Direction

I love when God reveals His truths through simple events which occur in our lives.

This one particular truth was revealed to me from a situation which occurred during Kidfest. We took three vehicles to Kidfest, each vehicle was given a folder which held the directions for the trip. Somehow the vehicle which was leading our small caravan did not get the complete set of directions, this led the individuals to pursue a different road home. This created a small snag and added time to our total travel. Once I discovered the reason for the alternate route, I asked the individual why he didn’t just tell me he was missing the 2nd page of directions. I rode in that vehicle and had an extra copy of the directions in my notebook. It never crossed the mind of the person to ask me for a set of directions. We arrived home safely and I have no ill-will or frustration with the individual, it is just one of those things that happens.

However, it started me thinking, how often have we done this in our own personal lives. We wonder around for a bit, or take an indirect route to reach our destination, when the whole time God is sitting there with the directions and all we have to do is ask.

If today you are not sure about the course for your life, or the path God has for you, just take the time to speak to God, He is sitting there with the directions, and all you have to do is ask.

  • Proverbs 3:5-6
  • Psalms 37:23
  • Jeremiah 29:11-14
  • Philippians 4:6
  • Matthew 7:7
  • Psalms 34:4
  • Psalms 120:1
  • Psalms 3:4
  • Psalms 18:6
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Kidfest

This past weekend, several of our students from Reflect Kids Ministry went to Kidfest along with several adult chaperones. The weekend event was phenomenal. The students as well as the chaperones were touched by the Lord. It was wonderful to see God moving in their lives and to be a part of their spiritual journey. I am so proud of how well our students behaved. I told our students I was so proud of them that if anyone had asked if they were my kids, I would proudly declare yes! They did such a great job participating and listening and none of them ever went to the bathroom during the service time. Anyone who works with kids knows the miracle in that.

We had 3 students who accepted Christ as their personal savior, 4 Baptized in the Holy Spirit, and 11 who stated they know God moved in their lives and they are different because of the encounter they had with Him. It is such a privilege and an honor to be a part of these students’ lives. I know God is going to do amazing things through them. I have seen it. I have seen some of the things God has called these students to do and it is absolutely amazing!

Thank you to all those who supported us with your finances, prayers, and time. You made it possible for us to attend, and because of your support students’ lives were forever changed. Thanks again for investing into the lives of our students and chaperones. Thank you to the chaperones for giving of your entire weekend to share in this experience with the students, and thank you to those who stayed in Powhatan and taught and worked with the students who were unable to attend Kidfest. I greatly appreciate you all and may God Bless you (Be sure to ask the students who attended Kidfest what it means to when you say that).  🙂

Light it Up Blue

April is Autism awareness month. April 2nd was National Autism awareness day. Everyone was encouraged to help raise awareness regarding autism by placing a blue tinted light somewhere where others can see as well as wear the color blue. I believe although this is an admirable attempt, the best way to raise awareness is by making the facts known.

In addition, the puzzle piece ribbon is widely known as a symbol for autism. If you would like to help raise awareness by wearing a ribbon please contact me and I will be happy to mail one to you.

Facts about Autism

  • Expert estimate 6 children out of every 1,000 will have an ASD.
  • More children will be diagnosed with autism this year than with AIDS, diabetes, & cancer combined
  • Autism is the fastest-growing serious developmental disability in the U.S.
  • Boys are four times more likely than girls to have autism
  • There is no medical detection or cure for autism

What is Autism

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a range of complex neurodevelopment disorders, characterized by social impairments, communication difficulties, and restricted, repetitive, and stereotyped patterns of behavior.  Autistic disorder, sometimes called autism or classical ASD, is the most severe form of ASD, while other conditions along the spectrum include a milder form known as Asperger syndrome, and childhood disintegrative disorder and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (usually referred to as PDD-NOS).  Although ASD varies significantly in character and severity, it occurs in all ethnic and socioeconomic groups and affects every age group.

What Causes Autism

There is no known single cause for autism, but it is generally accepted that it is caused by abnormalities in brain structure or function. Brain scans show differences in the shape and structure of the brain in children with autism versus neuro-typical children. Researchers are investigating a number of theories, including the link between heredity, genetics and medical problems. In many families, there appears to be a pattern of autism or related disabilities, further supporting a genetic basis to the disorder. While no one gene has been identified as causing autism, researchers are searching for irregular segments of genetic code that children with autism may have inherited. It also appears that some children are born with a susceptibility to autism, but researchers have not yet identified a single “trigger” that causes autism to develop. Other researchers are investigating the possibility that under certain conditions, a cluster of unstable genes may interfere with brain development, resulting in autism. Still other researchers are investigating problems during pregnancy or delivery as well as environmental factors, such as viral infections, metabolic imbalances, and exposure to environmental chemicals.

What are some Common Signs of Autism

 The hallmark feature of ASD is impaired social interaction.  As early as infancy, a baby with ASD may be unresponsive to people or focus intently on one item to the exclusion of others for long periods of time.  A child with ASD may appear to develop normally and then withdraw and become indifferent to social engagement.

