Family vs Autism

Family vs Autism

I know I am not the only one that has experienced a shift in support from family members once a diagnosis was given to your child. I know I am not the only parent to experience the same stares that strangers give from family- blood relatives when out in public settings?

How do you accept that? Do you accept it?

Autism is just a label. A label that was created to allow individuals with a unique set of gifts to stand out from us “regular” folks. But, it is still just a label. A label that should not allow for others to be treated differently. Just because these individuals are unique, does not make them contagious. It does not mean that they do not have feelings and it also doesn’t mean that they want be left alone.

I have family members that used to be willingly open to watching both Hayden and Maya. These same family members knew that there was the possibility that they could have been different, but they were still treated the same as other family members.

Once the diagnosis was done and that label was placed on both of my children, these same family members’ behaviors took a shift. They weren’t so willingly open to watching them and their reasoning for doing so was because they didn’t know what to do with them. (-_-)

How pathetic is that?

You treat them the same as you were before the label was placed on them. It’s not that difficult. It’s hard enough to deal with the small-minded people out in the community, but to have family members who are old enough to educate themselves on autism act like their own blood is contagious is sickening and disheartening.

So, this goes back to my question, do you accept the behaviors from family that treat your children differently?

NO

As an adult, if you come across something that is new to you, you make yourself aware of what it is and how to work with individuals that have it or you can stay in your bubble and look crazy.

I’ve chosen to not associate myself with people, blood included, that feel it’s okay to stare, make sly remarks, and overall mistreat their family because they didn’t turn out to be “normal.” If you really think about it, what is really normal? That is another conversation for another day.

In the end, my kids are still happy and they are doing just fine. Their loss……

Are you okay?

Are you okay?

…….that’s a good question. (haha) I only laugh because it’s not something that is asked too often.

As a parent, a good parent, your top priority is to make sure that your kid(s) are taken care of. This often means that their needs are put before yours, which is fine and how it should be.

So, where does that leave time for you to take care of you?

Attending speech, occupational and soon to be feeding therapy sessions on a weekly basis, mixed with working a full time job, sprinkled with graduate school home work, and finally a dab of being a single parent. . . . I am sure there is more to add to this list, I just don’t want to overwhelm you.

I’ve learned from many experiences that if I do not make time for myself, my body and health will feel it later and all of this could eventually affect both Hayden and Maya.

Having this conversation with other parents made me feel at ease that I was not alone, but at the same time I did not feel okay that we were all experiencing these feelings.

We all know time can be limited in some households, so you make the best of the little time you have and do something for you so that you can be okay the next time someone asks.

Self Care

Here are some self-care suggestions to help you stay on your toes!

  • Go for a walk-if you are unable to leave the home, walk up your stairs if you have them
  • Be completely still for a few minutes
  • Read a book
  • Take a nap
  • Have a sip of your favorite drink – drink responsibly
  • Take a hot shower or bath (whichever your prefer)
  • Say NO – this may be hard for some, but not adding extra work to yourself can help
  • Get a massage
  • Start an exercise regimen
  • Drink tea/coffee

All it takes is a baby step. The more you make time for yourself, the better you will feel about tackling your every day tasks and protecting your mental health.

That way, the next time some asks if you are okay, you can gladly say yes without lying.

Kids vs Shopping..

Kids vs Shopping..

One word: NOPE!

Once you have kids, you no longer have the ability to browse. That new ability turns into anxiety, which turns into a panic attack.

Let’s reminisce on the past for a second. Remember when you could spend half the day walking through a store, reading books, and smelling each fragrance of a candle available? Do you remember that? Can you still do that when you’re shopping with kids? How about kids with special needs? How are my trips different than any other parent with kids?

Before we get into that, do you know the difference between a meltdown and a tantrum? Check this out before you continue.

-Story Time-

Imagine pulling into the parking lot of your favorite grocery store, thinking the day couldn’t get any better. The entrance you normally go in doesn’t have parking spaces with feasible walking distance with kids. You find a close enough park, to where you don’t have to walk too far with the kids, at a different entrance.

Let me remind you that this is a wonderful day….

You get the kids out of the car and begin to walk towards the door. As you become closer, you notice the attitude of one of your kids is shifting in the wrong direction. You start to walk slower to the door, but not to slow.

When you finally get to the entrance, one of your kiddos is having a full blown meltdown/tantrum-at the entrance. The doors can no longer close because your kid is lying on the ground at the entrance and people are starting to stare.

Not only is he lying on the ground in the fetal position, but he is screaming at the top of his lungs. This behavior only triggers your second kid to begin to cry. Now, you have two crying kids at the entrance of this grocery store. Clearly, one is feeding off of the other…..

What do you do? Why is this happening? How do you keep others from staring and whispering about how you needing to have better control of your kids? (Clearly it’s not a whisper if you can hear them saying this.) How do you keep control over YOURSELF from crying or punching someone in the throat for making a comment on something they don’t know anything about?

Individuals with autism do not like change. Once they experience something in a certain way, they expect it to be that way every time they encounter it and going to the grocery store was no different.

Hayden was used to going through a certain entrance of that grocery store and when we were unable to, he panicked. The entrances may be the same to us, but to him it was a different experience that messed with his overall senses. With him having a sensory processing disorder, I can see how he would react as such.

So, how did I get him up? Eventually, employees came to see what was going on and after explaining to them about autism they understood and kind of steered traffic until Hayden got himself together, which wasn’t too long afterwards. I was always told to have snacks with me when we go out, which I did but neither kid wanted them at that time. Go figure…

How do I keep my emotions together? I take deep breaths, laugh it off or look as mean as possible until I get home and then I cry. This is one of the many experiences that many cannot possible understand unless you are physically in my shoes. . .