Autism Moms Interview #2 Lorna Bradley

Our second interview for the FIN Autism Moms Blog Series is with Dr. Lorna Bradley.  Lorna lives in Texas and is the author of the inspiring book, Special Needs Parenting; From Coping to Thriving.  If you attended That All May Worship-2015, you may remember Lorna for her fun stories and easy manner.  I am amazed at  her enthusiasm and energy.  (She runs marathons for fun!)  Thank you Rev. Bradley for participating in our Blog Series and for all you do as an Autism Mom.

Interview with: Rev. Dr. Lorna Bradley

Position/Title: Fellow, Hope and Healing Institute, //hopeandhealingcenter.org/about-us/hope-healing-institute/

Question: How old was your child when he/she was diagnosed with autism?  Can you share how you felt when you received that diagnosis?

Lorna: Our diagnosis journey is a bit different than some.  We started when my son, Craig was around 4. His behaviors told a mother’s heart that something was not right. His initial diagnosis was ADHD, but I knew it was more than that.  Then came obsessive compulsive disorder, and Tourettes, and dysgraphia, and other diagnoses related to memory and language processing. ASD came up along the way, I asked about it.  I was told had too much empathy to have ASD. Ultimately, a diagnostician in high school said to just start over from scratch with his testing.  That is when we had the diagnosis on the autism spectrum, Aspergers (which apparently now is no longer a diagnosis.) Each time we would get a new diagnosis I had a sense of, “I guess this is what we call it for now.” He is still my son.  Nothing changes with the new name.

Question: How has living with autism affected your family? (immediate or extended)

Lorna: Within the immediate family, just me and my husband, it has been okay.  We have to try to be on the same page.  Our son can really push our buttons so we have perfected tag-team parenting. We know when the other needs a break.  A times the tension between my husband and son has been really high.  It would basically drive me out of the house.  I couldn’t stand to be around it.  Once they realized how negative it was for me they really improved how they communicate.  We are on the same page about dreaming of possibilities for our son’s future and doing all that we can to equip him.  Per extended family, some grandparents “get” our son and others don’t.  We don’t spend a whole lot of time with the ones who don’t.

Question: What is currently your biggest challenge as an autism mom?

Lorna: Right now I am concerned for my son’s future employment and relationships.  He really wants to have a girlfriend, but it will take finding just the right person.  I admire his perseverance. A job search presents similar concerns.

Question: What is currently your greatest joy as an autism mom?

Lorna: My son is about to graduate from college, a day we barely dared to dream of years ago!

Question: Has autism affected your faith?  If yes, how so?

Lorna: I think autism has made my faith stronger.  I look for how God has created healing apart from a cure.  God is faithful.

Question: Is there anything else you would like to share about being an autism mom?

Lorna: I wouldn’t trade it for anything.  My son without ASD would not be the same person he is now.  Wishing away the ASD is like wishing away the child (young man) that I know and love. The best thing that I can do for him is to help equip him to work with the skills and abilities that he has and flourish with those.  We’ve got to bloom where we are planted!

You can hear Lorna’s 5 Minute That All May Worship-2015 Video Presentation at http://www.faithinclusionnetwork.org/videos-that-all-may-worship-guest-speakers/ and learn more about Lorna and her work at specialneedsparenting.me

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