Getting Started With Autism

My ten-year-old son was recently diagnosed with autism. This is not something I saw coming. He’s bright, creative, and funny–and while he’s had issues with anger, frustration, and social skills over the years, autism wasn’t in the realm of possibility in my mind. I’ve met kids with autism. I knew what autism is like, and my son just didn’t fit.

Then I read the report and saw how all the pieces fit together, and I realized I had a lot to learn. So I set out to find some resources to learn how to help him and get support for myself. And that’s where I kept hitting dead ends.

No support groups in my area. No social groups. Nothing within a practical distance that would work within our schedules. My son has a lot of support and resources at school, but I can’t find anything for me as a parent. If he had more severe challenges, I’m sure there would be other resources available to us, but I can’t even find a parents group in my county.

And so I subscribed to a magazine and ordered some books, hoping to glean some insight into the way his brain works and some tools for dealing with his meltdowns. I’m tired and I’m in new territory, and I just want to get through a day without my son losing it over his piano practice, or homework, or a video game not going his way.

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Chaos

Right now I am trying to be in a place of calm, a place where I can chill out and then handle the chaos of life better. You don’t just get it overnight; you have to work at it. It’s a daily struggle.

Jackee Harry

I have so much on my mind these days. I often think, “I need to start meditating again,” and I laugh. I am the opposite of being present. I am anxious, I am worried, I am tired. My mind is occupied with a ten-year-old son with high-functioning autism who pushes the envelope at every turn (“Can I watch one more episode of Adventure Time?” when I tell him to go to bed – “I’m still hungry; can I get another snack?”), who in addition to normal ten-year-old boy challenges has meltdowns when his piano lessons get frustrating.

My mind is on my dog who recently started having seizures, and although she appears to be improving with medication, she is still having seizures more often than the vet feels is within the “acceptable” range.” Yet tests aren’t telling us anything we need to know, and so I’m left to wonder how long it will be until her next episode, and whether she feels scared when it happens.

My mind is on my job and continual changes that are outside of my control. I feel lost and directionless; I don’t know if I contribute or where I should go next.

Finances are an eternal stressor, along with housework that’s never complete. I should be eating better, I should be exercising, I should be sleeping more.

Constant worry, anxiety, fear that I don’t measure up to my own high standards. Solitude, no one I can rely on to help me get the job done.

I’m searching for something to quiet this constant thunderstorm rumbling through my head.

Insensible Losses

First, you were an idea,

a wondering,

a what-if.

A faraway notion,

intangible.

 

Then–suddenly–

an integral part of my existence.

What I once couldn’t imagine,

now I couldn’t imagine being without.

 

Helpless, needy,

but crucial.

Forever changing my concept

of what would be.

 

How could I think I knew love

before I knew you?

That requisite part of my heart

that keeps it beating.

 

Someday soon

–too soon–

you will go.

I can’t fathom.

 

Yet.

Certain.

And I will be as before–

separate, individual,

lacking.

 

As breath escapes without notice,

so too

does time slip from my grasp

as I watch you grow,

change,

escape.

 

Special thanks to A Way With Words for bringing my attention to the phrase insensible losses.