Tears of Joy…Justin is starting to talk

Hard to believe that just 5 months ago we were headed to an Autism specialist 17 hours away by car with only a thread of hope to hold on to.  We were blessed to get a diagnosis of PANDAS, which we had never heard of before, and have been treating him ever since.  And here’s a look at my little charmer now…
justin
He is doing so well now.  We aren’t having any head-banging, biting, or screaming fits like he was before.  He is back to himself and doing so well in his ABA therapy.
We have been working on “Yes” and “No” with Justin and trying to get him to understand what they mean and use them appropriately.  He has been saying them in answer to questions for a few months now but just in the last few weeks we started to notice that he was using them accurately almost all the time!!  And he is answering “Yes” and “No” questions without us prompting him!!
And then about a week ago, we started to get spontaneous sentences from him.  Just to be clear—he has said sentences with prompting before, or talked with his iPad, but he is now getting our attention and then requesting things with a full sentence—ON HIS OWN!!!  My little man just started talking!!  My husband was trying to put him to bed the other night and he walked past him to go downstairs and when asked where he was going, he stopped and said, “I GO DOWNSTAIRS!!”  We couldn’t believe it!!  And then the sweetest blessing came last night when he looked at my husband and said, “DAD-DY, I WANT PHONE PLEASE.”  This was the first time he has said Daddy on his own!!  There were tears—tears of great joy.
We have been waiting for this answer to prayer for 9 years!!  Doctors said it wouldn’t ever come, and others said the costly ABA therapy wasn’t worth it.  And after years of Speech therapy, ABA, and many tears—my son is able to talk to us.  I am so grateful for the many people who have been put in our path to help Justin along his journey with Autism.  Every single one of them has helped in some way to get him to where he is right now.  And to the 5 angels who work on his ABA Team right now—Thank you for never giving up, giving us hope, and helping see this dream come true.  To all our family and friends—thank you for your prayers, fasting, and endless words of encouragement.
If you are in a dark place, for whatever reason—hold on to that hope that things will get better.  One of the leaders in my church spoke about this in the April LDS General Conference 2013, Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf said:
“Yes, from time to time our lives may seem to be touched by, or even wrapped in, darkness. Sometimes the night that surrounds us will appear oppressive, disheartening, and frightening.

My heart grieves for the many sorrows some of you face, for the painful loneliness and wearisome fears you may be experiencing.

Nevertheless, I bear witness that our living hope is in Christ Jesus! He is the true, pure, and powerful entrance to divine enlightenment.

I testify that with Christ, darkness cannot succeed. Darkness will not gain victory over the light of Christ.”
I know that is true.  One of my favorite songs is Endless Nights from The Lion King.  Simba sings it when he feels lost and overwhelmed by darkness and doesn’t know what to do.  The lyrics of this song have echoed through me during many trials in my life…
Where has the starlight gone?
Dark is the day
How can I find my way home?

Home is an empty dream
Lost to the night
Father, I feel so alone

You promised you’d be there
Whenever I needed you
Whenever I call your name
You’re not anywhere

I’m trying to hold on
Just waiting to hear your voice
One word, just a word will do
To end this nightmare

When will the dawning break
Oh endless night
Sleepless I dream of the day

When you were by my side
Guiding my path
Father, I can’t find the way

You promised you’d be there
Whenever I needed you
Whenever I call your name
You’re not anywhere

I’m trying to hold on
Just waiting to hear your voice
One word, just a word will do
To end this nightmare

I know that the night must end
And that the sun will rise
And that the sun will rise

I know that the clouds must clear
And that the sun will shine
And that the sun will shine

I know
Yes, I know
The sun will rise
Yes, I know
I know
The clouds must clear

I know that the night must end
I know that the sun will rise
And I’ll hear your voice deep inside

I know that the night must end
And that the clouds must clear
The sun
The sun will rise
The sun
The sun will rise

I couldn’t help but think of this song today as Justin called me Mommy tonight.  Yep, I asked him, “Who am I, Justin?”  And after repeating me twice he smiled and said, “DADDY” and then doubled over laughing hysterically.  He is even teasing us now!!  I asked him again and he smiled and said “MOM-MY” and gave me a hug and a kiss goodnight. 

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