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Ok, I’m Doing This…

Crying on the bathroom floor

A couple of years ago, I found out I was pregnant with my third child. Baby Number 3 was a complete surprise and to already stressed out family, not entirely great news.  We were just finally warming up to the fact ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) therapists come into our home everyday to help Number 2. Finding myself pregnant and parenting a child with Autism was terrifying and I had major doubts that I can be a mom to all three. I googled why parents chose to have another child after an Autism diagnosis and what I gathered was many do not. I felt like I was making the wrong decision in having a third. But then I came across a blog, a mommy blog. A mother of three, one of which who had a child with Autism. She wrote about how it was hard to parent an autistic child. She would have to explain her son’s behavior to the other children, sometimes even protect them from his more aggressive behaviors. When she had enough, she would lock herself in the bathroom and cry. But she loved her son and that’s all that matters.

After reading her blog, I felt better better about myself as a mom and my decision to have my last baby.

This is why I am blogging. That maybe another mom out there needs to read that it’s ok to cry in the bathroom and not be sure of yourself. There are others feeling the same way. I don’t have all the answers but I am learning to be a better mom each day.

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From Left: #1, #3, and #2.

 

Happy New Year! 2020!

WOW, I cannot believe it’s 2020! It’s kinda scary but I don’t have time to waste on worrying, I have goals to achieve. I wanted to set tangible goals like purchasing my first car but fear that realistically  just isn’t possible. My resolutions for 2020 will focus more on improving my mental and physical health. While I have improved so much in the second half of 2019, I want to continue my personal growth. My 2020 resolutions are:

  1. Keep working on my emotional maturity. Recognize when I start to feel overwhelmed and keep emotions in check so they do not get the better of me. I know I have come along way and I just want to continue to be in control.
  2. Bounce back from emotional setbacks. Allow myself a time to wallow and quickly let it go.
  3. Not forgetting to exhale. I find myself holding my breath a lot, especially when I am overwhelmed. However, lately I am always holding my breath even while calm. For example, I am holding my breath as I type this resolution.  My Apple Watch sends me multiple reminders to breath through out the day. I need to work on basic breathing exercises. Inhale and exhale.
  4. Drink more water and take my multivitamin daily.
  5. Recommit to my Korean skincare routine. Thanks to my job, I care about my appearance, but I still want to take time each day to pamper myself. I wear make-up everyday to work to give myself a more polished look (even though I am not good at it). It feels like I wear make-up for the world but skincare is for myself. Also, I have been guilty of falling asleep in my make-up lately, so I want to re-establish some good habits. It feels so good to have clean, bare skin. And, I need to wear sunscreen daily. Also, I get so many compliments about people not believing I am in my mid-thirties, so I want to continue to age gracefully.
  6.  Maybe get a haircut. Yes, I need to put my hair to the guillotine. I am woman who attaches her identity and femininity to her hair. My hair is very dark,  long and thick (it’s the only part of me that can be described as thick). I sometimes feel it’s my only beautiful feature. I definitely hide behind my hair. Maybe this year I will be bold and just chop it off.
  7. Wow, I am surprised that I made it to seven without mentioning my kiddos! Of, course, I want to improve my parenting. I want to be more involved. Since I started working, I feel as if I have not been checking in with them as much. So I need to make more quality time with them.
  8. We need to have more fun, This is so sad but true. We are always on the routine of school and therapy. We need to get out more and try new things. It’s hard without a car, which is why we need one, but I have to find a way to expose them to more things, car or not.
  9. Experiment in the kitchen. I need to learn new recipes. We are in a food rut. We ate new things in 2019, like cauliflower pizza and beyond meat! But we have to try more fresh, home cooked meals.
  10. Put myself out there. I don’t where “there” is yet. A bar? An online dating app? It’s so scary to start dating again. I don’t know how. But I think I am ready.
  11. The most important goal for this year is to think seriously about what my next steps are. I have to seriously consider wether I will be going back to school or pursue a career with my current degree. While I have been thinking about this for a very long time, I haven’t decided what I wanted the next few years to be like because I was just trying to make it through the day. I am coming out of survival mode. I turned off the fight or flight response. Now I have to start making decisions that will impact the future. This is really scary. I want to be successful so that my children don’t have to rely on welfare and child support. Alimony will cease very soon. Living paycheck to paycheck isn’t easy. I need to be financially stable to support myself and the kiddos. 2020 is a big year for me because it will be my first full year as a single-working mother. 

