Last night the two wonderful BCBAs from my son’s private autism school came over for two hours to give me suggestions on how to make Justin more independent with his nighttime routine. I know some of you are rolling your eyes and saying “first world autism problems, Kim,” but hell, their services are free, and it’s important that I make him as independent as humanly possible.
I am very conscious of the fact I won’t be here forever to give him his bath, so the more he can learn on his own, the better.
As usual the ladies came up with some fabulous ideas I will be implementing over the next few months, and when they left, it was nice to know I was doing a lot right.
Even we autism mommies need a reward on occasion.
Just a few years ago I might not have contacted the school to ask for help, as requesting aide has never been my forte as I used to be the person (a teacher) who helped other people.
Not asking for help when you have a severely autistic kid- big mistake.
Back in the day when my son was first diagnosed we lived in the DC area, and most of our friends worked or had just had kids of their own. Despite that fact we did get offers of assistance, most of which we turned down. After all, we were two reasonably intelligent and responsible adults, we could handle this.
Well, maybe not so much.
I’m not one who believes in regrets- a waste of time for something you can’t change. If I had it to do all over again however I would change this. I would take those offers of help, from babysitting to running errands for me to making a Starbucks run (it was just down the street,) and as long as people were offering, I’d take them up on their kindnesses.
We all need a little help sometimes.
So if your child has just been diagnosed, or you’re a few years in, or hell, he’s a teenager, and someone reaches out, just take it. I know, you’ll be worried about what happens when you’re out (it might be awful, but at least you got to go somewhere!). Maybe you don’t want to inconvenience someone if they offer up dinner (trust me, it makes them feel good to help and it’s one less meal to cook, go for it!). Perhaps you’re just too overwhelmed with so many, many needs that you can’t even separate out what you need most.
Make the time to do that. It is so important not only for your child, but for you.
Having an autistic child can be incredibly lonely and isolating. Even if you’ve made some “autistic mommy peeps” you may not be able to sneak away with work and Early Intervention schedules to hang out and give each other support. I will say this- it is integral to your mental health that you get a break, and trust me, most of the people offering really mean it.
Besides, you can glorify their efforts on Facebook later, a win-win for all!
There’s nothing wrong with admitting you’re overwhelmed. There’s nothing wrong with admitting you’re exhausted.
There’s nothing wrong with admitting you’ve run out of wine and chocolate.
Ask for help. And know as you’re doing it you’re not only doing something good for yourself, you’re helping your child too.
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