Russell and Lucy
Age of parents:
Age: 7 years
Is this your only child?
Yes, a beautiful younger sister.
Diagnosis of child:
What are the biggest challenges facing your child on a daily basis?
He refuses everything, and I mean everything. Any and all things we asked of him, was met with a meltdown. And these were things we’d do everyday, brush teeth and hair, get dressed, take baths. Even when we tried to play with him, he’d get upset it was never right or get frustrated because he didn’t want to. He had zero flexibility. And he would scream. Constantly scream when met with what he felt were demands. It was exhausting and left me feeling tremendous anxiety anytime I would begin to speak to him. I write this in the past tense as the picture has changed significantly since he has started taking meds.
What are the happiest moments you have with your child on a daily basis?
We do our best to keep our home happy, there are times where there is lots of stress and frustration. When it’s all feeling too much, we head to our local park and that is where we are our happiest.
Are you married? Married.
Has your special needs child had an effect on your marriage?
Certainly, we don’t take anything for granted, especially each other.
Are your family and friends supportive?
I would like to take this opportunity here to acknowledge Noah’s beautiful sister Sophia, these two have an incredible friendship. She get’s him in ways that me or his dad will never. A true connection, it warms my heart.
What has your child taught you about yourself, both positively and negatively?
Noah is smart, silly, sassy, stubborn, sweet and special all woven together. He has opened my eyes to a whole new world I would have never known. And he is so deeply loved, by so many. That’s absolutely for sure.
What has made the biggest difference to your child's quality of life?
We sought out meds as a last resort, it was almost instantaneously that we had a new kid. The screaming stopped, the head banging began to decrease, and for the first time he happily was wiling to cooperate. And it didn’t take away his light, that was important. He was still his happy, silly, stimming self. Medication isn’t for everyone or every family, but for Noah and our family, it has been life changing. I finally realized it wasn’t about what I wanted, it was about what Noah needed.
What is your dream for your child?
You know how sometimes you hear autism parents say, “they wouldn’t change their child for the world.” And you may wonder why? Why wouldn’t you “rid the autism”, if you could. Now I think many would agree, we would do anything to make our children’s lives easier, and autism is not without hardships. We know this. But autism is woven into every fiber, every detail of Noah. And if you took the autism away, wouldn’t you just be taking him away? It’s jarring to even think about. And it’s also hard to wish for something that I don’t even know if Noah wishes for himself. Acceptance, that’s what we need. Because life would be pretty dull without this pudge of happiness.