Saturday, February 7, 2009

Autism and Balance

Can there be balance with autism in our lives?

If our expectations strive for the kind of balance typical families receive, we may be setting ourselves up for frustration. Typical or not, many people struggle to get "balance" in their lives. It could be work/life balance, social balance, or financial freedom. I find myself looking to the typical society and realizing that my definition is different. Many of the decisions my husband and I make are viewed as "choices" by outsiders. In my eyes, I have had no choice. I have obligations:
  • I have an obligation to seek out treatment for my son's apraxia at $300/hr fee. (
  • I have an obligation to seek out a nutritionist (in Texas)and special pharmacist to help with my son's compromised immune system and nutritional deficits due to sensory distractions at $150/hr. ..not including the costs of the lab workup(
  • I have an obligation to seek out the best doctor in the vincinity (NYC) to diagnose, track, and provide treatment options for my son's PDD at $2400 for a 2-3 hour assessment (
  • I have an obligation to seek out an educational consultant at $120/hr to observe my son's therapies and educational program in order to make sure he is getting his needs met and progressing to his full potential(
  • I have an obligation to seek out a behaviorist (fee unknown, but know it is going to be a doozy) to provide assistance and techniques to handle life with an autistic child.
  • I have an obligation to purchase any possible tool (weighted blankets, oral, fine, and gross motor tools, toys etc.) to assist in my son's success.
  • I have an obligation to track and constently keep watch over every aspect of his life through team meetings at school, daily oral motor exercises, e-mails, phone calls, appointments and more.
  • I have an obligation to facilitate socialization through playdates, activities, social thinking, and, above all else, encouragement.
  • I have an obligation (even with extreme financial burden) to stay within the school district(I know is better than many) so that my son will reach his achievements.
  • I have an obligation to keep our lives as routine as possible because my son functions best when he knows what to expect.

I struggle to find balance just like everyone else. It is not the same as the typical society. It is balance with autism in my life. I do not have choices, I have obligations. My expectation is to seek "balance" with those obligations. I accept my own obligations and now aim to make it possible (somehow) with all of my creative endeavors, my ideas, and drive to make it happen.