When you’re on the journey of God’s next. The road is not always easy. You see God will take you through the wilderness where you’ll encounter all types of hardships. We quite often want to stay in the bondage of the old, because it is hard, but at least we know what we have. Many stay where they’re content, because it’s just easier that way. Most people are afraid to start a new journey, because they are afraid of the unknown, they’re afraid of the struggle before them. Many who do partake on a new journey is often met with what they believe to be unsurmountable odds. They cry out for food and water and safety, because at least where they were offered that to them. Where they’re headed is an unseen land and often the road is narrow and dark. We quite often travel through barren wastelands where there seems to be no promise of a new and brighter day. Quite often we climb hazardous mountains on our journey to the next; forging our way through the roughest terrain that we could ever imagine. We want it easy, but no greatness comes so cheaply. Greatness cost us everything. We want to learn our lessons without sacrifice without hardship, without going through the darkness. We want to sit atop of the apex and look out over the valley to see what awaits us on God’s journey of next. God knows that we can never learn what He is trying to teach us if we stay atop the mountain. He knows that the valleys and the deepest shadows are where we learn the most. We learn to trust, to wait, to hope to endure, through our deepest and darkest moments in our lives. A wise man knows that the journey through life is just that a journey. We were never meant to become content with where we are at, but look forward with hope to the next part of our journey. When life for me here has ended, I do not believe that my journey will end at death, but it will be the next leg of this journey that we are all on. We cannot see that side of eternity, but we look on with expectant hope that our journey to God’s next awaits us there. Sometimes the journey is thrust upon us. We are taken out of our comfort zone and are forced to begin a new journey; not a journey we would have chosen for ourselves. 12 years ago Terri and I were forced upon a journey that I am sure that we would have never chosen for ourselves. We were young and inexperienced when Dylan was born. We were parents, but could have never imagined the journey that awaited us with Dylan. He has been our guide through this journey. We have learned so much along the way. I decided to go into special education, because of Dylan. I am no longer content with just teaching children with special needs. I now want to be able to do more for my son, other children and adults that have special needs. I want to be their voice, their advocate. I want to be a defender of the defenseless! I want to be able to fight for their rights. See the thing is when you’re on a journey, you get hungry. You need sustenance. You look forward to crawling and scraping through the wilderness, you know that shadows and darkness awaits you, but you also know that shadows cannot exist without light. That light is what keeps you going. You know when you reach the top of that mountain you have a meeting with the Almighty and he is giving you another set of marching orders to carry out! Then it’ll be onto the next journey! A wise man once said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. I say enjoy the journey.
The Real Superman Part IV
By Jeff King
Dylan began to learn how to talk, although most of his language was rote language, at least we knew he had a voice. Dylan still had a lot of difficulties. Around three years old he no longer qualified for the infant and toddler program, but thanks to Child Find he was enrolled in a special school, where he began to learn. His occupational and physical therapy continued through the school and they added speech services as well. It really helped Dylan significantly. He had a few behavior issues that used to be a concern to us. Dylan would bite himself and had self-injurious behaviors. The school also was concerned with these behaviors. Since Dylan qualified for Social Security and Medicaid we were able to get him several appointments at the Kennedy Krieger institute with a behavior specialist. The behavior specialist was able to successfully help us alter Dylan’s self-injurious behavior. We used a picture board and we helped the specialist design it. He had asked us what were Dylan’s favorite things and we told him that he absolutely loved SpongeBob Square Pants and these two toys that he had to carry with him everywhere. It was a cube that was made of some cloth-like material that had different animals on it, one side had a lion, one side had a bluefish, another side had a polar bear, another had a parrot hiding under a green leaf and another had the crescent moon on it. It had several rhymes on it and me, Terri, and my other two children still remember one of the rhymes to this day, “Yellow lion in the African sun, tickling your mane is really fun!” Leap Frog Melody Block. He also loves strawberry milk. The behavior specialist took this information and designed a token board which we used with Dylan to communicate with. He visited the specialist for six months and it actually worked, his self-injurious behaviors had ceased.
Dylan made leaps and bounds in school and at home. Over the next several years he learned his Alphabet, learned how to recognize his name, he was using picture boards to express his needs, or what he wanted. He could even say sentences like, “Want some Tea, want some milk, I’m hungry.” He learned some not so good words as well, but one of Dylan’s favorite things to do was sing. He loved to sing and he loved you to sing to him. He learned the words of Jesus Loves Me, On Top of Old Smokey, On Top of Spaghetti, It came Upon a Midnight Clear, Old Rattler, Old Dan Tucker, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, and tons of others, He even learned the entire lyrics to a Buck Cherry song “Sorry” He had to hear this song whenever he got into the car.
Dylan started watching other cartoons as well. He loved Nickelodeon and his two favorite shows were Dora the Explorer and Diego. He picked up Spanish and could say so many Spanish words that we were amazed how smart he had become! Dylan also had a great sense of humor and would often make us all laugh. As we would sit at the table to eat dinner, Dylan would get up and walk around everyone and like some sort of Duck Duck Goose game he would touch everyone’s back or arm, and then when he had chosen who he wanted, would smack them in the back. I know it sounds like bad behavior, but, I would give anything to have him do that again. Dylan also liked to play with his siblings. He would actually play hide and seek with them and these crazy games that they made up, one was called amudify Don’t ask me this was a word that Dylan came up with my other son and my daughter would both sit on the floor and he would try to jump over each of them and yell “Amudafy!” He also liked a game that was called “plonsky”, also a word that he created. In this game he wanted one of his siblings to pick him up and toss him on his back onto the couch, bed, etc. He and his older brother made up a game called “Smack Smack” in this game he would smack my older son, but it wasn’t hard it was just like a tap on the head.
Dylan also used to like to get up at events that we attended, like my daughter’s 5th grade graduation from elementary school. He was sitting down quietly when suddenly he began to look around, he looked behind us and when he had spied the contestant he deemed worthy, he got up out of his chair and walked to the row of chairs behind us; there was this huge gentleman sitting there with his family and Dylan walked up to him and looked right in his face. I had to act quickly, because I wasn’t sure as to what he would do, but the gentleman just started laughing. I grabbed Dylan and told the man that I was sorry and he replied, “It’s cool man, he’s a cool little dude.” I thanked him and Dylan and I returned to our seats where my wife was waiting. We started laughing my wife said that Dylan was trying to intimidate the man. I busted out laughing. This little boy was too funny.
The reason that I’m including this in the blog is because I want to explain that Dylan lived pretty much a normal life. He loved to joke and kid around, he was smart, and he loved to go to the park. He loved to play with his siblings. This little boy has so much going for him. (To be continued)