A Day in Our Life With Autism

I am a mom with an unusual life. I find myself trying to explain our life with autism to others, and I often get strange looks from people who can’t grasp our life. So what is my autism household like?

Let me explain just a small part of it…

I can’t change our routine. If I do, we pay for it through maladaptive, impulsive, and hyper behavior. I have to be consistent with everything. I can’t change anything—consistency is the key. We live off of routine and consistency, yet we never know what each day will bring. It takes strategic planning to do anything out of the ordinary.

I have to teach my child absolutely everything. Nothing comes naturally; everything has to be taught.

My child eats the same thing for every meal, every single day. He eats the same snack, every single day. He drinks the same drink, every single day. Therefore, I visit the drive-through at McDonald’s, every single day.

We sleep some days and some days we don’t.

We watch the same thing over and over on T.V because it is the only thing he will watch.

There are lots of meltdowns and tantrums. My child has them because he is unable to communicate and has a hard time adapting to an ever-changing world. I have them because I am tired, exhausted, and stressed from autism.

It’s not unusual to find my son on top of my kitchen table, counters, or anything else he can get up high on.

I eat, sleep, and breathe ABA. Oh yes, I speak in a lot of acronyms all the time. I can also tell you what IDEA, IEP, LRE, ST, OT, PT, and AAC are.

I’m sure that every insurance company does not like me because of all the arguments I have to have in order to get my son the medical help he needs.

I am constantly doing paperwork for my son.

I live behind locked doors 24/7 to protect my eloper.

We can’t leave our house without all of our “favorite items” for the day.

My house has a lot of picture schedules, first/then charts, and all the other kind of visual charts that help my child.

We panic without Wi-Fi and it’s not just my child—it’s me, too, because I know what no Wi-Fi can do to our life!

I have a special swing, trampoline, weighted blankets and vest, and all other kinds of sensory items for my son to meet his sensory challenges.

It’s not unusual for him to take numerous baths each day to meet his sensory needs.

My sons live with high anxiety and chronic stress due to their challenges. Therefore, I live with them too, now.

My guard has to be up 24/7 and can never be let down.

We stay home, all the time. He can’t handle all the anxiety and sensory input.

The list could go on and on. Our autism life may be unusual to some, but it has become our normal. I’m not sure I would know what a day feels like without meltdowns, therapy, worry, stress, and everything else that comes along with autism. Sure, I get tired of it all. But in the end, it makes us who we are and at the same time makes this life very interesting.

Angela Conrad

Angela Conrad is a freelance writer, mom to two boys on the autism spectrum, determined autism advocate, and fun-loving person. When she is not doing her advocacy work, she can be found managing her son’s therapy schedules and all the other crazy things that life brings. She enjoys reading, exercising and helping others.

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