Don’t judge, things happen

      18 Comments on Don’t judge, things happen


So I wanted to take a few minutes and turn our misfortune into a learning experience. This is simply meant to educate and nothing more. I share our story, good,bad and otherwise.  I do so in a transparent manner so that hopefully, lesson can be learned.

I wrote a post a few days ago, in response to the Fox News story about the little 5 yr old autistic boy denied lunch at school because his parents were behind on the bill.

There was quite a bit of judgements being made about the parents.  Some people thought they were bad parents because the bill was left unpaid.

My goal was to remind people that these parents shouldn’t be judged so harshly because we have absolutely no idea what their lives are like. Special needs parenting can be very overwhelming, exhausting and down right impossible at times.



I shared with you all that I’m guilty of dropping the ball as well.  Does that make me a bad parent?

The problem with taking things at face value is that you won’t have the full story.

I want to share something with you that just happened and I’m not proud of.  This is embarrassing for me but I think it’s important for people to understand how these things can happen.



A few moments ago I watched as Dominion East Ohio (natural gas) pulled up in front of my house.

image

They had come to shut off our natural gas.  The gentleman was very nice, but his hands were tied. To our knowledge, we were on hold because of a medical certificate. This puts off the disconnect for 30 days and gives us a chance to come up with the money.

Turns out that the form was never received by our doctor and therefore never submitted.

There was no way to fix this on the spot so they had to disconnect our gas until this issue was resolved. The other option was to pay them $863 and that was not an option that we could afford. So our gas has been disconnected.  That means no cooking,  bathing or heating the house and it will be in the 40’s tonight.

Now,  to anyone watching from the outside, it looks like we just didn’t pay the bill, much like the parents of the little boy in the article.

However, a look beneath the surface will reveal a huge list of reasons why we fell behind, beginning with our van being stolen at the beginning of the year.

We were on the PIP payment plan for natural gas and I didn’t realize that we had to renew this past January.  This resulted in us being removed from the plan and forced to pay the full amount.  I’m sure there was a letter sent out but in all the everyday chaos and the added drama about losing our only vehicle to theft,  I never saw it.

It was my responsibility and I accept it.

Honestly, we weren’t in the best position to begin with but we were surviving. With that one event,  a chain reaction occurred that we have not been able to recover from.

That doesn’t include the nearly half a dozen hospital trips for Gavin alone this summer,  many resulting in admissions.  The only other thing I can say is that when you have a special needs child,  or three in our case, it’s really easy to get tunnel vision.

Should we have paid the bill? Absolutely. I once again accept full responsibility for that.

However,  does getting behind on the bill and having the gas shut off make me a bad parent?  I would hope not. However,  some may see it differently.

My point is that things happen.  Being a special needs family doesn’t provide us with an exemption. In fact,  if anything, it makes us more vulnerable to the twists and turns that life throws our way. In the case of my family, we have been stretched so thin, it doesn’t take much to send everything on a downward spiral.

The parents of that little boy have a great deal on their plate.  While I don’t know their entire life story, I know enough about my own personal life,  that I would never assume they were bad parents and neither should you.

The bottom line is, things happen.  They happen to all of us. Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, things slip through the cracks.

As special needs families, we are tasked with an enormous amount of responsibility.  Why is it that people are so quick to point out the mistakes?

We have no idea what that family was going through. We have no idea what they managed to overcome.  All we know is that the lunch bill fell through the cracks.

Sure,  we lost an important utility.  However, we managed to survive this long. Gavin hasn’t been rushed to the hospital in over a month. He’s also relatively stable, health wise. There was a point this summer when we thought we were going to lose him to an autonomic crisis. We’ve also managed to keep our house and replace our van.

I would say those are huge accomplishments.

Perhaps others out there have managed similar feats. Perhaps,  they dropped the ball on somethings but I would imagine they accomplished so much more.

I’m not proud of having our gas disconnected but somehow we’ll manage.  In the grand skeem of things, we have much bigger things to worry about.

I’ll say it again.  There is no point in judging a special needs parent.  Most are already harder on themselves than you could ever be.

 

Take a second and answer the poll

Does your child with Autism benefit from physical or occupational therapy?

Facebook Profile photo

About Rob Gorski

Father to 3 with Autism and husband to my best friend. Oh...and creator fo this blog. :-)

  

18
Leave a Reply (Login to the site or comment as a guest)

Please Login to comment
avatar
10 Comment threads
8 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
10 Comment authors
CarlyoungBattySoundless2lostandtiredDeborahWigginSnyder Recent comment authors

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Melissa
Guest
Melissa

Glad I did not see the negative backlash on the parents of that 5 year old boy!  I posted the story on my FB and people were shocked and very supportive!  No child should go without a lunch!  Been following your blog for awhile but this is my first time commenting.  I marvel at your strength!  My son is on the mild to moderate side of autism and my other son is not on the spectrum at all.  Seeing you do it x's 3 makes my worst days seem like something.  I root for you and your family everyday 🙂

