeling.)
Last December, Sarah was playing a game on the computer. I walked up to her and placed a sheet of paper in front of her. I wrote on the top of the page “Sarah’s Christmas Wish List” and I walked away. I came back 10 minutes later and the ENTIRE page was filled with Sarah’s wish list. At first, I thought it was just scribbles, but as I read it, I realized it was one long, continuous thought. There were no spaces between the items. It read like this:
“Barbie Mariposa doll Barbie in the Princess and the Pauper DVD Barbie in the Princess and the Pauper Sarafina doll Polly Pocket Playtime Pet Shop Polly Pocket Drive N’ Slide Car Barbie in the 12 Dancing Princesses DVD….”
As I read the list, my heart broke. Here my daughter had so much on her heart and I never knew it. I took the paper into the other room where my three other kids were watching TV. I showed them the paper and said, “Look at this! Sarah understands a lot more than we think!” They were amazed at the list. They cheered for Sarah and hugged her for what she wrote and the look of pride on her face was undeniable.
I feel like I got my peek and am so grateful for this small opportunity to see her heart. More importantly, I am thankful that the Lord knows what is on her heart all the time. In fact, He knows the cries of all our hearts. He doesn’t have to hope to get a peek into my soul to know what I am facing, struggling with, or my hopes, wishes and dreams. He hears the unspoken cry and understands and is right there with me in the midst of it.
Sarah has already started a new Christmas Wish List for this year. Like last year, it is takes a bit of decoding to find out what she wants. I am thankful the Lord didn’t need to decode what we needed when He sent His Son to be our Savior! He knew our need and sent the answer in His Son!
This Christmas as we celebrate our Savior’s birth, I thank you for coming along side and praying for Sarah. Bless you for your faithful prayers! Merry Christmas!
“For unto us a Child is born, to us a Son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6