I have been a Mom for a little over 4 years. I have learned a lot, in that time, about who is important and who is not. And, let me tell you, these important people are different people than I expected they would be before becoming a Mom. Honestly, I look back at how I thought my life would be and I laugh because I was so naive to the realities of parenting. It's embarrassing!!! I had no clue!!! I have to give myself a break because having twins with Autism is a situation that most could never imagine themselves managing. It's a situation that has required elimination of some, and the under-whelmingly permanent inclusion of constant uncertainty about who would come next. We were lost when it came down to who could be trusted to be a positive and understanding part of this Autism lifestyle. It's hard for me to make friends with families who do not intimately understand Autism. As a special-needs mom, I have severe time constraints leaving me little opportunity to connect with other humans, especially if they aren't familiar with Autism. My kids aren't really the "play-date" type. They are always moving and can be very destructive, so we hang out at home as a family a lot. The boys need constant one-on-one supervision, and our parenting style does not include punishment of any kind. Most people don't understand!!! Learning this was rough on my family. We have been booted from typical daycare. I have been told that I was the problem. No one bothered to help us, until we begged. The first 2 and a half years of the twins' lives were very hard!!! This was when we found out that both boys had severe Autism and that we needed different people immediately. This was also when building our own Autism Community started to play an important role in our lives.
In the beginning of my family's Autism journey we started to hear about a lot of therapies that are helpful for children on the Spectrum. Each therapy consists of one or more therapist, meaning the more therapy that your child has, the more people you have to choose from when it comes to building a strongly backed community of people who are willing to go to bat for you and your child. It takes time to get the right team of therapists. Not everyone is a good fit for your child, and I feel that it's okay to change providers when this happens. It requires vigilance and good debating skills on the part of the parent to properly advocate for a special-needs child, and remove those who are a bad fit. It's also important to have therapists who you can feel comfortable leaving your young and vulnerable child alone with for variable amounts of time. We chose to have therapy in our home for our children, and it became important for the therapists to be relatable to the family as a whole. It has been tricky! My home has become a place of business for my children's therapy sessions. It can get uncomfortable sometimes! That doesn't mean I can cancel. It is just something I have to figure out, whether I am ready for it that day or not. I have a bedroom that has been converted into a therapy space, so there are no distractions that hinder the boys' learning. We have converted our traditional living room and dining room spaces into safe spaces for the kids to play and receive therapy. This takes a lot of work!!! We have to make sacrifices, but we love our kids so it gets done.
When we got a team of amazing people working with our children, we were so thrilled!!! That was, until a therapist left the team to go to a new job. It was hard!!! We had just gotten comfortable. This would not be the last therapist who would come and go, due to the nature of the occupation. It sucks to lose a great therapist, but there are a lot of good ones out there. It takes time to adjust to any transition in our lives, so losing a therapist is hard, as is gaining a new therapist. I have learned not to become too attached to one person, and focus on the actual therapy itself. The therapists who stay and are there us as an entire family are wonderful humans, and very much needed. These people are who make all of this work worth doing. I see them more often than I see most people. They see the gritty reality of my life, and they actually help me. They don't roll their eyes or advise me to use corporal punishment. They are positive and productive. I appreciate them so much more than they will ever know. I have accepted that there will be little privacy in my life, but I feel like it is a small price to pay for the AMAZING team of therapists that work with my children. These people are our village, and together they help pave a solid path to success for my kids, and my entire family. This means so much!!!
The Millennial Twin Mom