I hope you have reflected on 2019 and mapped out 2020 for yourself. Wether or not we actually try to reach our New Year’s resolutions, it good to see where we are at in life and imagine working towards a better life for ourselves. Here’s to 2020!

Single-Parenting with an Abusive Ex

My divorce will be official in less than two days. A huge part of me is excited and relieved to be no longer attached to the horrible person I married. But the other part of me is scared and nervous about having to continue to co-parent with that horrible person.

I hate that word. Co-parent. It is such an annoying buzz word in the current millennial culture. As, a millennial myself, I hate that not only do I have to be a helicopter, organic, insta-worthy mom but now I have to be the picture of conscious un-coupling bliss. WTF!

As a mother, I am held to a higher standard. Dads are given a gold star for just showing up. As my friend rightly said, “they are just a warm body in the room.” Mothers, married or not, are expected to be the doting perfect parent who isn’t allowed to swear, drink, or be sexual. We know the double standard exist but we are expected to take it.

In my situation, I am not only the involved mom but I am expected to be the ex’s babysitter and secretary. And if I protest, I am deemed difficult and unreasonable. This is where the emotional abuse comes in. If I say no, the ex attacks my motherhood. I decline his request that I watch them during his parenting time but that means I do not want to spend time with my own children. Yes, he cannot spend time with them during his parenting yet it is I who does not want to spend time with them and I am the bad parent.  He spins the situation around so that I am the parent at fault. Yes, my ex gaslights me. It is scary and I now have learned to identify it. I am still working on how it affects me, but at least I recognize it. I even called him out on it.

I get that in a perfect world parent should strive to co-parent. But there are some cases where this is harmful to one parent and ultimately harmful to the children. Emotional abuse is hard to prove and when a parent recognizes they are being abused there is very little protection.

I have taken the steps to try to parallel parent as much as I can. I am trying to dissociate myself from his issues as much as I can. It gets easier the more I say no. It also helps that I work and need to focus on my job. So little by little my skin thickens and my backbone gets straighter and stronger.

 

One of my worst fears comes true…

Being a family on the spectrum is one of the hardest challenges for a family. And I say a family on the spectrum because an autism diagnosis affects the entire family. I have a few deep fears when it comes to my autistic kiddo #2. These are the fears that keep me up at night in no particular order:

  1. Elopement and getting lost
  2. Elopement and getting hit by a car
  3. Someone mistaking our behavior as child abuse
  4. His uncertain future

One of my worst fears came true just in time for the holidays. While I thought my biggest concern was what the Elf on the Shelf would be bringing them from the North Pole, I was being investigated by the Department of Child and Family Services. Someone from my son’s school had reported me to DCFS for neglect.

With my sons challenging behavior, I have lived in constant fear that someone might mistake something for child abuse. My son’s aggressive behavior sometimes calls for restraint to keep him and others safe. Or when my child hits me, I don’t respond so as not to give into his negative behavior. Either way, I have consulted and attended parenting training with his BCBA consultant to effectively respond to his negative behavior. I KNOW WHAT I AM DOING! I always joked with his therapy team that we will someday get the cops called on us. And that is the message I sent the consultant, “So you know how I always joke about child protective services being called on me, well… it really happened.”  Someone at my children’s school made an allegation that Kiddo #2 was being harmed.

However, it was not funny. It hurt a lot and it scared me to death. I took the allegation very seriously. It was upsetting that I found about it from my oldest son, Kiddo #1, who was pulled from class and asked if he “felt safe at home?  Who do you live with? How does your mom punish you when you do something bad?” It was upsetting  that they spoke to my autistic child who is verbally limited. Upon learning this, I immediately emailed  the case worker and principal. The next day I was crying in the principal’s office.

The thing is and this is very important to parents with children on the spectrum: we are our children’s everything and we are nothing to the outside world. We know what is best for our children and we will suffer because we love them. We will sacrifice ourselves for them. I will always take what my kid can throw at me. I signed up for tantrums, hitting, and sleepless nights. What I did not sign up for is the public’s ignorance and the bs that comes with it.

I did what every parent must do. I took my son to the dentist for his routine cleaning and it ended up with me investigated for abuse. An overzealous school employee who did not have all the facts or know my son reported us to DCFS. This sent my head spinning. As a parent who is as involved as I am, I was hurt.

