Last summer, I was given a tough pill to swallow. After years of testing, therapy and being told my son was fine by professionals and autistic by his teachers and day care staff, I finally went to a highly recommended, pediatric psychologist. Four hours in a small room with a doctor and a team of different therapists and we were told that our son was high functioning autistic, PDD-NOS to be specific. He met all of the criteria for Asperger’s but he had a speech delay which doesn’t put him in the Asperger’s section of the spectrum, but he had a ton of social issues which didn’t align him with PDD. This put him into the PDD-NOS category (Pervasive Developmental Disorder- Not Otherwise Specified.)
On the drive home from Atlanta, my husband and I cried. I called my mom who promised me nothing was different than when we left Macon that morning. I cried some more. I can’t count the number of times I’ve broken down after a bad day. Knowing the reason behind his meltdowns does help to prevent them but that’s not a sure fire way to keep them from happening. So I have my days where I sit there, crying, and asking God why would he put this on me? I don’t see myself as strong enough to raise a special needs child. I watched my Nana raise my uncle, I watched my mom take care of handicapped kids when I was young, but I never saw myself as being strong enough to deal with that kind of thing.
This past year, I proved myself wrong. I’ve learned how to cope, advocate, educate, and sometimes… just cry. I called my mom, I cried all night to my husband, I vented to my friends (I love you guys so much), and I wrote… a lot. I got this job that I loved so much. I was taking pictures, I was working with kids and I was having so much fun. I survived the Christmas season and then things began going downhill, not with what I was doing, but other drama that no one should have to deal with while they try to earn a living.
One day while taking pictures for a customer a woman noticed my autism bracelet. She asked how long ago my son was diagnosed and we started talking about him. This lady went on to tell me that her son had been diagnosed with Asperger’s when he was younger and she started a business for people who were receiving behavioral diagnoses. The lost people wondering what the next step was to getting their kids the help they needed. My jaw dropped. When Braiden was diagnosed they gave me a stack of pamphlets to places in Atlanta and Augusta but nothing near me. For two months I was on my own, researching, educating myself. For the first half of Braiden’s school year I didn’t even know what an IEP was. Now I do, and now he has one.
After an hour of talking to the woman she asked if I lived in Macon and asked if I was interested in working for a company like hers. She only hires people who are raising or have raised a child with a behavioral diagnosis. I went to a class in Atlanta and she helped me get everything I needed. Next week I start my job as a Family Support Partner, where I get to be that helping hand in a family’s life who receive their diagnosis. The best part? I work mostly from home. I get to be a part of my child’s life without worry. I get to spend time with my family and during the week I will go and visit my clients, work with them and get them the help they need. I cannot wait to get started and now I know… I have Braiden because he was preparing me for this job and in turn this job will help me be better for Braiden.
I could not be more excited to leave the drama behind and start this amazing journey!!!! God is good and is in control. I could not be happier right now. Everything happens for a reason, even if you don’t know what that reason is at the time. Without Braiden I wouldn’t have this opportunity and without Braiden I don’t know what my life would be like. Keep the faith. If you’re going to pray for rain, then prepare your field to receive it.