With A Little Help From My Friends...
Although having children with Aspergers, and I am sure any other *diffability* , does unfortunately make you aware of the judgemental and often cringe worthy side of Human Nature, I have always said how amazed I have been by the kindness and generosity that has been shown to my boys and our family in general since their diagnosis.
Over the years we have received many gifts,mainly from people we have not even met. A local Charity *Kids In Need* in the early days of the boys diagnosis set us up with a list of sensory products our Autism specialist recommended. This was no tiny list of resources... A trampoline (with net), 2x weighted blankets, 2x weighted lap bags and a move and sit cushion. Now these items are not cheap.I would say all up this was appx $1000.00 worth of goods that have over the years made a huge difference to my boys lives. The most wonderful thing was I didn't even have to ask. I am notoriously bad at asking for help and always feel someone else is needier then me but knowing this our Autism Specialist in cahoots with our local Early Intervention service applied on our behalf without me even knowing. Then about six months ago,the same charity bought my son Ryan an iPad to use at School!!!
2 years ago when my husband hurt his back and had to undergo 2 lots of surgery to his spine and was unable to work for 18 months a local government department contacted me saying they had heard of our plight and that we had Special Needs children and they would like to help. A case worker came to my house had a chat and the next week we received a new vacuum cleaner, 2 new mattresses for the boys,waterproof protectors, sheets,incontinence overlays and a box of big kids *nappies* to help with the boys bed-wetting. They even bought a new quilt cover for my older son and younger daughter so they weren't left out! Didn't end there either. They paid for a cleaner to come in once a week (heaven!) for 3 months and had a handy man mow our lawn and clean our windows during this time AND they paid to replace a broken shower screen. Again, this was all organised by a social worker at our local Early Intervention service.
You can't imagine the gratitude I still feel and will remember always. At some of our darkest moments I was shown how much good there is in this world.
I would have to say that although all this was overwhelming and something I sometimes struggled to believe had actually happened, the greatest gift I have been given since Ryan and Pierce was diagnosed is that of friendship.
I am one of those people who although I have many acquaintances, only had a small core group of real friends. These friends have been with me for a long, long time.Some since birth. They are my family and I have relied heavily on them over the years. However, I now find myself with a new family, made up of an amazing group of women. They are my SN Mums family. Many of them I have not even met face to face but they know more about me and my life and my children then even my Mother does. They are my Facebook family and I have no idea what I would do without them, their love, encouragement, support and advice are more then I can ever ask for. One of these women has become one of my dearest friends.We speak daily and have even been drunk together (via the phone), I look forward to my Friday nights with Veronika and she has given me so much and asks for nothing in return. I recently started a chip-in fund for my son Pierce to also get him an iPad for school. Two days later and after I think only a couple of posts on my page,we were at 100%! We had a very generous donation by a family member but the rest was given,including one donation of $100.00(!!!) by my Facebook family. Amazing people who have their own SN children but gave to Pierce and shared and encouraged until we reached our goal AND they were as excited as I was when we got there. I love these people and their children and feel as close to them as I do my friends who are here physically.
I also have a fantastic group of friends who I call my *Aspie Mums Club* (although we do have a Dad in the club I call him a Mum too)...We all met at Early Intervention, except for a couple who I met at school. We meet every Wednesday for a cuppa at a local cafe and together we have formed a beautiful bond that will never be broken. I hang out for Wednesdays.We share our stories of Paediatrician and therapy appointments, IEPs and school dramas.We also share the good stuff, the successes our children have. The little things that are so huge to our children but would be nothing to others. We GET each other and each others children and we care for each others kids well being as much as our own. Today these beautiful women surprised me with a gorgeous bunch of flowers as they knew I had had a tough couple of weeks with my Aunties death and various dramas with the boys. They knew, without me saying, that I was struggling and just hanging on. These women (and man) have so much on their own plates but not so much that they couldn't go out of their way for me. I am loving my flowers and the love that I am filled with when I look at them and think of the gift I have been given.
So having my boys diagnosed with Aspergers did at times feel like the end of the world but it wasn't. It actually opened up a whole new one, filled with compassion, support, understanding, generosity and most of all love.
Thank you to all of my friends, here and in cyber space. I couldn't get by without you...