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Sho and Patreece Baraka: Raising Kids on the Autism Spectrum

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
August 11, 2022 10:00 pm

Sho and Patreece Baraka: Raising Kids on the Autism Spectrum

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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August 11, 2022 10:00 pm

Parenting their sons' autism, Sho Baraka and his wife Patreece felt blindsided—including a loss of dreams & sense of failure. On FamilyLife Today, Dave and Ann Wilson talk with the Barakas about how God met them in their shame.

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raising kids on the autism spectrum
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Family Life Today
Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

Got furs and ways in which you don't expect them soon and I think that's the story of autism tools like autism is a different way of thinking like this is not neurochemicals.

They experience the world differently than us. This would let them have high sensitivities to just different things.

They can walk into a room and he's like just may set them off like tapping may set them off and so the experience the world differently.

Welcome to family life today where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most and Wilson Dave Wilson and you can find us if we live today.com or on our family life, family life today so I think every parent when they get pregnant and get ready to deliver their first baby and her second or third. They pray the same thing. What are they for a healthy child.

Yeah, yeah, I mean we did guess in every parent in the world is always prayed. I don't care if he looks like this or that.

But please, Lord, let them be healthy and then you know you bring a little baby in your marriage and you have no idea this stress fights positive and wonderful that it brings stress in a marriage, but then when you if you bring home a baby and find out special needs.

The stress is even greater. Yeah, we've Artie talked yesterday about how that can just create so much conflict within a marriage, and so we want to talk about that a little bit today to show Rocco back with his wife Patrice, yet his feet on the table a second ago was ever there.

Welcome back. Family life today.

I don't know what you're thinking right now.

Patrice you shaking your head she should use this to my thing and we bring that out because if you miss yesterday we talked a little bit diving a little deeper, but you got three kids and your second and third son, you discovered at some point they both had autism walk is back to what we heard yesterday about some number two when your first son, but then you have another and it happens again. Can you take us there after having a child with autism and experiencing what life was like I began to think about what the future looks like my daughter was thinking like I don't want her life to be consumed with caring for aging parents and brother with special needs and I fell after everything we got through with the Chi. Our first son that we pretty much had it figured out that we decided to have another child that we knew possibly good things to avoid things we should do when you know the avenues we should take that we did know that it was there and so your first two are like a year and 1/2 apart. Upon birth, yes, yes, the person was 10 months old when I found that I was pregnant. And then, yes, so technically my birthday was your cell when you found out you were pregnant with your third how old for the older to so sky was six yes seven, yes, yes, and we decided that we could probably handle 1/3 that was a long time coming from me because in the past when people would ask how you have more kids and I would just look at them that they are like if I were loud, Darth Vader. Not just in just disconcerting them from that stupid question on the Artie had a child with autism like you asked that I would but over the years. The Lord began to chisel away at the fear without light in my heart of knowing that apparently have a plan for this child and I need you to have another one and it was really pretty much just like that and out like a hard pass got I'm not interested because I feel like you would give me another child special needs.

That is exactly what I said you like. Usually, to trust me and I'll say no thanks so this is the five-year conversation we were out.

I was having with him and basically came down so you like. Just tell me your concerns well hi needs help and if we have another child and they need help. What is that going to talk to order. I need someone that is going to nurture and help our daughter. Take care of sky home is also independent, so it will lessen the burden on her and okay done. What else we need the Kia to be a little bit more independent. Anyway, so we need him to be able to learn how to pick up things not to do things for himself, not things like that so he's not so dependent and long story long. We decided to go ahead. We had arms every second son, let me ask you Sheldon, but were you feeling about this whole situation and really I wanted more children concerns was that was your son get any easier. At this point I wasn't really knowing how he was extremely different height of difficult Larry key on the spectrum. Michael is nonverbal, but he does have words he has language. He does not communicate like in conversation format.

