Monday, February 18, 2013

Ducks in a Row

In my last post, I mentioned how God lined things up for us so that when Sweet Pea was diagnosed with high-functioning autism (HFA), we would have resources to deal with it. His lining things up started way before I was born and before I was even a Christian.

My fourth year of college, I suddenly had the desire to change my major. I was majoring in accounting, but just wasn't enjoying it. I had transferred to the school I was attending because of their accounting program, mind you. "Something" told me to "try psychology." (I now know that "something" was the Holy Spirit.) I had only ever attempted to take one psychology class at my pervious university and dropped it because I hated it so much. I finally relented though and after finishing a miserable semester (not bad grades, just hated the accounting classes all of a sudden), I decided to try a few psych courses over the summer. Not only did I do VERY well with them, I LOVED them. It took an extra year-and-a-half to graduate, but I obtained my degree in psychology. 

**Side Note:  If you are currently a Christian, I would be careful which program you pick if you're going into a secular psychology  major. Though mine is helping tremendously with my daughter and her situation, it's easy to let yourself be influenced by aspects that are not just neutral but run in direct opposition to some Biblical principles.**

I ended up obtaining my M.Ed. in elementary education after attempting a program in school counseling but not feeling it was right for me. It was after graduating from my M.Ed. program and moving south that I got saved. 

Fast forward a few years and a church change and I have a 2 year-old, a newborn, and a pediatrician telling me that the 2 year-old is showing signs of having a pervasive developmental disorder or autism. We got her tested, and sure enough...HFA. We were devastated. Neither of us had any real experience with autism other than a couple of people we'd come across on the very severe end and the one girl I taught who apparently used to be more severe but with therapy had friends and was almost indistinguishable from her peers to the untrained eye. 

We brought it up as a prayer request in Sunday School. Our one teacher happens to be friends with a woman IN OUR NEW CHURCH who runs a local ABA (applied behavior analysis) therapy center. Another Sunday School teacher is a close friend-of-the-family of the therapist that Sweet Pea has had since the beginning (she has more than 1, but M has been with us since the get-go and Sweet Pea loves her). M is a "line therapist" who works with her every day in addition to our other line therapists, T and R. She also has a lead therapist K, who comes once a week to monitor progress and a coordinator, V who comes once a month to direct the program. Our state actually provides 3 years of ABA any time between the ages of 3 and 11 to all children who have an autism diagnosis. Praise the Lord!

What does this all have to do with my degrees? Well, the ABA is based on "operant conditioning," which B.F. Skinner introduced in the 1930's. I took a psych course that hammered operant conditioning and that has made this a whole lot easier because I understand all the psych jargon, know how to tell if an intended reinforcer is actually reinforcing, etc. My teaching master's is actually what got me to move south where I met my husband. Without the teaching degree, I doubt I'd have moved here, met my husband, and gotten saved. 

I hope you enjoyed reading about how the Lord has provided all the necessities for getting my daughter therapy and how He was even working at this YEARS before I got saved. 

My next post will talk about the name change of this blog and why I chose the one I did. **Hint: It's not because I think I've "arrived" when it comes to looking well to the ways of my household and not eating the bread of idleness.**