Friday, August 20, 2010

Multiply Your Life - Turn it up as a case study!

Yesterday I was looking up some random stuff & found this article here about deep pressure as a therapy for people on the autism spectrum. The author, Dr. Grandin (yay CSU profs!) used her life as a case study and then incorporated other research to support her experiences in her literature review. After that, she wrote about an experiment she conducted with other college students using the same deep pressure techniques she used on herself. Research backing her experiences and the data from her experiment with college students verified that the technique she discovered is valid & works.

Something that hit me in the midst of me reading that like, "THIS IS SO NERDY BUT SO AWESOME!!!" is this: she opened her life up to help other people and she's used her strengths to improve life for animals. In her journal articles, she backs up her work with research, but there's a sense that she pours her life out on these pages because she wants others to benefit. Her life is a bit convicting because I have to ask myself: how much am I willing to pour out my life - both its weaknesses and its strengths for others? The apostle Paul admits that his life is poured out like a drink offering (2 Timothy 4:6) and in multiple places he speaks candidly about his weaknesses, the most famous being in 2 Cornithians 12. where he boasts about his weaknesses. In a way, Dr. Grandin does this by being up front with her sensory struggles or other issues related to autism and how she's used research to figure out how to cope.

I've struggled with attachment issues, low self-esteem, and other issues because of different things in my past. All this has been complicated by an ASD and I have had to learn how to cope as well. However, I have more than just research to lean on. I have the words of my Creator!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :) :) :) He has seen me in my darkest moments. When I was crying too hard for words & was alone, He heard me when in my little heart I asked where He was. When I tried to get to Him by doing good, He showed me that all have sinned and fallen short of His glory, but I could be justified by His grace by Christ. As I let Him free me from the effects of my past & remove the shame of having multiple disabilities, I can share this experience with other people. If others learn from my life - not about what I did, but more about how God can help them, than this is pouring out my life in a similar way as Dr. Grandin has. Yet, that journal article focuses only at relieving physical/neurological sensory issues. God - when I allow Him to use my life - can change people's life here on earth, but also give them hope for eternity.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Worship in the Specialist Mind

Several people think about a mind that is on the autism spectrum as being a specialist mind. In the DSM-IV, one of the main symptoms of classic Autism, atypical Autism, or Aspergers Syndrome is that someone has a special interest in a select few topics to the point where he or she has difficulty talking or thinking about other things. That was pretty much my life to a T in elementary school. I didn't get any sort of social skills training until junior high when my two aunts worked on it with me. With their help, I was able to talk with friends about more than my fixations. These fixations (or special interests as other people might call them) were mainly around people, places, natural science topics, or medical topics. Good things resulted from several fixations: My medicine fixation got me to premed, my science fixation got me into psychology / HDFS and fueled my interest in research and now I have a master's degree. When I listen to interviews by Temple Grandin, I can tell when she starts going into her fixations, even though she has had training on speaking as a professional. One thing that's nice is that others know her fixations so they generally keep things within those interests. She often starts to tangent into her cattle research or about stuff she's written about early intervention for children on the Autism spectrum whenever she's answering a question and something related to the question or her answer reminds her of those two topics.

When I was little, my special interests were not dealt with in the most adaptive way (more on that here if you really want to know). The only special interest that others tried to stop Dr. Grandin from having was her thing with the squeeze chute. They put a weird Freudian spin on it, and now all developmental psychologists know that Freud's theories are pretty whacked and the only reason we ever talk about him was because he knew early development was important. Erik Erickson straightened a lot of Freud's stuff out, so that's good. Anyway, Dr. Grandin still talk about how it was hard for her to explain to others that the squeeze chute met a sensory need she had, and no one got it until sensory dysfunction started to be researched. In fact, she used this fixation to advocate for research and intervention for sensory issues, especially for people on the Autism spectrum.

Wow... speaking about tangenting, I'll give people bonus points if they can figure out my current fixations... ahem.. anyway, how does all this back-story relate to worship in a specialist mind? As a Christian, I am to submit my mind to Christ. Yup. Even the not-normal parts because as Creator, He allowed my DNA to be sequenced to express all my neurotypical and autistic traits! Something I wondered was: How will God use any fixations I have or end up having for His glory? If God hard-wired my brain this way, it must be for a reason that He sees is good.

I got a glimpse of the answer during worship at church when the worship leader asked us to focus on one specific trait of God as we sang a song. It was one of those, "I GET IT!" moments. Paul often prayed for people to know more about one of God's attributes specifically. If someone has a specialist mind, he or she can take a particular aspect of God and dig deep for information about it and how other attributes of Him relate to it or how it is played out in the Bible. I've had this happen before :) During my premed days, God tackled me with His Truth that He is Creator and He did not create by evolution. He used our biology major pastor to do it :) I went from being the skeptic evolutionist girl to the girl everyone knew talked about Creation and God as Creator. I still do to some extent, but that really fit well with my special interest of medicine at the time, so I had a one track mind for both for a very long while. Did it help? Yes. No matter if I found the world confusing or painful, knowing there was a Person who created it and redeemed it was my comfort. It kept me humble because I didn't learn things only with the intent of puffing myself up. I knew that Someone had made the human body, chemistry, the physical laws, and He allowed me to learn them for His glory.

I think in heaven, we will have perfect brains that will be able to also be specialist brains. We will never stop learning about God, therefore, we would need a lot of storage room to learn about His many attributes. Yet we will not do it in isolation. We will do it in perfect community, extending perfect love to each other and being in perfect love and relationship with Jesus Christ who made us and redeemed us all!!!! :)

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

GOD IS THE FAMOUS ONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I wrote something sort of similar in my other blog... Today I read the story of Hezekiah and I am always struck by how much he pursued God, yet pride was still his downfall. It started when he thought that God loved him more than most after he was miraculously healed. He got comfortable with his accomplishments and he showed them off to the Babylonians as 'his.' Nope. Not his. God's.

I think God is really ramming this idea down in my brain that HE is the FAMOUS ONE, not anyone else (ahem: Temple Grandin, Chris Tomlin, Mark Driscoll, John Piper, Beth Moore, Corrie Ten Boom, Tim Tebow, John Elway or anyone else that I think is pretty cool & the world sees as famous). By the way, wow, that's a decent list going... anyway, going off the song Famous One, it's interesting how God's fame is established as Creator. "YOU are the LORD / the Famous One, Famous one / Great is your name in all the earth / The heavens declare You're glorious, glorious / Great is your fame beyond the earth " The song goes into how Christ is sovereign and the desire of every heart & how He alone is God. Then it goes back to God as Creator

"The morning star is shining through / and every eye is watching you / REVEALED BY NATURE & MIRCALES /You are beautiful / YOU ARE BEAITUFUL! " :)

Yay! God as Creator is one fixation that definitely can go deeper & that is one that He definitely gave me because I initially denied His title as Creator to His FACE - even after I accepted Christ. Then God used John Meyer to slap me around some until I was running around as premed going, "God is Creator - EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEK!" He always brings me back to this Truth & then other Truth flows out of that :)

God alone
Is my Creator, Savior, Comfort, Example.
He lifts me up and brings me down.
He has formed my brain with its weaknesses and talents.
And any accomplishments are for His glory.

May I walk humbly before my God
Repenting when I sin,
Running back to Him when I put my hope in another
And may He use my life to bring others to know Him
As Creator, Savior, Comfort, so they can sing along with me
That He is the Famous One, and His name is great beyond the earth