Aspie Writer
Guest

Thank you for posting this! It is about time someone does. I find that in the world of parenting, there is too much harsh judgment–special needs parents or not. I don't think anyone is a bad parent for falling behind on the bills, and we do beat ourselves up over it. We've all been there (or at least I like to tell myself that). My chaotic aspie brain has caused me to pay the mortgage twice because I forgot I paid it, and then paid it again–everything else was shut off that month…oops. I've completely forgotten to pay the electric… Read more »

Mary Franzen Costell
Guest
Mary Franzen Costell

Even at my most organized stay at home mom of two typical kids phase I forgot a bill or two. Its one of the reasons auto bill pay became so popular. Everybody screws up somewhere. I also admit that my lunch account has gotten behind before simply because i forgot, and as a classroom volunteer I stuffed many a past due notice in typical children's backpacks. It happens, that's why our schools still provide a PBJ and milk. By the way, sorry about the gas shutoff. Sometimes you must feel like Job. Amazing job keeping it together.

DeeBrake
Guest
DeeBrake

i always get phone calls and reminders. i always say OMG i forgot that one. such is my life with twins. let alone one with MILD autism. no matter what we face in life, no matter how many kids we have or what our state of affairs. we are all human. i usually remember to pay the cable bill once it is cut. and then call them and say HEY i have no tv service . and i paid $100 last week. they simply reply you paid $100 on a 4 months out of date bill. the bill was only… Read more »

Rob Gorski
Admin

 @Aspie Writer @DeeBrake @Mary Franzen Costello  Thanks for the positive feedback. I hope people open their eyes and learn that there is more going on beneath the surface.

Carlyoung
Guest

Things happen.  And when you are the parent of a single special needs child, it happens.  It happens way more often when you start to add other special needs kids into the equation.  I understand completely what you are going through.  Our usual forget bill is the telephone.  I always forget it, and then the day comes off and suddenly no telephone service… yeah, let me get right on that.  The used to give me a call, but I guess they decided that it isn't there job to make sure that I pay our bill.  In truth, it isn't.  But… Read more »

Rob Gorski
Admin

 @Carlyoung  No worries my friend. That wasn't the point of this. I just want people to remember that there is often so much going on behind the scenes. We all do so much that is amazing and for people to focus on the things that slip through the cracks is really sad.    Hang in there my friend. If there is anyone out there that understands, I know you do. I'm also really sorry to hear about Marc.    On a side note, I can't figure out how to reblog via triberr. I have been wanting to reblog some of… Read more »

Carlyoung
Guest

 @lostandtired that I can help you with.  in triberr, right above the link to the post is the title.  it should be in bold.  click that. if the reblog option doesn't show on my posts that means something is wrong on my end and I need to fix it.

Rob Gorski
Admin

 @Carlyoung I don't see the option for you. 

Carlyoung
Guest

 @lostandtired odd.  about half the time it tells me that what I post is already in the triberr stream.  will be posting tonight see if I can figure out what it is doing.

Batty
Guest
Batty

 @Carlyoung I finally had to put my phone bill on auto pay with my bank.  It covers my a$$ and keeps the internet + netflix + huluplus up and running.

Carlyoung
Guest

 @Batty yes, I am doing that this weekend.

RhondaCat
Guest
RhondaCat

Rob I know each state is different, but we lost our gas back during the winter…thankfully it was a mild one. and when I went to pay it they wanted the next month too…I decided to heck with it we would go electric. With Abbi being blind and also having SPD she was hurting herself on the flames of the gas heater anyway. So, what I am getting at is this….we did not have the money to replace the gas water heater but there is a program through our AL Power Company…if you change from gas to electric water heater… Read more »

Rob Gorski
Admin

 @RhondaCat That's not to bad of an idea. The problem would still be the furnace. Once we get caught up, it's something we can pull off. 

DeborahWigginSnyder
Guest
DeborahWigginSnyder

Unfortunately, there was a great deal of negative backlash about that story, mostly by those who aren't parents at all. Some people just don't have any sense of decency and compassion!I understand so much about this frustration. My husband lost his job on Sept. 7. He was fired because he had been given permission by two different (consecutive) store managers to take sealed, outdated snack foods out of the dumpster so that our kids would get an occasional treat. Since he had already been put on part-time hours, we obviously don't have money to buy special treats for the kids,… Read more »

Rob Gorski
Admin

 @DeborahWigginSnyder Thank you so much for sharing this. I really wish you and your family the very best. 🙂

Soundless2
Guest
Soundless2

I so understand where you're coming from.  Sometimes, things happen all at once and we can only do what we can to keep up. We had a similar situation last winter where it just seemed nothing would let up. You're doing the best you can and I wish you and your family luck.  Hopefully, you can find some assistance to help?  Have you called your local United Way?   Also, the parents from the lunch story, from what I understand, were only in the negative for $2.  I did not judge them, but I did judge the school faculty for… Read more »

Batty
Guest
Batty

Rob–this link is to a list of grants available for special needs families: &nbsp ;http://www.itaalk.org/nov12/data/downloads/grant%20list%20complete.pdf
There are 6-7 pages of links.  I have screwed up faaaaaar worse than this, so don't beat yourself!
Hugs and prayers!
Karen