I feel as if  I am “damned if I do and damned if I don’t.” I have to take my child to the dentist. He still cannot properly brush his teeth. He hates the dentist. I have to take him not only for his oral health but to get him acclimated to the dentist. It is in his best interest that I take him. I was lucky to find a dentist that can handle an aggressive child without being put under to do a routing cleaning. If I did not take him, then his teeth would be even more gross and that is neglect.

What also concerned me is that his school that has such a diverse learner population does not understand the complexity of a child with autism or show empathy for the child’s family. In my family’s case, more harm than good was inflicted. If they would have observed my child’s behavior, they would easily see that he can be difficult when forced to things he doesn’t like.

Parents of autistic kids have to experience parenting-shaming on a  whole different level. I would even consider this a form harassment. Unfortunately, there are abusive parents out there and we are lumped into that category until we  prove our that our parenting skills are up to par. The DCFS investigator saw that I was “trying.” Trying? I am only trying. That really hurt. I am more than trying. We are succeeding and it took only one ignorant school employee and an investigator who I spent a few minutes with  to reduce  5 years worth of therapy to “trying.”

I spoke to my son’s providers and asked them to  help explain my child’s behavior. Fortunately, they are willing to write letters to help and the allegation is being suggested as unfounded and hopefully it will end there. But unfortunately for my child’s school, they messed with momma bear and her cubs. I will not take this lightly and I am going to  raise hell when it comes time to meet for the IEP (Individualized Education Plan). They messed with an involved parent, who is their child’s best advocate. I, however, will base my arguments on facts.

 

 

Happy Holidays: A season of joy and new traditions

While our holiday season has been quite dramatic and we faced a few setbacks, we remained optimistic and cheerful. This year I wanted to create something different for myself and my children. It was quite exciting to forge a new look and feel for the holidays! I really have to thank my mom for helping me create my own holiday traditions. It started when she bought me my first fake Christmas tree for my birthday. Previously, he insisted on getting a real tree because anything else was inauthentic in his opinion. But I grew up with a fake tree and it was what I was used to and not to mention it didn’t smell when it started to go bad and no needles to clean up. Having my own tree could save money every Christmas, because let’s face it, real trees are incredibly expensive.

But for the past two Christmases, I used the old Christmas decorations and traditions that were still connected to my ex. There was that lingering feeling that these were “our” ornaments even though they were mostly the ones my mother had given me. The tree skirt and stockings reminded me of  Christmas past. I could not stand the sight of them even though I had chosen most of our stuff. They were really bright, colorful, and childish. They screamed that I was trying way too hard to create the appearance of a happy home. It looked like Joe, our Elf on the Shelf, threw up on our tree and living room. So what is a mother to do? Head to Target, of course! And Target got me good.

My planned excursion to Target was just to pick up toilet paper. Toilet paper turned into a $150 Christmas redecoration! But it felt so good to choose a new aesthetic to reflect the sense of peace and calm that has taken place in our home. I chose new stockings, a tree skirt, and stocking holders. When trying to pick out a tree topper, my son #1 was very opinionated that we choose something that was not similar to the one my ex has (I let him keep it.)

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While it may not seem much to some, to me, it felt light and refreshing. For me, this is minimalistic. It reflects a certain maturity. I am no longer a mother who is suffocating everyone with Christmas cheer and decorations.

We added the Polar Express train under the tree, an early Christmas present from me to my kids. My son #1 set it up and placed it under the tree. It was funny, because in order for it to fit, we had to rearrange some furniture, even move the area rug so the tracks could lay flat. Joe, the elf, was more mellow this year as well. I did not stage him getting into all sorts of shenanigans. He was just simply perched on the shelf. A tradition I created with him is that he comes back on Thanksgiving and brings a gift to the kiddos. This year he brought them little Christmas trees from the North Pole.  Again, fabulous tinsel trees from Targets’ dollar bins! The children were able to decorate them with ornaments that reflect what they are into. Daughter had a pink tree with glitter and pink ornaments. The boys had a tree filled with Star Wars and sharks. It’s all about individuality in this home!

It feels so good to choose things for my family.  I don’t have to ask for permission to purchase new stocking holders because the ones we already were starting to look shitty. I only consult with myself and my bank account.

I took time for myself to sit at a Starbucks and write Christmas cards. I personalized each one. I printed photo cards to place inside from when I took my children to get holiday portraits. These are things that I would have had to ask permission to do and probably wouldn’t had happened. But it happened this year and turned out how I wanted!