He will sit with you and talk. He does love scripting which is like you watch something on screen will repeat it to you and he wants the role-play and what highly intelligent open read right even notice that you are around seven, eight, writing and reading before the Internet yeah so is gifted. He's intelligent just hi temper gets frustrated, easy to talk about myself like father, I want some you did. You dug above your barbershop and how he just lost so I the difficulty with him was about to speak to communicate and so you can communicate like anybody if you can just get things you want to get frustrated when you schedule point will the only thing that you will understand is we don't fit the stuff over whatever. So oftentimes that's how you treat his behavior support what he would your crib. I was himself mostly to other people, but like you will beg his head on things throat that you know just it was bad and I know that don't you take the public spaces. If you don't capitulate to the mayors is a high chance that he's going to throw for woe barbershop is one of those spaces that at that time. It was very difficult situation and so I know we have about an hour. Within this barbershop to get the test done around our Mark Lord blesses was good and I told Barbara's like hey I'm on my way with my son. Let us know like you know he's like no you all get you as soon as you get this we get there we sit down we wait a little bit and I'm pretty sure were next in this pretty young thing walks in the way we wait to get home real quick and then we'll get you guys next. You know he's fraternizing flirt and try to send her just I just know I'm like oh God, Lord, we probably got a good 15 minutes so you get to the chair half with the haircut he just starts.

Nobody just he's irritated because you know you will sounds and vibrations around the ear just said to the high-sensitivity things and so he does not have it halfway literally halfway through cut throws a fit. He's on the floor. He's everybody shops packed with his beautiful thing like him walking out the door and this woman just walks up to me just Showed and she's like it's going to be okay all here she's come out of my eyes.

She says I have a son on the spectrum know what you're going through this, they should pray for me. I just don't deliver much effort.

I can remember just this this release Angel same time there was a gentleman who's email me a lot because of the solar rope will. It was a song that I partner with the got a propaganda card I got an answer and it was the first time I ever wrote a song about parenting son with autism in the sky heard this song he kept reaching out to me to find out this gentleman runs an organization that helps families with autism and so I get home until my wife was like I reached my general mood to do anymore and I just went back to Facebook responded to this gentleman is like I don't know what to do please help me need help he's like come to this conference were having. I want to introduce you to this behavior therapist.

We sit in his hotel room for two hours with this woman.

She gives these techniques. These philosophies ideas therapy and I kid you not by the span of a year, I'll say our son, one from an individual who was fooling himself across rooms, banging his head would sleep in his own. Yeah, I've had to pull over many times and he was kicking my seat so hard our past something like Burger King times, he would literally try to grab the sterno really and like for most types of behaviors to an individual who is the most joy field is hyperarousal become exaggerated.

I don't think I've seen him get upset in the last five years.

These techniques started from that. But I honestly feel I made it seems the spirit of God like prayer just happened to is I talked about the rage and anger that he had. I think he was just responding to the rage and anger that I like when he would throw a fit and the shame and the embarrassment that I would feel I would respond like you're embarrassing me. You're an embarrassment to me and then the moment I realize like you show you got a responded. Love you gotta respond with care and gentleness. I think that changed the way that he realized how we felt for I really honestly feel like he felt like love now like it. I don't have to respond with vitriol because my parents actually love me and they go to listen. The other thing I think we started to do is actually talk to him because what happens when you have kids of inspection. You don't think they understand you. You talk about them when they're in the space talk around them and I remember watching a video or maybe was the therapist who says like what they understand you. They have the intellectual capacity, they may not look they may be stemming now and like it may not seem like they're observing but they are taking in what you're saying and so we stop talking about them. Start talking to them we start actually engaging him in ways that were also started giving him words as articular sign language just came in with filings we get from words to say this. Do the scientists say the word and he will start respond because the think that he would need our need to communicate more often are the things that we learn and you know we taught him.

So that way he could have a voice that wants. He started doing it consistently.

The sign language, dropping him to start using the language and then you know I think just kind of skyrocketed from their lists on the road with propaganda leverage listening to it this morning and honestly I Was cheery listening to the words are so powerful actually read the words. It's apparent. Sometimes I think I failed as a parent.

My son having autism is rough but maybe he doesn't speak because words don't say much. Maybe he does. In the words to communicate his love is sometimes silence causes me to stumble as possible. He's a version of me.

This more humble, and I think my child find more joy would plant my phone plan on his own will he shed a tear when I'm gone I'm wrestling with the shame of an outsider's view of me as his life is a spotlight on my own insecurities, but I know that is laugh. It lights up a thousand rooms when he speaks to me is just like a flower blooms. This is just become our own digital diary about the doctor's office just hoping they would lie to me. My son will be all right. But if he's not some will be all right because he is God's autism sickle cell a down syndrome still keeping the faith in the midst of hard living. We stand together because we have no other place to go. My son and I will live a fight even though I don't have the answers. A man so I wrote this so is crazy like he asked me to yes me to write a song about parenting. He's like, hey, would you mind writing about your son is the first time I do that and I really honestly think about it. I wrote the lyrics walked away from the song and they sent me the track like here it is in its completion, the first time I listen to it all, but I don't remember being that vulnerable wrote the song, I was just a Holy Spirit moment like Lord was speaking through me and honestly it was really my own cathartic moment and is crazy because often times what happens is people, seor, messages about that song and I was like now is religious.

