Our son is 6 years old and recently was diagnosed with autism. We made the decision to pull him out of kindergarten and put him in a full-time applied behavioral analysis (ABA) program, which runs from 8:30 - 3:00 every day.
The challenge with this schedule is transportation. We were lucky to have him ride the bus to and from school. That took one thing off our to-do list. But we had to be home in time to get him off the bus. Now, we drive him half-an-hour to therapy and back.
All of this is fine. We do whatever we can to help our kids. But it doesn’t happen in a vacuum.
My partner and I each have new jobs. So we are learning this new schedule, while also trying to figure out how to succeed in new careers. We have to prove that we are good enough at what we do in order to get the work schedule flexibility we’re going to need down the road.
It’s hard enough to parent a child with disabilities with a thought out, well executed routine. But when you throw in life stuff like new jobs, everything just gets a little bit harder.
I also have to remind myself that being a good dad doesn’t happen in a vacuum. I’ve got so many dadgum other pressures in my life that sometimes it’s just flat out hard to manage everything. That, in and of itself, is stressful.
It’s not about not managing priorities. It’s the thought that you struggle to manage them. We’re not supposed to struggle. We’re supposed to make this look easy. Easy for ourselves, for our families and for those around us watching us in awe.
And some days, it is easy.
But a lot of days, it’s not.
So right now, as I’m sitting here typing this, I'm watching the clock. Knowing that I have to leave my office at a certain time to get to the therapy location to pick my son up, so I can take him home, pick up my other kids and then work from home for a couple hours until my older son has to go to karate.
Man, it’s not easy. It’s worth it, but it’s definitely not easy.
Family Support offers information and ideas to help with daily life and its stresses.
I was surprised how parenting a kid with intensive needs affected my relationship with my older children and my extended family.
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