Most December nights, the kiddos and I snuggled on the sofa to watch movies. My daughter was really into The Grinch movie, the newest version.

Son #1: What do you want to watch?

Daughter: The Grinch.

Son #1: Which one?

Daughter: The green one.

Insert laughing emoji here.

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This year, I decided to give them a few gifts, but  they would get one really substantive gift. I decided to give my daughter a dollhouse she could use for her American Girl dolls. Reading the reviews, I saw that it took several hours to build. I being a single-mom would have to plan ahead. I enlisted my elves and we got together to have a doll-house building party. The women in my family met on a Friday evening to build it with some wine and fancy cheese. We toasted to “hard-working women!” It took three hours to build and then after we went for another Target run.

The last Sunday before Christmas my mother, aunt, and I met up for some last minute shopping. We rarely meet downtown to shop because it’s very touristy. But we braved the crowds and over did it.

With New Years’ coming up, I have plans to spend with my fellow single mom friend.  This holiday season has been good because it has shown me the perseverance of the female spirit, sisterhood, and most importantly motherhood. This season was as much for myself as my children.

I hope everyone had a very merry holiday and were able to celebrate it in their own way!

 

 

An Open letter…

Dear Judge, Guardian et Litem, and  attorneys,

I often had the urge to write and send you a letter to address you personally. In it I would state my name and case number in hopes that you would recall your involvement in my case. In that letter, I want to personally thank you for allowing my abuser to keep on abusing me. Thank you for allowing him to treat me as someone who is not allowed to say that is enough. He is allowed to not follow the agreement and when I call him out on it, I am the one who is punished. In the era of fathers’ rights, overburdened mothers are often silenced into submission. Abuse is often allowed to continue post divorce because the courts allow it.

I want to draw your attention to Candance Ganger’s The Parenting Double Standard I’m Done Being Quiet About. I read her post and it immediately hit home. This is exactly my situation, except add in a emotionally abusive ex and a court system that allows him to be abusive. The court system’s double standard is moms need to do everything and and expect nothing. And when we say, “Stop, I do not like being treated this way,” the court tells us to develop tougher skin.

Yes, Judge I am talking to you. I am a competent adult who is the best judge of my own limits, not you. When I say that I have had enough, I mean I had enough. I don’t like being called names and dismissed. This has far great negatives that you could ever imagine.

To the Guardian et Litem who called me selfish. Thank you for allowing the Dad to just take off and not even ask if it was okay that I watch the children. You allowed him to dehumanize me. I am not the mother, I am his babysitter.

To the divorce attorneys who told me not to report my abuse, just ignore it. I listened and where did it get me? It allowed him to continue because I wasn’t going to fight back. now that I am fighting back, I portrayed as the aggressor.

The courts want to see parents working together. But what happens when one parent is the one with all the responsibilities and abused by the other co-parent? Nothing. There is absolutely nothing I can do to better my situation. Thank you to the courts for leaving me powerless.

Sincerely,

CM!

 

To my readers, will edit when I get chance. I just fantasize about writing this letter. Will edit for clarity soon. Need this as therapy to help get through the day.

 

Also check out Granger’s post:

https://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/parenting-double-standard-im-done-213505574.html

Hi There!

I just returned from the Upside Down (I hope you are into Stranger Things too or I am going to sound like a weirdo) and I am ready to resume writing. Life is hectic but I have the urge to write again. I always think about getting back to my laptop and I have so many topics to write about but then I get busy or really insecure or just plain lazy. I have updates about my life and my kiddos. Our lives have really changed and it’s starting to feel like we are actually thriving post-divorce. Yeah, that’s right it is official: I am a divorcée. I take pride in saying that I am a single-working mother, aka Wonder Woman. I have started to reclaim a sense of self-worth. I even started to revert back to the me before him.

So updates are:

  • We moved to a new neighborhood!
  • My boys started a new school!
  • My Kiddo #2 who is autistic was placed into a special education classroom!*
  • We celebrated birthdays: Kiddo #1  is 11, Kiddo #2 is 9, Kiddo # 3 is 4, and I am old and poor.
  • I started working.

