Well, 2023 is off to an interesting start…
Unfortunately my family was in a car accident on Christmas night coming home from Pennsylvania. Happily no one was hurt, but of course getting the car fixed will take months and has become one of our immediate tasks for 2023. I was injured at work a few weeks ago and am following up on that with my company, which is a lot of waiting around for things to happen. And although I started the process of getting in-home ABA help with my oldest and severely autistic son in July, we are still waiting for insurance approval to get started on assisting him with his self-help skills.
I am not good at waiting.
However, I have learned this over the years. Sometimes it is difficult not to get frustrated with all the details associated with getting help, whether it’s with a car repair or getting assistance with an autistic child. A few years ago I came up with a mantra that has served me well not only with all things autism-associated, but in life as well.
If it’s not permanent, don’t sweat it.
I’m not saying I don’t have a good rant when I’m met with “I don’t know whens,” because that is my least favorite response in the universe. I do. And then I try really hard to let it go so I can focus on what I can change.
My car will be fixed. My shoulder will heal. Eventually ABA practitioners will be in my home.
It will all happen.
The truth is, if you’re raising a profoundly autistic child, there will be many very difficult issues you will not be able to change. Despite identifying his autism and getting him into therapy at an incredibly early age for a 2003-born baby, my son will never have mastery over the spoken word. Despite getting in-home ABA help, he will never be completely independent with his self-help skills. He will always need constant supervision.
He will always be at-risk for harm. This is the one that kills me.
There are so very many complex and distressing issues surrounding profound autism that we as parents must deal with every day, that trying not to waste energy stressing about the small, temporary “stuff” is a healthy way to approach things. I’m not saying I always approach the “big things” in a healthy way, but I try. In order to function I have to compartmentalize some things, like who will love him after his father and I die, or on a lesser note, how I will survive his graduation from his beloved school in seventeen months without melting into a blubbering mess (odds are against me on that one).
I do a lot of self-care. I meditate. I limit the wine (but not the chocolate, working on that one). I know how important it is to take care of me so I can function, and thrive, for him.
So if 2023 has not begun on a positive note, try hard to figure out what’s temporary, and what’s permanent, and most importantly, how you’ll deal healthily with both. If there’s any new year’s resolution worth making it’s figuring out what you have to do for you to stay healthy emotionally, mentally, and physically.
You are the most important person in your autistic child’s life and they need you, but equally important, you deserve to be happy and healthy just for you. Do whatever it takes to find that peace.
Don’t give up.
Here’s wishing you a 2023 with those goals in mind!
For more on my family visit my blog at autismmommytherapist.wordpress.com
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