One Sunday morning in March, I received a phone call. My best friend, Gertrude, had died in the night. Megan, Gertrude’s daughter, had found the body that morning. Megan has Asperger’s syndrome and at the age of 27, her adaptive functioning levels place her in the eight to eleven year old range. When the police arrived, she was in an hysterical state, threatening to kill herself. She was restrained, put in an ambulance and taken to the hospital. That evening, she was finally seen by a psychiatrist who, after a five minute interview, deemed her fit to go home.
I am a participant in an Alberta Family Life Survey for families of children with disabilities. This is a three year project at the University of Alberta designed to help gain an understanding of the multiple roles parent-carers have and what resources they need to keep the family running. I just received the preliminary results of the first survey. I’d like to share some of the highlights of what 538 families said.
Marriage is work and a lot of it, even when the relationship is a strong and loving one. About 60% of all marriages end in divorce. That is a staggering figure. I’ve read that the failure rate of marriages that have a child with autism is 80%, although I have never seen a confirmed study of this number. Does the autism factor put marriages at a higher risk for breakdown?
Most young families look forward to summertime – a holiday and a break from the old routines. For those who have young children with autism, going on a vacation may be simply out of the question because of the disruption to routines, travelling to a strange place, or visiting with relatives the child is unfamiliar with. Throw in a special diet into the mix and travelling becomes even more difficult. You have to avoid restaurants and take your own food everywhere.
Mother’s Day is on Sunday, May 9th. It’s an occasion when we celebrate and recognize what mothers mean to us and the difference they have made in our lives.
The Winter Olympics wrapped up on Sunday in
The Christmas holidays were something I always enjoyed throughout my childhood and young adult life. It’s that time of year to recognize people you care about by giving a gift or a card. Family and friends get together to socialize. Routines can go by the wayside for a couple of weeks.
Our autism community was in the headlines again last week over the tragic death of James Delorey in
The start of the school year is an anxious time for parents, especially if their child on the spectrum is attending a new school. Even if a child is returning to the same school there may be changes such as a new teacher, aide or classroom or program adjustments.
Setting aside time just for yourself is not something any mother does readily. We know we’re supposed to look after ourselves but that usually comes after childcare, a job outside of the home, housecleaning, grocery shopping, meal preparation and running errands.
My husband and I have been cycling with our children since they were babies. We used the chariot carts attached to our bikes for years to take them safely riding with us. We tried for several years to get them to ride their own bikes independently.
I am often asked the question when is the best time to start toilet training and how does a parent know when their child is ready to be trained. Personally, I think the summer can be a great time to start because school is finished and there are fewer day to day demands on the child. The less people involved in the toileting process, the easier it is. If you are a family that stays at home for the summer or just takes a short holiday, the summer break can be an ideal time to start. Both of my children were toilet trained over the summer – Julia at age 6 and Marc at age 9.