Tag Archives: autism

Aching Joy- a book review

Jason Hague’s biography says he “writes and speaks about the intersection of faith, fatherhood, and autism”  which is the main reason I requested this book to review.

(In exchange for reviewing books for Tyndale House Publishers  I received a free copy. This post also contains affiliate links.) 

Aching Joy Book Promo 

I have read and reviewed other books about autism for both professional and personal reasons as I explained in my review of Uniquely Human

But in Aching Joy I did not find much discussion of autism as a disorder. Although Jason tells us about his autistic son Jack’s diagnosis, therapy, and progress, that is not the focus of this book.
(As Jason does in the book I will use the term “autistic” rather than “with autism”.)

Parents of autistic children often become focused on learning about autism, seeking treatments and services for the child, and celebrating any progress, victory, or achievement no matter how small.

Jason didn’t do that when first confronted with Jack’s diagnosis of autism. In denial of what the doctors said and other family members recognized, he grieved over what he saw as the death of the father- son relationship he had dreamed of. Perhaps worst of all, his faith in an all- powerful loving God was shaken as it had never been before. Considering that Jason is a pastor, that was a crisis. 

Aching Joy is the story of Jason, and how he found his way back through the Land of Unanswered Prayer as he calls it.


This is a book about the treasures I found in my darkness and the greatest of all was this: aching joy.  The Lord taught me how to sigh in pain,  how to weep in gladness,  and how to trust during days of hope deferred. It was not an easy road to walk.  It still isn’t easy and it isn’t safe. Rather it is a confounding country full of myths and mirages. us here faith resembles denial settled this looks like a surrender and hope is the scariest creature of all.

As Jason narrates his son’s cycles of regression, progress, then regression again,  we also see the same happen to him;  his faith in God and answered prayer likewise waxes and wanes based on these and other life circumstances. He totters through expectation to disappointment,  from hopefulness to resignation, from faith to fear. 

But finally he comes to terms with the roller coaster that autism can be, and decided to put his trust not in a program, professional, or process,  but in a Person


If there is an answer to the mysteries and tensions  in this unfinished life,  we will not find it in philosophy or poetry or self-help religion. Rather  we only find it in a Person. Aching Joy  would be impossible if we were self- sustaining adults but fortunately we are much smaller than that. We are children of an eternal King. Courage and healing are in his hands and he waits for you to call. He waits for you to tell him where it is you ache and to rest under the shelter of his touch. 

Jason Hague, author of Aching Joy 

Jason Hague is an associate pastor at Christ’s Center Church in western Oregon. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Christian Ministry from Ecclesia College in Arkansas. 

He served with YWAM (Youth with a Mission) for eight years, most of that time training international missionaries. He still occasionally travels to teach YWAM recruits. He blogs for the One Hope Network and for the foster care organization “Every Child of Lane County.” He is a featured speaker for Restoration Ministries’ flagship DVD and online course, “Rebuilding the Foundations of Life.” 

Jason has been married to Sara for seventeen years. They have five children.

Jason chronicles his family’s journey at his blog, where you can read the first two chapters of his book. 


Faith-Fatherhood-Autism

Jason’s wife Sarah writes about the “fog of autism” that their son Jackson went into, and how they they are “finding him”. She hasn’t posted recently but you can read about their journey in her blog archives at 

FINDING JACKSON 

Aching Joy is published by NavPress and distributed /marketed by Tyndale. 

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                              Dr. Aletha 


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Top post of 2017- why the increase in autism?

You’ve heard and read much about autism recently. The top new TV drama this season , The Good Doctor, has a major character with autism (although the actor himself is not).

This illustrates the interest in autism spectrum disorders, and the controversy. We are not certain of the cause, and wonder why the condition is diagnosed more frequently.

Perhaps that explains why this was the most viewed post on this blog in 2017.

Light it up blue-autism speaks

 

 

 

Like other physicians and families of people with autism, I puzzle over the increased number of children and adults diagnosed with autism. Most of us have theories about why we now believe 1 in 68 children have autism spectrum disorders.

People point out that “when they were children” they never knew of anyone with autism. There are those who are absolutely convinced that the increased numbers of autism followed the introduction of the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine, MMR. Others implicate genetics, environmental toxins, diet, and intrauterine brain trauma.

