Walker is our only child. A child we never expected to have actually. We were married for 8 years and had moved away from home. [My husband] joined the Air Force, when we found out we were having a child. He has been the greatest joy of our life, and he is on the same hand the greatest challenge I’ve ever faced.
Walker will be 10 in July and is just now learning how to verbally communicate with others. Walker has severe sensory processing disorder with his autism. The slightest things could irritate him. It could be a new smell. A different texture on food that he did not anticipate. Or it could just be that any sort of sound that’s too much to take in. When these things trigger him it usually results in a volatile meltdown.
My husband left the military and we moved back to South Carolina to hopefully have some help from family. Sadly he is more than most of our family can handle. We have one family member that helps with him after school. He doesn’t understand danger and if not properly supervised he could do serious harm to himself or others. When Walker is loving he is wonderful. When he’s having a tough day, you pray you survive with a little glimpse of hope that tomorrow will be tolerable.
Physically there are only a few things that hold our son back. He does lack fine motor skills. Unless his food is able to be handle with his fingers and hands he has to he assisted. He doesn’t have the dexterity to hold utensils. He also is currently trying his very best to master all his bathroom skills. He can use the bathroom and clean himself. He does require some assistance to be sure he’s fully cleaned. He can shower, but doesn’t understand the need for using soaps or shampoos.
I don’t want it to sound as though we resent our son or are even complaining about doing these things for him. We recognized a long time ago that Walker will be with us until we die. And we are fully prepared to raise him on our own. On the rare occasion that one of our mothers watches him for an hour or two, we run to a restaurant and grab dinner and awkwardly try to converse about things in the world. It’s awkward because this isn’t our world. Our world is solely focused on getting through each day and being sure we know exactly what is on the agenda for our son.
I hope that this doesn’t come across as a sad story. We aren’t sad. We love our boy and roll with whatever life throws our way. It isn’t fair the hand life dealt him. We just want to be sure that he is happy, healthy, and knows he is so very loved.
Favorite Respite Activity
If we do ever get the occasional child care we usually go out to a quiet dinner in public without fear of a meltdown.