By Ashley Andrews, 700 Club Interactive
CBN.com GINNIE'S STORY
Ginnie did not want to concentrate on the reasons of Elizabeth's autism but did mention that up until she was 15 months, she was a "normal" developing child including the ability to speak well for her age. After she was given a group of shots at 15 months, within 2 weeks she had stopped speaking. She mentioned there is an auto-immune deficiency that runs in the family and indicated that the shots may have put something in motion that shut down Elizabeth's ability to speak.
As Ginnie held Elizabeth in her arms and they made eye contact she realized that Elizabeth would blink slowly in recognition of what her mother was saying. Ginnie realized that her daughter was "in there" and was/is determined to educate her. She traveled to Austin, Texas to meet with a woman named Soma who had taught her own autistic son to communicate by pointing to letters on a letter board. One of the first things Elizabeth "wrote" by using the letter board was, "I finally got to talk." On an even more profound note was when she was 6 years old and asked to "write" a word that began with the letter "A" she wrote "agony". She had full comprehension of its meaning expressing that it is agonizing because she was unable to talk. Having no way to express herself Elizabeth, a bright child, was bored with her days.
It has been through the dedication of Soma, her teachers and her faithful educational aide, Terry (she has been with them since Elizabeth was 3) that Elizabeth has learned to speak through a letter board and make known her keen intelligence and ability to express herself through poetry. Their attitude has been that of finding out not what Elizabeth does not know but what she does.
Elizabeth began writing poems at the age of 7; today she is fourteen and has written 100 poems. They are the vehicle in which she is able to communicate and express her thoughts, feelings and emotions. The original IQ test taken at age 2 came back as 69, retested in her first grade year it was 164!
Elizabeth has always been very sensitive to God in her life. Her hyper-sensitivity to things in her immediate surroundings extends to the spiritual side to life. Ginnie said her daughter lives in a prayerful state. She elaborated that the isolation Elizabeth has had to deal with has caused her to be more prayerful. Children with autism, in the quietness hear the still voice of God more than we do. At 9 years old Elizabeth wrote things she knew for sure and three of them were: "1. There is a God 2. I am loved 3. I will survive autism." It is a faith walk for Elizabeth, being locked in her body with autism but it has created a spiritual richness. She has a deeper understanding of the human condition and connects beyond words.
There is much to this story but when I asked Ginnie what she thought her daughter would want to get across she responded, "look beyond the odd behavior, I am in here."