I wanted to share something with you that I believe every loving, involved and advocating parent struggles with when it comes to the care and well being of his autistic child. I know that many of mine and my wife’s discussions revolve around this, and that it seems to be a recurring topic naturally in our household. My goal today is just to share a topic that I believe many families living with autism struggle with and to reassure you that you are not alone if you have experienced similar. I am eager to hear your experience.
What I want to discuss in a broad context is that of deciding the proper treatment and care for your child’s autism.
Instead of discussing the different kinds of treatment available today, and whether your family subscribes to researched-based, scientifically-based or perhaps other various styles and methods of treatment options currently available, I want to hone in on the specific, secondary effect that the pursuit of any treatment option has on the family dynamic.
I will start with these questions:
1) How often do you and your spouse discuss if the treatment method you are using is actually working for your child?
2) If you do have this discussion, has it ever gotten heated?
3) Have you made major life changes or decisions such as move your family to a different state, change jobs, move to a different school system, quit a career, get a second mortgage, max out credit cards, take out loans, borrow from friends and/or family, take on a second or third job in order to provide your child the BEST and MOST amount of treatment that you could possible provide?
4) Have you ever had to put the needs of your other family members or children second to the treatment needs of your autistic child?
5) Have the treatment needs of your autistic child created difficult logistic problems in your household when it comes to things like travel to and from therapy, babysitters, having to call in sick from work?
I have to be honest that my wife and I have struggled with just about every question above? Who wouldn’t when you love and want the best possible outcome in life for your autistic child, right? As the primary advocates and caregivers for our child didn’t we agree to a “whatever it takes” attitude in pursuit of that care?
My main question for today in lieu of an answer is: How much is too much?
When do you draw the line? When do you draw that line between your faith in a perfect order of things in life and the secular works you attempt in getting treatment for your child? At what expense do you pursue treatment options at the expense of your marriage, health, emotional well-being and the other members in your family? Does your family “struggle” with autism, or does autism just “live with your family?”
I am hoping to get some feedback on this from my audience. What are your thoughts on this and why?