It was therapy for myself and they talk about that song spoken to me.

I have these insecurities, one of my son loves me because he just you know they are my daughter.

They just want to my phone I don't care about me.

I'm like look they just express it differently. They love you something and they just they just love you in a different way and you have to overcome the insecurities of the of whatever you think perfect parenting are the perfect child is God is a different assignment are different contractor understanding that which you so so many lines that that is in that lyric one on that jumped out to me was you and I just wish the doctor would lie to me and tell me my sons are right you.

How did that expectation that we all his parents are to have another kid to be perfect, but that the be normal. I guess that's the word on all income and then when they don't whether they have special needs or they just learned are a healthy child but they don't live up to expectations. You had to have dealt with that. I think ultimately we know we come to Christ is broken vessels, but we also come with this negotiable posture like not us.

God like you.

You know what came to you because you know you will make my life comfortable and perfect right now. You can apply, even as I as we started talking about now you decided to have 1/3 child, Shirley God, we won't have another child that have special needs and the expectations that you carry with you. You have a particular way in which you think God should work out the situation and she had a prayer and you can take us back there. That's Damien Wilson with Patrice and show baraka on family life today will hear Patrice's response in just a second, but first I mission a family life is to pursue the relationships that matter most. You've heard me say that all the time.

That means connecting with those around us and serving with all our hearts.

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Find your people. She was a guest earlier this week. Again, you can donate@familylifetodate.com right now Patrice and show were about to have 1/3 child and instead of joy and excitement. There was red and frankly anxiety they are afraid that this child would also have special needs. We had simmering and he was I guess my nose expectations, using normal child. He did have a difficult start. I was 10 days from delivering when there was no heartbeat, and they thought he had passed away and the woman when I was at the doctor's office. I was literally across the street from the hospital and had to be admitted and there was like we don't hear heartbeat and I was terrified and I had to be admitted into a hospital in them and maternity ward that was shutting down. The next day and so I had to call my husband and tell him I think they can't find your baby's heartbeat thinking that he rushed over. I was already admitted, but then at some point you know there was a heartbeat in his heart began to skip a beat and so I had to stay monitored and now had to make decisions. There was like well this maternity ward is been shut down tomorrow if we induce you.

You and your child will eventually have to go to another hospital that day had sat what I was going to take a risk leaving this hospital have the child where I needed to be and stay there or have the child there and then transporting both of us.

It was a terrifying decision. We both sides to just leave the hospital and have the child were we needed to be and needless to say, he's here.

He did have like hernia. You know he's fine and he was developing as a normal child then we start seeing the same signs again and my joyous footsteps begin to falter and we both started thinking the same thing I know I was frustrated now looked at remember going to my prayer because we started seeing the sign out. You can do that. I know you knew you were going to do that for some reason I know you asked me to have another child that you give me another child especially I don't know how I knew that you revisit the prayer that you had when we were negotiating got I he was of what you need, like I need this child to help my daughter. I need him. My daughter help my son, my daughter help my son any. I just this is what is going to be it will be difficult for me to say that my daughter had had to brothers to look after your thinking of yourself. You're thinking of the future for your daughter, even yet and so I knew he had been nurturing him to the lookout for Skype to help if it's if that's what fun it was a boy and so this this is this is my prayer and I was like that and as every began to show signs.

We had him tested. First, they were like maybe it's just us hearing the reason why he's not verbally saying anything like one of those things again like help yeah help us is not autism tell us that is hearing in this we can deal with this, but here was perfect. Perfect hearing.

We knew that cartoon, three rooms away mom or your number you will help. And so we did with the same steps we took was the Chi babies can't wait. They introduced him into a school that had a special needs program for pre-k.

This is our life now and so fast forward Jimmy is now nine and he takes care of his brother that look like leaving Mason is the most amazing thing ever.

