Single Moms Raising Autistic Sons

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Friday, November 18, 2005

Being a Single Stay at Home Mom

I started this blog out with the premise of just writing about Griffin and not about myself but I feel that it is time to give a little insight on what it's like to be me: a single stay at home mom. Let it be clear that I am not here to complain or to point a finger at anyone for the situation that I am in. I made choices that put me where I am today and I am grateful for all that I have which is an awesome and precious child and all the rest is just a minor inconvenience. Griffin and I live off of public assistance and his SSI check because I am not able to work full time due to Griffin not being able to go to regular daycare. Griffin goes to school 6 hours a day but his child psychiatrist recommended that he not go to daycare besides the school time stating that it would be detrimental to his progress and well being.

We do not receive child support because Griffin's father disappeared when I told him that I was pregnant so we don't know where he is presently. However, I will never speak of him in a negative way because if it wasn't for him I wouldn't have my beautiful child and besides it would be disrespectful to Griffin to demean his father. Some people may beg to differ on this subject but once again it was a choice that I made that I take full responsibility for and blame no one else. It would be nice for Griffin's father to be in his life and to help us out financially but since that's not the case I just get by the best I can and know that one day I will be in better shape financially. Besides, we aren't hurting for anything our medical is paid for and that is most important because it provides Griffin with all the therapy that he needs.

Life as a single mom is tough there's no doubt about that and especially since I have no family here in Alaska and little support otherwise. I don't have any friends who can watch Griffin for me on a regular basis so that I can have a much needed break but so what, it is just a fact of my life and something that I have just become accustomed to. It can be really hard and quite frustrating when Griffin is having his tantrums and there's no way to escape the screaming and crying so I have just learned to have a weird sense of humor about it and find ways to laugh when I really want to cry.

I have to give credit is due, I have a loving and understanding family who fully support me with their heart and soul which means the world to me. The only thing is that they all live in N.C. and S.C. but fortunately they have free long distance and we talk a lot over the phone. Griffin also has an awesome group of people teaching him at school and their hard work and dedication is made apparent by his excellent progress. This is great support for me as well since they take care of him for 6 hours each day which gives me a break to do some things that I enjoy. I do work part time while Griffin is in school but right now it is sporadic at best and I need more education before I am able to work more regularly.

I am a very proactive mom who does a great deal of research on autism and I am the number one advocate for my child. Eventually I would like to volunteer to be an advocate for early intervention and autism. One major thing that I forgot to mention is that I have Bipolar Disorder, ADHD, and Auditory Processing Disorder. I am being tested in January for autism because I believe that I have Asperger's. These things do no define me but are a huge part of my life and they do interfere with my ability to process information therefore I do have difficulty with verbal communication and with completing tasks. I am presently on excellent medications for my bipolar disorder and they help to keep my moods stable thus I handle situations much easier.

All and all I have a good life regardless of the minor inconveniences. I have the most incredible child that I ever could have imagined and that is all I need to make me smile and just let the rest of life take it course. I am eternally grateful for all life's treasures , I welcome the challenges that I face with each passing day and have learned to love living in the world of autism.


not my blg said...

Hi, I ready your sight and particularly this posting. I live in NC. Its an incredible struggle to raise an autistic child with two parents let alone one. I must comment on what your psychitrist is telling you about keeping your son home. Unless your son is around other children, he will not learn to deal with his sensory issues. When our children are exposed to their peers, they will eventually learn to compensate for the sensory overload and hopefully model typical behavior. Your psychiatrist couldn't be more wrong. You had another post about Griffin wanting to wear a dirty diaper but you were able to get a new one on him after you promised to let him hear his teletubbies video. Well, what you did is a simple form of what's called Applied Behavior Analysis. You withheld a reinforcer (the cd) until he completed the task you asked of him. You should continue this, if you have the strength and will power. My son has been in an ABA program for 5 months now (32 mos old) and he is starting to put simple sentences together. Keep up the good work and don't reward the tantrums. As he gets older, this will get worse if you don't address it now. You can't have these years back and now is the time to shape and mold that behavior.

Aleksey said...
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Lora said...

Hi Alexander's daddy, Thank you for your comments. I re-wrote the portion that you commented on because I guess that it wasn't quite clear that Griffin does go to school for 6 hrs. 5 days a week. You are right about the interaction being so crucial. I have found that school has been a major contributing factor to his excellent progress. I am familiar with ABA and want to begin implementing it at home because, like you, many parents report that he has helped their children tremendously. I am happy to hear that your son is doing so well that's great! Thank you for your support, it is greatly appreciated. I need all that I can get :)

supermom said...

As a single Mom for many, many years...I understand your situation. I also do not get a break from from Litle One (or the other 6) and when he is in school, I am working from home or on the road. I am also about to embark on a new job opportunity to get OUT OF DEBT!!! I commend you on staying strong and encouraging yourself. Sometmes, we have to do that to help us from losing our sanity.
I will be reading regularly and cheering you on all your endeavors!!!
Snow White

mommyguilt said...

You are amazing! I know how difficult it is to be a single mom, especially when adding ASD into the equation. Raising your child alone takes a lot of strength, energy, and faith, but that is all magnified once autism enters the picture.

I applaud your efforts to learn everything that you can about autism and to stand there and fight for Griffin's rights. We should all follow your lead.

I'll keep popping back in for inspiration from you! I've got a nice little link over here now!

Eileen said...

Griffin is lucky to have a mom who is dedicated to helping him like you are!!!

MomOf2 said...

"I welcome the challenges that I face with each passing day and have learned to love living in the world of autism."
Ok. That made me bawl my butt off. You seem to be an incredible mother. And I commend you for staying positive regardless of the father being in the picture, your economic circumstances, and your isolated geographic location. You've got every obstacle in the book standing in your way but you smile while jumping over/going around them. We can all learn much from you.

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