As an Autism Mom (I capitalize it because it’s a double-time job which deserves capitalization and perhaps a large, red cape. But I digress.), I have faced, and will face, many challenging times. I have also discovered what I can and cannot do, and/or put up with.
• read any autism books “just for fun.” I’m all read-out.
• see any movies about autism or the like. Think “A Beautiful Mind.” or even the Temple Grandin movie. I live it, so I don’t need to watch it for fun. For me, not so fun.
• listen to anyone starting a sentence with “no offense, but…” Think about your words first. I’m very open-minded so chances are it won’t offend me anyway, but if I’m in the middle of autism hell you may want to save it for another time.
• “Just get a sitter.” Can’t do it, so please don’t recommend it. My sitters have to be trained. By me.
• go out, even for a quick cup of coffee, without my phone face up next to me. If TJ is having an issue at school (“Mom, I forgot my binder AGAIN!”), I have to be available to help fix it before his entire day is shot.
• think too far down the road. I have so much to handle right here, right now. I can’t plan his future beyond this month. I hope that he has huge successes and accomplishments in his future, but I can’t predict his growth, or accomplishments, or desires. And if you had asked me a few years ago if I thought he’d be doing well in high school, I wouldn’t have been able to answer that yes, he is meeting his challenges in a way I never dreamed possible. In time, he will show us just what he can and can’t do, but it’s completely unpredictable.