We are the Fairfax Family – Wayne (Dad), Kristin (Mama), Nick (15 year old big brother who has done his best to adapt to life with a special needs sibling) & Layne (our very own 8 year old Energizer bunny).
We live in SC in a very small town (literally only has one stoplight & that’s been here less than 18 years – I think). Wayne & I were high school sweethearts. We are SO very thankful for the time we had growing up together, it’s because of that we have made it through the hardest season of our lives so far.
Layne was diagnosed just before his 3rd birthday with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Sensory Processing Disorder. He may not be able to speak words, but he is the loudest person in our family LOL! Since his original diagnosis, he has also had a couple more added on, Global Developmental Delay, Disruptive Mood Disorder & Non-organic Sleep disorder.
Every, single day is a new adventure for us, including our 15 year old. He has had so many changes in his life & for the most part, has adapted well. He is an honor roll student, Jr Beta Club member & works a part time job as a bus boy for a local restaurant. He loves his brother, but does struggle with the chaos of our daily life (messy house with holes in the walls, constantly having to lock his bedroom door to protect his belongings & always being on guard from being bitten, scratched or pinched by a brother half his size who means no harm at all, but cannot control himself).
My husband and I both work outside the home. He works as the Buyer for a local manufacturing plant, while I work as the Executive Director of a local nonprofit. Our days start anywhere from 3am to 7am and with the help of medication, usually we are able to get Layne in bed around 8pm. Some nights though, he wakes after a couple of hours and those days are brutal. Very hard to function on minimal sleep. We did that for so long that I’m not sure we will ever recover, but we get up daily and push forward.
From the moment Layne wakes up, til the moment his head hits the pillow, he is WIDE OPEN! He runs, jumps, swings, stims and squeals all day. His aggressive behaviors have scarred us, literally & now those behaviors aren’t even from anger. Lately, he’s very happy and excited as he’s digging into your skin. It’s the strangest thing to experience. We operate in shifts and rarely do anything as a family of four. Cooking is too dangerous unless at least two adults are present so we eat out WAY too much. Cleaning is almost a wasted effort, because this talented child can undo 4 hours of cleaning and organizing in less than 15 minutes. He’s like a hurricane blowing through.
Even with all of these challenges, I hope it will show that we absolutely adore him & want nothing more than to see him live his best life! Autism has thrown us for a loop, but it’s taught us to treasure things we never really knew were important (like eating with utensils, going grocery shopping together, attending church, how to blow your nose when you have a cold, etc.). I could go on, but feel I’ve made this incredibly long already. Thank you for this opportunity. It’s truly amazing!
Favorite Respite Activities
Go to a quiet restaurant with my husband.