I watched something with you with your two boys and you could see that just didn't know. One minute I why was this beauty, there is seven years younger six years younger when we're leaving in the morning I take them to school when we're leaving in the morning the Chi. I love Skype is a mess is just about the Chi's life is very hazardous, like bookbag. He doesn't care. He's a he does. The Chi were leaving. Okay, let's go, but there is like no need to make sure the Chi has bookbag need to measure the Chi had his breakfast. The Chi here's a breakfast package bookbag takes any and makes every night we get in the car. The Chi wants to eat in the car when we get to school. He's a mess as every Outlook in my rearview mirror and look every season me brush and crumbs off of the Chi.

I told him he know that he supposed be doing that he's looking at his brother and he's like write you a mess, take care of you.

So he's back there just brushing them off in the Chi bonds visit. He isn't going about his very but there is times that the you tell me is the lesson the learning you can trust them absolutely. I have no idea what God's plan is for my son.

I just know my job is to love him and Teresa and that God answers prayers and ways in which you don't expect them soon and I think that's the story of autism tools like autism is a different way of thinking like this is not neuro- typical so they experience the world differently than us. This would let them have high sensitivities to this different things. They can walk to room and these light just may set them off like tapping may set them off and so they experience the world differently and I think even in this experience the Lord's answered prayer in a different way than we expected to and is just a beautiful thing because we see that through her prayers like Lord just give a somebody who can be a caregiver in some sort of way.

Mina may not be the perfect way that is looking caregiver but is in a lot of ways, almost like a big brother. He is he will not leave school without his brother.

When I pick them up. There is already waiting in the front and the older kids wait a little further back in the school so when I walk up a pull up to get them to me as kind waiting, as I will rigidly November because weaponry won't leave out the Chi. Nobody told him to do that is what he does.

I love what you said.

He said that had a plan for this child because this child is important and that's true for all of our kids. God has a plan for our children no matter where they are in life and it's important that they're born because God loves them. Cheers for them and you as a parent you're saying. My job is to love him and Teresa and God will do the rest.

And I love that you guys are sharing this because I just a conference and his mom stood up.

Who hasn't child with special needs.

She just shared what was going on. She was crying because she said it feels so lonely at times.

And then there are other women in the room, standing at six women standing up think that's me too, but I never talk about it in the isolation they feel is really real.

A man absolutely nothing men need to begin to address the loneliness that they fill as well is a different type aloneness women and I'll just all make some harsh generalizations here.

Women are going to feel the loneliness because his caregivers often times there in the home of the problem with the child.

The most and there isolated in the sense that the carry the burden that we talked about earlier flight of the shame. There also is hard to have friends.

This is so hard for people to invite you to things. This is inconvenient. They're all kind of issues right but men often times just are isolated or are lonely by our withdrawal lately remove themselves because there's like well if I can't do these things with this child then widened worldwide have an interaction and I get all these praise like all this praise for interacting my kids, you know, I think it's is good for to be affirmed as a father like man is good to see you interacting with your kids AND folks like why are you the only father that it's actually active. All of the father's distiller to our stuff. But you know and it breaks my heart that I'm getting praise for something that we should be doing and part of the reason is is because we don't normalize the conversation is like to have kids that don't perform in ways that we wanted before, but that should change our affection where we interact with them and all the more talk about this. Probably the more that I see men talk about this the more I hear them confess their shame and their struggle like yeah man, I don't know what to do.

I sometimes have to force myself to interact my kids because it's like they don't do things I want to do, so I just chase my kid like Massimo Young to such a small house, he says tag and I'm a heartless run around the house, a body slam your couple times whatever my other son likes to do like this performance. We play something I have to repeat it, which is due to be noted or I draw something for him and those are the ways that they show their interaction.

Affection is much as they're willing to bring that to me and it could be as simple as just taking them to the park taken him to the store taken them in public and that start the trip away at the shame or the insecurity that you have. You never know what will building come from that. And so it women a man like I think there needs to be more of that consolation I was there, but I also feel like a group of men to just get together to talk about the loneliness that their experience to men are known for their emotions and promoting in ways that are healthy but they need to be needs you been listening to David and with Patrice and show Veronica on family life to have you ever felt doubtful and wrestled with your Christian faith. I know I have think this is something in which all of us have experienced next week. Steven and will be joined with Michael Kruger to talk through what to do when that happens and how to respond on behalf of Damon and Wilson.

I'm Shelby Babbitt. See back next time for another edition of family life to family life today is a production of family life accrued ministry helping you pursue the relationships that matter most


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