So I visited the Center for autism. It was a long drive exactly 2 1/2 hours. I rode with our CMH therapist. It was a nice drive,although I was tired from only a few hours of sleep the night before, literally. She asked if I was nervous and I said no. I really didn’t have a huge idea of what I thought it would be like, so I thought. I was completely wrong, I had a big idea of what I expected.
We pull up to a building that is about half the size of what I expected. Immediately I notice two swings…two swings… two swings. The playground has 2 swings and it is a 12 bed facility. That’s only the residential, there are other areas too. Kids with autism usually have huge sensory needs that must be met. Swings, trampolines, therapy balls, etc are a great way for people on the spectrum to get the input that they need while using these things to meet their sensory needs. Preston is one of the most sensory seeking kids I know. He REQUIRES swinging, jumping, stomping, and water to calm and regulate his brain in order to stay “calm” whatever calm is to him. lol
So on top of the two swings on the playground that were donated, there is a basketball hoop and this is surrounded by a fence that is equivalent to that of a full security prison short of the razor wire wrapped around the top. Not very welcoming. My stomach immediately went into knots and I look at the therapist and she just says, “I know, but stay positive it’s just a tour”. She’s right to some extent. But, lets not be silly here… I know the choices for my son. Can I just say SUPER annoyed. Deep breath, calm, don’t think too much (about your childs future..**sigh***, It’s “just” a tour) deep breath, cold air that hurts my lungs. Although the cold air feels great on my freshly scratched and slightly scabby hands. Thank you son.
We walk in and ask to be seated because they aren’t ready for us yet. Mind you, we are prompt at our scheduled tour. I know, I know, but my anxiety is high and for a “joint” that costs $800 a day you better offer me a sandwich and be ready to give me the freaking tour. I don’t want to sit.. I have A.D.D. and I’ve been in a car with a therapist for 2 1/2 hours!!!! GRRRR!!!!! Okay calm breathe….focus. (I need to add that shes a great therapist.. lol)
The tour begins. It’s a beautiful facility and often moving about I think to myself, wow it would be great to have this surrounding for P at home, I wish I had that virtually non destructible furniture, the non breakable glass, the padded walls and soft floor. What a great place.. but as the tour goes on.. so does my anxiety and I try not to let my head go “there”, but of course it does.
I see the Beautiful Izzy Stapleton and she is smiling, she is happy, she is pretty. She’s heading in to the bathroom for a shower. I see two other kids who appear fine and content. They have at least 2 staff with them and everything appears controlled and at the moment, content. The kids are learning and busy. But it lacks fun. It lacks therapy swings and balls and all sensory things related. I’m seriously choking up imagining my son without these items that he has grown up with and desperately requires. (his “insulin”) The therapist from CMH says, “breathe”. I take a few deep breaths. I am able to hold back my tearsat teh facility, …….right now as I’m typing my heart is starting to race and I’m at Archies in Davison. Crying.. again.. as i’m in public. But not sobbing.. just a few tears that fall from my over flooded eyeballs here and there…Who cares. Carry on. 🙂 I need tear napkins. Again. My mom just text, I also need to get lettuce for Preston………. I’m sorry you don’t care about lettuce.
So the tour ends and I’m disappointed in the lack of “fun” at the facility. However, I understand that if “fun” was involved in the decor, it would be destroyed. We are talking about extreme behaviors with autism. Fun can be distracting and used as weapons. UGH just another realization that I’m at an intensive treatment and residential facility for my “baby”. This is going to be tough. It’s not fair, but life isn’t fair is it? People die. People struggle with cancer, AIDS, infidelity, blindness, pain, suffering, addiction, dysfunction, abuse, hatred, financial despair, and MANY other things I haven’t listed. I’ve even learned that some people are so blessed that they can’t appreciate what they have because they haven’t had trauma or heartache. Life isn’t fair at times for most of us. It’s about how we act when those challenges are in front of us. We can fight or do nothing. Negative attitude or a positive attitude.
I am blessed. Yes life has been a huge challenge, but it makes me who I am. It makes me appreciate many things that i’m pretty sure 90% of the people that are in my life don’t appreciate.
The stupid facility sucks. I don’t want it. I don’t want my baby there. Not sure of the outcome. I’m extremely vulnerable and sensitive right now. But where will I be if I don’t try? I don’t want to know. I’m going to stay positive and constantly remind myself of where we are now and where we will be without help. Hopefully in the future I will say I love the facility, and that it helped tremendously and saved our lives.
I’m blessed, I had a man that loved me unconditionally, I was able to feel the baby inside of me. I have a piece of my husband forever or as long as we get to live, I have the ability to make choices. I have a roof over my head, a loving family, and the most supportive and big group of friends of anyone that I personally know. When it comes down to it, I’m the luckiest person I know.
Thanks for making me feel that way. Its amazing. Go ahead, be jealous…;)
I love you all and thanks for the support.