My blog will be featured on a blog called Little Indiana. Here are my answers to her questions, and I'll let you know when her post is up! : )
How long have you been blogging? Why did you want to blog? What keeps you writing?
I've been blogging since February of 2010. I have always enjoyed writing, and I thought that blogging would be a good way for me to really explore my feelings toward being a mom of a child with Autism. So much stress, frustration, sadness, guilt. But there are also moments of triumph and pure joy. What kept me writing was that each time I got my thoughts down, I felt better about my situation. It was a healing experience for me. The posts weren't really for anyone but me, as a way to talk through my struggles.
Shortly after starting the blog, I came across the Autism group TACA, and was made aware that there are biomedical interventions and behavior therapies that can help children with Autism. I began these interventions, and my son began to change. At that point, the blog became a journal of his journey out of Autism. I kept writing because there was so much to say, so many changes happening with him so quickly.
Soon I realized how much I wanted to share my successes with other parents, not just to share my happiness, but in hopes that other parents would be able to help their children as I had helped mine. My blog has gotten over 14,000 hits in nearly three years, so am hoping that others have gotten some inspiration from reading. What keeps me writing now is the hope that just one parent this month will read my blog and consider trying some of these interventions with their child.
Why did you choose Hope and Lavender as your blog title?
I chose Hope and Lavender as my blog title, so that each time I read it I get a small dose of peace. The word Lavender makes me think first of a warm summer day in my garden, and second of a nice calm, quiet!, bath. Hope is the concept that gets me through the rough days. As my blog has grown, I think the name is even more appropriate, as I've learned that Lavender oil is often used with children with Autism to help relax and calm them. And my blog has grown into a page to inspire others and give them Hope that Autism doesn't have to be forever.
What do you want others to know about parenting a child with Autism?
I suppose that the biggest part is never getting to relax. Typical children have their share of fits and quirks. But as an Autism Parent you spend most of your day dealing with problems as they come. You spend the rest of your day dealing with insurance and the schools, shopping at specialty stores, baking special foods, and doling out 30+ vitamins and medicines a day. When you become a parent of a child with Autism, there is no longer any time for yourself.
As a parent of a child with Autism, it's like playing a chess game. You are always trying to stay two steps ahead of whatever situation may arise. "If we go here, then this will happen, which means he'll do this, so I need to bring this." It's all about planning two days ahead and prepping your child. It's all about making picture schedules, reminding your child to do things, and usually doing things for them or it will never get done. Things a child their age should be able to do, like putting on their socks, or remembering to wipe after using the restroom. Each day is stressful, since there are always occurrences that you don't plan for that bother your child and which you then have to deal with. They are out of his favorite food at the grocery. The car gets a flat tire and you didn't pack any juice. His favorite toy broke at 8 pm and your other child is already asleep. You promise a trip to the park but there are no other kids there for him to play with.
Life is about uncertainty and disappointment, and being willing to change your plans at the drop of a hat and find happiness no matter your situation. Most people can do this. Unfortunately children with Autism cannot. And so you have to try to avoid disappointment and change and uncertainty as best you can, and help him deal with them when you can't. This means every moment of every day is about that child, which makes it difficult for everyone around him, and difficult for others not in the situation to understand that you're not spoiling your child, you're maintaining status quo so that everyone, including him, has a peaceful day.
What else would you like Indiana readers to know?
Indiana is one of only a few states that has an Autism Insurance Mandate. This means that your health insurance is required to pay for Autism services. People move TO our state for this reason. We have several excellent centers for Autism Therapy and several great doctors who specialize in the biomedical treatment for Autism. If you live in Indiana and know someone with Autism, please help educate their family that there are real things you can do to help a child with Autism improve. There's a person in there; we just have to work to bring them out.
What are your 3 favorite posts?
I like these because they're inspirational and written from the heart.
Thanks for reading!
: ) Sheila