The Most Stressful Time of Year When Your Kid Has AutismLisa Quinones-Fontanez
Raising a kid with autism can be stressful. My 7-year-old son,Norrin has a lot of energy while I’m usually running on empty. As a mom who works outside the home, our day-to-day is pretty hectic. We live our life on a schedule, especially on school days.
While many parents and kids look forward to the lazy laid back days of summer, if you’re an autism parent then you may dread it. If your kid has summer school, there may be a new bus driver, matron or teacher, and a whole new routine. If your kid doesn’t have summer school, you wonder how you will spend the next two months and worry whether or not your child will regress.
Summer is the season that stresses me out the most. It’s only the first week of July and I’m counting the days till September. (It’s 60, if you must know.)
Most of the kids in my neighborhood are either sleeping in late or heading off to camp, vacation or the babysitters. Not my kid.
Norrin is still waking up by six in the morning and on the school bus by 7:10 AM. He will have summer school for another five weeks.
This week is his first week of school. We have a new school bus driver and a new pick-up and drop time for the summer school session. And when your kid has special needs and they are bussed to a school twenty miles away—you want some kind of consistency. We rely on routine. This week our routine is all out of sorts and we are working to get back into a groove.
The most stressful part of my week was when the bus matron called me at work. They arrived forty-five minutes earlier than the day before and were waiting in front of my building. The matron called our apartment, but our babysitter hadn’t arrived. I tried calling my babysitter’s cell phone, but kept getting her voicemail. I couldn’t get in touch with husband. I couldn’t get in contact with my neighbor. For fifteen minutes, all I could think about was Norrin sitting on that bus wondering why no one was coming to get him and what would happen if no one could. Thankfully, the babysitter arrived. But it was another reminder of how powerless I am and how much I rely on strangers to care for Norrin.
By the time we get into our routine, summer school will be over and it will be four weeks of chaos. Since summer camp is not an option, there will be a lot of juggling and running around. Everyday will be a new routine. But it’s only for a few weeks, it’s hectic but manageable. That’s what I tell myself.
What’s your most stressful time of year as a parent?
Read more of Lisa’s writing at AutismWonderland.