While these may seem like small updates to others, they are pretty huge for us. We have left the familiarity of our old neighborhood and school. And now it feels like I really am starting over. The process of starting over was not easy and it’s why I have been so silent.   For a few weeks it got scary and hard. Just because the divorce is finalized does not mean the drama stops. Unfortunately, it can get worse when all the lawyers go away.  I will share more of what happened. I am still mentally and emotionally processing some of the things that happened so stay tuned. I just want to tell my make-believe audience that I am alive and thriving.

-CM!

*I bet you are wondering why my son was recently placed into a special education classroom. It’s one of the topics that I want to write about but it’s a complicated story. I am still trying to figure out how to tell it while protecting my son’s privacy and not to jeopardize his new placement. It was not easy to get him into a sped classroom.

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I recently ordered a new planner and was surprised at the quote inside. I am not into inspirational quotes but this one was perfect, ” Don’t pray for life to be easy but pray for yourself to be strong.”

ABA

Sharing how ABA can take over the lives of a family on the Spectrum

Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) is a topic that I have been wanting to share since I created this trivial blog. This particular post is not about what’s ABA, its methods, and the  research behind it. There are plenty of places to get that information. I want to talk about  what ABA does to your Autistic child, yourself, siblings, grandparents, teachers, and everyone else who comes into contact with your Ausome kid. I want to tell you what they don’t during your initial meeting with the ABA consultant.

So if I may I will share our insights and experiences since we started ABA about 4 years ago. I haven’t tackled this issue because I am unsure how to present it. So for right now, I will list memories, the good and the bad, tips, and anything else that relates to ABA. You, the reader can make the pro and cons list on your own, since we may not agree what is a pro and con. Remember what applied to us, may not apply to you. Autism is a spectrum disorder, so naturally there is a spectrum of families and experiences. Also, please check back every once in a while, as I will continue to update.

  • ABA is more than therapy, IT IS A LIFESTYLE! We do in home therapy and it can if you let it will affect everything in your life.
  • ABA began for us when the owner and consultant of the ABA therapy company we chose came over to our apartment. He explained what ABA is and how they can help. However, I picked up the notion that  the consultant was also there to   evaluate my son to see if he was a good fit for the program. It made me question if ABA is successful because they work with children who they perceive will benefit from therapy.  Is ABA success attributed to excluding autistic children who may not perform well? I am so not a conspiracy theorist, but this left me with an uneasy feeling.
  • When we first started, I was excited that we were doing something for our child. We were not going to take this lying down! It gave a sense of relief knowing I was taking the right steps toward curing my child.
  • The first interaction with a therapist occurred shortly after the initial meeting. Two junior consultants came with some supplies. As they were setting up, my son was in the middle of it. He spoke some words and was in a good mood. Then, they sat him at the little to table to work and he shut down.
  • We had to purchase some supplies for the therapy, like puzzles. I went overboard. I wanted therapy to have a special designated space for my son. I decorated his area much to the annoyance of his team. I just wanted it to be colorful because Autism can be scary.
  • For the first therapy session, parents/ caregivers brace themselves. Hearing your child scream for the entire two-hour session is absolutely torture. I walked out of the room and went into my bedroom and cried. Parents, you have to be really prepared to let go. Yes, I wanted to run back into the room and rescue my baby, but I didn’t. Therapy won’t work if your child knows that you will intervene. These kids are testing the therapists. The screaming will eventually stop. Yes, it hurts but it’s for the best. However, if you do feel the child is being harmed, by all means intervene. I think a parent can tell when their child screams out of frustration or when they are screaming in pain. Parents, you know your child best.
  • Why all the screaming? The first targets for your child is that he or she needs to learn to sit in a chair. My child screamed because he was being asked to sit in a chair without a meltdown. My child was able to physically sit in the chair but had to learn to sit when asked to and for how he was asked to.
  • Sometimes, I feel that I am not allowed to parent my own child. Everyone has an opinion about your kiddo. I always take their opinion into consideration, but sometimes I will go against their advice.
  • They can really screw up your kids’ hair. My son hate haircuts. The haircut was not even my suggestion as I loved his long brown hair. But the therapists were adamant  his hair was becoming an issue with him focusing and wanted to work towards him being able to cut his hair at a salon. Also, the therapists are not stylists and did serious damage on his hair. He had a bald spot right when he took school pictures! A year later, my son still hates getting a haircut. I wanted him to start school with a good, clean look. It took me two days and bruises on my knees to accomplish this without the help of the therapists.
  • Our current schedule is 5 days a week totaling about 22 hours. Our highest was 40 hours until insurance cracked down on us.
  • Because of our current schedule, we mostly get done at 6 pm most days and 7 pm on Tuesdays. My son receives his therapy directly after a full day of school. I like that he is engaged in something and not just hiding under Olaf in his bed, but its a long day for my kiddo.
  • Your child and you will be burned out from all the therapy. Honestly, I think the therapist do too.
  • I felt and still feel that one parent takes therapy more seriously than the other. Just because your partner is physically present does not mean they are an active participant. If you have a partner that is also committed to your child as you are, consider yourself lucky and I’m happy you are not in it alone.
  • My son’s therapy witnessed the collapse of my marriage. One therapist was present when my ex moved out. So yeah, they saw me at my worse. And I thank them for focusing on my child and not stopping the therapy.
  • They will have opinions about you but they for the most part will not express them to you directly.
  • The ABA line therapists in our experience have mostly been young adults just out of college who are unsure what they want to do and are usually preparing for the GRE or something. So with that being said, there is a bit of a high turnover rate. It’s really a mixed bag of people who just see this as a paycheck and those who are hoping to advance their career serving the Autistic community.

