The reality is that each one of my three kids is unique in every way.
Saying that everyone with an Autism diagnosis is the same is like saying every person is in the world is the same because we’re all human beings. Sure there are things that are common across the board but that’s about it.
Each one of my kids has unique and oftentimes conflicting needs. This means that by providing one of my kids with something they need, I can be causing distress for one of my other kids. This is especially true when it comes to their sensory processing needs.
I have to make at least three different dishes for each of the three daily meals (often multiple times) because no one will eat the same thing and if I don’t cater to their food proclivities, they will go hungry.
If you assumed that kids with sensory-related food proclivities will eat if they get hungry enough, you’d be assuming incorrectly and I’d be once again inclined to remind you what they say about people who assume. 😉
Kids with sensory-related food proclivities will not eat sensory offensive even if they’re really hungry, any more than you or I would eat a cat turd out of the litter box.
This is something that happens every single day of my life and if I don’t cater to my kid’s unique needs, they’ll end up losing more weight. This is a serious problem.
Few things are as fun and rewarding as powerlessly watching my oldest child go through a psychotic break for the umpteenth time. That’s sarcasm by the way. It’s truly one of the most heartbreaking things I’ve experienced in my life.
Then of course there are all the medications and treatments I have to perform daily or weekly, to battle the things that make my son’s physical and emotional health so fragile. I have to stay on top of and properly manage roughly 30 different medications between myself and my three kids. That’s daily and sometimes multiple times daily.
Everything is a battle.
I routinely battle insurance companies, fight for what my kids need in school, deal with ignorant people in the public arena who are all too willing to share their opinions of my kids with me, manage the inevitable daily meltdowns over things I oftentimes have zero control over and go to the ends of the Earth and back to meet sensory needs that are damn near impossible to meet.
Don’t even get me started on getting some of my kids to actually wear clothes, shoes, or socks. Seriously, that’s in a whole didn’t Universe of difficulty.
What I’ve written above are just the things off the top of my head. I didn’t get into the guilt because that’s a post by itself. There are a million things that are just as exhausting and overwhelming for me that I didn’t mention.
I’m so tired all the time and even when I sleep I don’t sleep well because I have to sleep with one ear open.
Finally, I wouldn’t be doing this post justice if I didn’t mention something that no one wants to talk about and that’s the physical and emotional health of the parent. In this particular case, that would be me.
I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about how all the stress, anxiety, and constant state of hyper-vigilance impact me as a person.
Aside from stress eating and totally lacking anything that even resembles energy, I’ve also been waging a war with Depression. This has been a longtime war but it’s absolutely harder to manage when I’m constantly buried by all the things I need to do, all the things I’ve failed to do, and all the things that I worry about.
This is just a portion of my personal experience and keeps in mind that this doesn’t even touch on all the everyday life things that I do my best to muddle through but typically have to back burner.
I don’t know if this is something that is easily understood but I would think that at least someone out there can relate and if you can, please leave a comment below. Actually, I’d love for everyone to leave a comment and simply share their thoughts, opinions, or questions.