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Our strange holidays with autism

I hope everyone had a good holiday. Some of you may celebrate with friends and family, some of you may not. We don’t. When my kids were probably around 11 or 12, we realized that their autism made change almost intolerable to them.  That’s any change:  Change in season, change in daylight savings time, changes in our daily schedule, someone getting sick, plans changing, holidays … any little change.  So in order to minimize the stress of change as much as possible, we stopped celebrating holidays and even birthdays.  We still recognize the person on their birthday and have a cake, but that’s it.  There’s no singing or big fuss.  Instead of a big party with presents, presents are given through the year “just because” instead of for a specific holiday.  I like it better that way anyway.  It feels more special to me instead of being forced to buy tons of presents for one day.

This Thanksgiving is a little different.  Both of my sons have their own apartments (I’m so proud of them!).  So I cooked Thanksgiving dinner for everyone and delivered it to each of their homes. We visited for a few minutes, and that was it. Easy and stress-free for everyone. That’s also the way we’ll be celebrating Christmas.

It took me a long time to come to terms with the fact that we couldn’t have a big holiday get-together and be “normal,” but now I’ve realized that every family is different and that’s okay.  I can’t tell you how wonderful it feels to let go of all that stress.  It’s awesome being different!

Here’s a little video I made on the holidays and school and how it’s okay to be different:

Hope you all have a good holiday in your own way.


Autism and a thank you

heart thank youI’m sure many of you know what autism is or even know someone who has it.  It sucks.  I’d like to slap it in the face.

As many of you know, I have two sons in their 20s.  They are my world.  After divorcing I raised them on my own.  What you probably don’t know is that my boys have autism, Asperger syndrome to be exact.  They are intelligent, kind, wonderful young men, and I love them with all my heart.  My oldest has finished almost 2 years of university.  He’s on a break right now, but he is hoping to return this fall.  My youngest is a graphic artist and has his own apartment.  I am so proud of both of them!

Day-to-day life can be a struggle for them though.  They deal with a lot of anxiety, stress, and depression on a daily basis.  They also need some support from me to do things most people take for granted, like going shopping or being in social situations or understanding some things.  Some days even those things are impossible even with my help.  I’m their main source of support.

When I was working full time and even part time, it was very difficult to get time off when I needed it.  Sometimes my sons need me multiple times a day, sometimes it’s only a couple times a week.  I always have to be reachable by phone.  Most employers are not understanding of this kind of situation even with the Family Medical Leave Act.  You can’t request time off when you don’t know when it will be or for how long.  That is the main reason I quit my job and now run my business full time.  I’m so thankful I had that option. Now I can be there right away when one of my sons needs something.

I wanted to post this to say thank you to all of you for your support and understanding.  My business wouldn’t exist without all of you, and I am truly thankful.  With your support you give me the time, energy, and finances I need to support my sons and let them live successful lives.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart!