Our Keepsake Journal is Here! 🎉

When my son was newly diagnosed with autism, I was reading everything—the good, the bad, and the ugly. So much so that to this day, I can barely handle reading anything on the subject because I overdosed so badly on it. I went through a grieving process as all families do. Grieving my expectations, hopes, and dreams. It was during this time that all hell broke loose.

My child, like a lot of other people who experience autism, has a lot of other psychological and medical issues that interact with his autism. The combination of all those things led to some years I’m sure were just as horrific for him as they were for us. I feel bad using words like “hell” and “horrific” to describe this, but those are words that describe this time in our lives.

RELATED: “Your Son Has Autism; You Should Begin Looking for an Institution.” (We Said No.)

I’ve talked with a lot of parents of children with autism, and this seems to be something that happens with a lot of our children. As a parent, you are desperately trying to figure out how to help your child. You are talking to everyone, pleading with doctors, therapists, and anyone who might have some help. But nothing seems to work.

Your child is in and out of the hospital. It’s a very dark time. You don’t feel like you have anywhere to turn. The only people who really understand what you are going through are other autism parents you’ve found, and they are your lifeline. The parents with older children tell you it will get better. They tell you not to give up hope on your child doing things yet because you will be surprised. But you don’t believe them. You start to question if they really understand the hell you’re living through. How could your child ever do x, y, and z? It’s impossible.

And yet . . . I’m now one of those parents with an older child with autism. We survived hell and the horrific. Things I never thought would be remotely possible for my son are happening. He attends an early morning church class and is currently passing all his high school classes despite having severe sleep issues that prohibited this previously. He has people at school he considers friends for the first time this year.

RELATED: My Son Won’t Grow out of Autism but He Is Growing into Himself

We haven’t made it to driving a car and having a job yet. We’re working toward that. He won’t be graduating on time, but he will likely graduate from high school despite learning disabilities and previously severe behavioral issues. He currently has no behavioral issues at school, and at home, the only ones he has are those of a normal teenager. It is my hope, now, that in the next 10 years, he will be self-sufficient enough to live on his own in an apartment. It may not happen. I’m not sure he wants that to happen. But that is my current dream for him.

How did we get here? Part of it came from him and gaining plain old maturity. Part of it was that a big turning point was doing genetic testing to find out specific medications for him that work. This is really when things started coming together for us. Part of it was never giving up, and the fabulous therapists and teachers who worked with him and us along the way. So, if you’re in the middle of hell and the horrific, believe me when I say, “There is hope.”

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Check out our new Keepsake Companion Journal that pairs with our So God Made a Mother book!

Order Now
So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Calleen Petersen

An Ordinary Mom who believes in standing up, speaking out, and sharing her truths. A student of psychology. I write about disabilities, parenthood, life, and my thoughts. You can find me at An Ordinary Mom's Musings.

Life with Autism Is Full of Ticking Time Bombs

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother, father, teen daughter, color photo

Many of us who live with autism are familiar with the comings and goings of the ticking time bomb—one that disappears for periods of time, so much so that we might forget about it. Then, suddenly, this bomb drops at our doorstep in the form of a returning or new obstacle, so intense that it causes us to pause our lives, alter our plans, maybe even change our current paths. For our family, the new challenge has been sudden, piercing, sporadic screams. Not constant, not even often, thankfully, but jolting nonetheless. So here we were, in the midst of our...

Keep Reading

My Teen with Special Needs is Doing High School at His Pace, Not Mine

In: Motherhood, Teen
Teen putting books in backpack

The journey of a special needs parent is both stunningly beautiful and utterly heartbreaking. Often with one coming closely on the heels of the other or at the same time. I have made my peace that our parenting journey doesn’t look like everyone else’s. But it doesn’t mean this year is an easy one. This year my son should be in his senior year of high school with senior pictures, parties, and all the fun senior things to look forward to. It should be a year of celebration. But our year isn’t going to look like that. RELATED: Older Kids...

Keep Reading

There’s So Much You Don’t Know About My Child, So Please Just Be Kind

In: Kids, Living, Motherhood
Child holding hand up to say no

To the lady in the restroom at the grocery store today, You don’t know this, but my young child who was having a meltdown over washing his hands has autism and ADHD.  He didn’t want to wash his hands after using the bathroom. And when I explained to him that we always have to wash our hands after using the restroom, he tried to run out. I stopped him and brought him back over to the sink. He wet his hands and got some soap without a fight and for a moment, relief washed over me. Until he decided that he...

Keep Reading