I found an article that offers a sound, well thought out and expressed explanation. It contains several points that I have identified and some I had not.

The article was published in Spectrum whose commitment is “to provide accurate and objective coverage of autism research.” Spectrum is funded by the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative. Senior News Writer Jessica Wright, Ph.D. in biological sciences from Stanford University, wrote the report. (Scientific American also published the article by permission.)

In the article, Dr.Wright concludes,

“The bulk of the increase (in autism rates) stems from a growing awareness of autism and changes to the condition’s diagnostic criteria.”

First , let’s consider some terminology. Prevalence is an estimate of how common a disease or condition is in a particular population of people at any given time.

So the prevalence of autism in children would be

the number of children identified as autistic at any given time

divided by  the total number of children alive at that time .

The currently accepted rate of autism is 1 in 68 children, or 1.4 %.

So  autism prevalence depends on children being correctly identified as autistic. At any given time, some autistic children may not be identified, and some may be  incorrectly identified.

We do not have any totally objective tests available for autism yet. There is no blood test, scan, culture, imaging study, DNA test, or  monitor to definitely conclude that autism is or is not present.

UNIQUELY HUMAN- A DIFFERENT WAY OF SEEING AUTISM, a book by Barry Prizant, Ph.D.
UNIQUELY HUMAN- A DIFFERENT WAY OF SEEING AUTISM

 

 

 

 

The definition of and criteria for autism have changed substantially since “infantile autism” was first identified by Leo Kanner over 70 years ago. Since 1980, the diagnosis is based on applying the criteria outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). In the most recent version, DSM-5, released in 2013, autism, Asperger syndrome, and pervasive developmental disorder, formerly separate, are now a single diagnosis.

Autism Spectrum Disorder is characterized by

  • Persistent deficits in social communication and social interaction across multiple contexts
  • Restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities
  • Symptoms must be present in the early developmental period (But may not yet be fully expressed or may be modified by learned behavior in later life)
  • Symptoms cause clinically significant impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of current functioning.
  • These disturbances are not better explained by intellectual disability (intellectual developmental disorder) or global developmental delay.

At this link you may read the full detailed criteria from DSM-5

Diagnostic Criteria for 299.00 Autism Spectrum Disorder

 

When the diagnostic criteria for other diseases change, the prevalence also changes. Examples include diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, migraine, obesity, depression , even some cancers. So autism is not unique in this regard.

The currently accepted rate of autism, 1 in 68, comes from the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, established by the CDC in 2000. Children are identified by reviewing health and school records of 8 year olds in selected counties. So possibly some children get missed, and some assigned incorrectly.

THE SPARK, a book cover; a mother's story of nurturing, genius, and autism
THE SPARK

 

THINKING IN PICTURES MY LIFE WITH AUTISM book by Temple Grandin
THINKING IN PICTURES MY LIFE WITH AUTISM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another major milestone in autism awareness occurred in 1991 when the U.S. Department of Education ruled that autistic children qualify for special education services.

 

Parents of children with developmental and intellectual disabilities  have an incentive to secure accurate diagnosis, to qualify their child for services they otherwise might not  have access to.

 

 

Since 2006, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends routine screening of all children for autism at 18 and 24 months old. Many physicians, psychologists, and therapists believe early intervention improves these children’s chances to do well intellectually and socially.

If we could go back and review records of children 10, 20, or 30 years ago, and apply current diagnostic criteria, would we find less autism than we do today? Perhaps. But such records would likely reflect the understanding of autism at the time, so might still fail to recognize autism, even when present by today’s standards.

The apparent increased number of children with autism seems alarming-some call it an epidemic. It may represent our increased awareness, recognition, and knowledge about this disorder. And while this increase should raise concern, it can lead to increased research, treatment options, and more effective care for autistic persons.

Here is a link to the original article

Autism Rates in the United States Explained

 

 

 

How The Good Doctor became such a hit

“Highmore’s ( actor who plays an autistic surgical resident ) restrained yet not emotionless portrayal has also resonated within the autism community. Shore (the producer) has heard from multiple people who have found the series inspiring, including one mother who told him that her son, who is on the spectrum and has struggled with depression, agreed to resume therapy after watching the first episode.”

 

 

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