 

Ok, taking a break…See you soon.

 

  • ABA IS NOT CHILDCARE NOR A BABYSITTER! For our therapy, someone needs to present with the kiddo.
  • And honestly, don’t you want to present and active in the therapy?! I want to learn how to help my kid.
  • You don’t have to super involved. A parent needs to learn when they should participate and when they need to back off. There are certain targets in which a parent needs to participate in. I think parents should give the child and therapist space to work but kinda hang out in the background. Observe, be a fly on the wall.
  • Parents be an ACTIVE LISTENER! Listening to how the therapist communicates with your child is so important!!!!! I recently took my son to testing. The psychologist was giving my son directions which my son was not able to understand. However, the targets were very similar to those in ABA. I remembered the therapists’ verbal directions and prompts and used them to assist my son during the test. I was able to get more out him and the psycholgist was able to see more of what my son is capable of.

To be continued…

  • ABA is really helpful in teaching children the self-help skills. Self-help skills are broken down into steps. Overtime, he has mastered the steps and they are all put together to complete the larger task. He learned to put on his own t-shirt, wash his hands, button his pants, put on and zipper a jacket. We are currently working on teaching him to brush his own teeth and wipe his own behind.
  • The therapists and I have had some weird conversations. We’ve had to agree on how to put on underwear and a t-shirt.  We’ve debated what’s a fruit or vegetable. We were always looking up the correct pronunciations of words and so on. The point is that we all had to be on the same page so they we can teach my son consistently.
  • We once had part of the team meeting in the bathroom to discuss the steps on how to teach my son how to wipe.
  • One thing that I love about my son having therapists is that they can sometimes really help in areas that we are currently struggling. For example, when my son starts to throw a tantrums around certain areas, the therapist will help desensitize him to whatever is setting him off. Once we continuously walked past a playground for like 45 minutes to teach my son to walk by without throwing a fit because we can’t stop and play.
  • An ongoing target is that we are desensitizing him to public restrooms. Hand-dryers and loud toilets can be so overwhelming for autistic kids. So every time we go for walk with a therapist, we always make sure to hit up a local public restroom.
  • Because we visit local businesses so frequently to work on targets, people recognize us and after a while they start to understand what’s going on. There have been times where I would introduce myself to managers to explain the situation. When we started the hand-dryers in public restrooms, my son would scream. Oh, he would scream so loud! Few times I had to say, “Please don’t call the cops, we are just trying to teach my son how to use public restrooms. ” However, businesses around us have been very welcoming, like Starbucks, Michael’s, the Gap, Target, Hair Cuttery, and Mariano’s. While these businesses have never given us a problem, not everyone inside these places are so understanding. We do get plenty of stares. One time, an older woman laughed at my son. Once in the bathroom, a woman told me my son is like that because of vaccines. People can be pretty ignorant, but these businesses have never turned us away and I am thankful for them.
  • Having a therapist tag along has made venturing out in public less stressful, even when they are not there. I use their techniques so I can help my son and slowly we are becoming more confident about going out. Therapist can assists in going to the grocery store, going to get haircut, to the doctor,  and so on. The therapist helping my son in public has really changed our life. I remember a time where I had to avoid certain areas. Crossing the street was scary because he would throw a tantrum in the middle of the street. Now, it’s gotten so much better and we can walk by a playground without a problem.