I’ve had to keep changing my password to get to make a new post and that slows me down so please forgive me for taking so long to add a new post.
Those of you who’ve read “Inspired By Autism” have already read this story, but I am including it for those who haven’t read the book because it made such a great impact on me and is an example of how my faith has seen me through during my life with PJ. I feel that God has taken care of us because I have been totally incompetent at times during this autism ordeal.
PJ loves french fries and I cook them for him often. I felt guilty about french fries being such a big part of his diet until I read an article in a magazine about foods that help people with autism. The article stated that potatoes and pasta were foods that increased the level of seratonin in the brain and made people with autism feel and act better. No wonder he ate so many fries! I felt better about cooking fries and relaxed into cooking them as often as he wanted, sometimes two or three times a day. I cooked them so often that it became automatic and I became careless.
One day, as I was heating oil for his fries, I became distracted in another room and forgot that the oil was heating. When I returned to the kitchen, the pan was on fire. A “typical” child would have been alarmed and told his mother, but PJ was just standing there looking at the fire. (An example of a person with autism not recognizing danger).
I thought that I could remove the pan a few feet from the stove to the sink. Even though I was using a pot holder, the pan was too hot to hold and I dropped it. A wall of flame erupted. I ran to get PJ so we could get out of the house. He is bigger and stronger them I am and does not move unless he wants to and I did not have time to convince him.
To my surprise, he ran out of the side door. I did not have to save him. He saved himself. He did recognize the danger!
I was thankful that we’d gotten out, but I was so scared. What about all the damage to the kitchen? I would have to go to a neighbor’s house to call the fire department. I looked through the window to see how bad it was and I did not see any fire. I did not see any smoke.
Cautiously entering the house, I still did not see any fire. Not only was there no fire, once I cleaned up the spill, there was no evidence of a fire at all. There was not even a scorch on the floor or the wall. I found out later that the tile was flame retardant, but I still feel that God was looking out for us. “Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe”. (John 4:48).
We now cook fries in an electric deep fryer and PJ mostly cooks his own fries. He hovers and watches until they are just the way he wants them. He would never leave the kitchen when he is cooking and I have learned my lesson. I remain in the kitchen when I am cooking, too.
Until next time: May the Power of God protect you; May the Love of God enfold you.
I remember that when Chad was younger, he survived for years on a diet of mostly macaroni – and french fries were a staple. I felt bad about him eating mac n cheese three times a day (though, in spite of his diet, he was physically one of the healthiest kids I’ve ever known) but was too exhausted to fight with Chad about one more thing. Probably 30 years ago, I read somewhere that children with autism often seemed to only want to eat starchy foods, but had never heard until you wrote it that there is a link to seratonin levels. Now, I feel better about what I let my son eat for so many years! Thank you, Claudreen, for all the things I’ve learned from you!
I am certain that God watched over you and PJ when the kitchen caught fire. You must have been almost disbelieving when you saw no sign of damage. That was truly amazing! Sometimes, God’s hand in things isn’t as apparent as when he showed you his care that day, and it takes years for us to recognize that he always had control, that he always knew us and our needs. I’m just beginning to understand that. ……… Love to you, Claudreen.
Thanks for your feedback, Dianne. It is always nice to hear from you. I meant it when I said that parents of children with autism are my Heroes. What a blessing you have been in Chad’s life! Of whatever problems that he had, you were the refuge even when you didn’t know it. You provided him with his mac and cheese and fries because you were following his lead. Isn’t it amazing how we have managed, sometimes bumbling and stumbling to bring them into adulthood (and not be autistic ourselves). I hope that you haven’t forgotten to plan something nice for yourself. You deserve it!