Children with an ASD may fail to respond to their names and often avoid eye contact with other people.  They have difficulty interpreting what others are thinking or feeling because they can’t understand social cues, such as tone of voice or facial expressions, and don’t watch other people’s faces for clues about appropriate behavior.  They lack empathy. Many children with an ASD engage in repetitive movements such as rocking and twirling, or in self-abusive behavior such as biting or head-banging.  They also tend to start speaking later than other children and may refer to themselves by name instead of “I” or “me.”  Children with an ASD don’t know how to play interactively with other children.  Some speak in a sing-song voice about a narrow range of favorite topics, with little regard for the interests of the person to whom they are speaking. Children with characteristics of an ASD may have co-occurring conditions, including Fragile X syndrome (which causes mental retardation), tuberous sclerosis, epileptic seizures, Tourette syndrome, learning disabilities, and attention deficit disorder.  About 20 to 30 percent of children with an ASD develop epilepsy by the time they reach adulthood.

How is Autism Diagnosed?

 ASD varies widely in severity and symptoms and may go unrecognized, especially in mildly affected children or when it is masked by more debilitating handicaps.  Very early indicators that require evaluation by an expert include:

  • no babbling or pointing by age 1
  • no single words by 16 months or two-word phrases by age 2
  • no response to name
  • loss of language or social skills
  • poor eye contact
  • excessive lining up of toys or objects
  • no smiling or social responsiveness.

Later indicators include:

  • impaired ability to make friends with peers
  • impaired ability to initiate or sustain a conversation with others
  • absence or impairment of imaginative and social play
  • stereotyped, repetitive, or unusual use of language
  • restricted patterns of interest that are abnormal in intensity or focus
  • preoccupation with certain objects or subjects
  • inflexible adherence to specific routines or rituals.

Health care providers will often use a questionnaire or other screening instrument to gather information about a child’s development and behavior.  Some screening instruments rely solely on parent observations, while others rely on a combination of parent and doctor observations.  If screening instruments indicate the possibility of an ASD, a more comprehensive evaluation is usually indicated.

A comprehensive evaluation requires a multidisciplinary team, including a psychologist, neurologist, psychiatrist, speech therapist, and other professionals who diagnose children with ASDs.  The team members will conduct a thorough neurological assessment and in-depth cognitive and language testing.  Because hearing problems can cause behaviors that could be mistaken for an ASD, children with delayed speech development should also have their hearing tested.

Children with some symptoms of an ASD but not enough to be diagnosed with classical autism are often diagnosed with PDD-NOS.  Children with autistic behaviors but well-developed language skills are often diagnosed with Asperger syndrome. Much rarer are children who may be diagnosed with childhood disintegrative disorder, in which they develop normally and then suddenly deteriorate between the ages of 3 to 10 years and show marked autistic behaviors.

How is Autism Treated

There is no cure for ASDs.  Therapies and behavioral interventions are designed to remedy specific symptoms and can bring about substantial improvement.  The ideal treatment plan coordinates therapies and interventions that meet the specific needs of individual children.  Most health care professionals agree that the earlier the intervention, the better.

Educational/behavioral interventions:  Therapists use highly structured and intensive skill-oriented training sessions to help children develop social and language skills, such as Applied Behavioral Analysis.  Family counseling for the parents and siblings of children with an ASD often helps families cope with the particular challenges of living with a child with an ASD.

Medications:  Doctors may prescribe medications for treatment of specific autism-related symptoms, such as anxiety, depression, or obsessive-compulsive disorder.  Antipsychotic medications are used to treat severe behavioral problems.  Seizures can be treated with one or more anticonvulsant drugs.  Medication used to treat people with attention deficit disorder can be used effectively to help decrease impulsivity and hyperactivity.

Other therapies:  There are a number of controversial therapies or interventions available, but few, if any, are supported by scientific studies.  Parents should use caution before adopting any unproven treatments.  Although dietary interventions have been helpful in some children, parents should be careful that their child’s nutritional status is carefully followed.

Sensory Friendly Movies

AMC Theatres (AMC) and the Autism Society have teamed up to bring families affected by autism and other disabilities a special opportunity to enjoy their favorite films in a safe and accepting environment on a monthly basis with the “Sensory Friendly Films” program.

In order to provide a more accepting and comfortable setting for this unique audience, the movie auditoriums will have their lights brought up and the sound turned down, families will be able to bring in their own gluten-free, casein-free snacks, and no previews or advertisements will be shown before the movie. Additionally, audience members are welcome to get up and dance, walk, shout or sing – in other words, AMC’s “Silence is Golden®” policy will not be enforced unless the safety of the audience is questioned.

Click this link to find a  participating theatre in your area

http://www.autism-society.org/get-involved/events/sensory-friendly-films/

The above information was retreived from the following websites. Please investigate the links below for more information regarding Autism.

http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/autism/detail_autism.htm

http://www.autism-society.org/

http://www.autismspeaks.org/