Someone To Talk With
Having my 2½-year-old son diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder 6 months ago has been, by far, one of the most devastating events in my life. Not knowing what ASD was, where to turn, or what to do left me feeling helpless and alone. As soon as I was introduced to Family Support Network, they flooded me with information, resources, support group information, and, best of all, a support parent. It was so comforting to talk to my support parent for the first time. I found out that she had experienced all of the emotions, fears, and uncertainties that I was experiencing. She listened and empathized with all that I was going through with my son. Since she had had similar experiences, she was able to give suggestions and advice on what I needed to do to start getting help for my son. I still struggle with the diagnoses and have many fears and worries about the future for my son, but knowing that there are others out there to talk to and commiserate with has been a tremendous support for me and my family. I can’t thank my support parent and Family Support Network enough for all of their love and support. I don’t know how I would have made it this far without them.
I’m Not Alone!
When we took our son to the DEC evaluation, I was devastated when they told me he was autistic. I am sure most of you know that feeling…like your whole world has been turned upside down. When I received the DEC report in the mail, they included a newsletter from the Family Support Network. I read in the newsletter information about getting a support person. I e-mailed FSN within a few days about getting someone. My support person called me the next day after getting my e-mail. She told me her son was also autistic. She called on a day when I was feeling particularly down and defeated after taking my son on a play date with a couple of my friends and their boys.
I talked to my support person and realized there were lots of other parents out there going through exactly what we were, and that there was LOTS of information and help available. For the first time, I felt like we weren’t alone. A couple of days later, I received a package in the mail from my support person with all kinds of great information on autism, treatments, resources in the area, etc. She calls and checks in with me from time to time to see how I am doing and if there is anything she can do for me. I can’t describe how wonderful it is to know there is someone I can call anytime I need her.
Triage and Transition
The emergency call came in to FSN Wake, and Micki, the “FSN 911 Operator” was on it! One worried mom, one special needs child transitioning to a typical kindergarten, and one base school not showing up for the transition meeting. I was told by our IEP team that all would work out “fine,” but I was not convinced. I was interested in having my child attending a magnet program because I felt this was a good match for his learning style and skills, but previous attempts to place him there had been denied. Our only alternative was to appeal to the school board.
I had never requested a support parent match from FSN but have always had great success with the staff guiding me to meet the needs of my son Jordan and to find the resources that would help do that. Today was no exception. FSN matched me with a wonderful support parent who had been through what my husband and I were living. My support parent was so wonderful and explained the process to me and provided several options for us to think about.
We had no prior knowledge that my son would face some challenges during my pregnancy, but I had a dream that shook my deepest fear. I prayed that evening, that if something were wrong with my child, that God would put the people into my life to help me with raise this child. To date, I have not been let down. From the incredible “gift” of a wonderful support parent to the other members of FSN and numerous other sources, I have received incredible help and guidance in this journey. I hope that someday, I will be able to “pay it forward” by helping others. To all support parents, thank you so much for being there! You have made a real difference in one child’s life.
Someone Finally Understands
Thank you, Family Support Network, for pairing me with such a wonderful parent match! My 14-month-old son, Justin, has been in the hospital 8 times this year, and I need all the support I can get. My support parent is wonderful. Although her son is very different from my son, they have some feeding issues in common. We are at the beginning of the tough road that her family has already weathered. I cannot express how fantastic it has been to talk to another mom who can understand how it is to be in the hospital for long periods. She too has watched death hover so closely over her child and knows how God can heal the unhealable situation. She is a great listener, and when I seek advice she is so knowledgeable.
No other people in my life have a child with special needs, but my support parent has been where I am right now. No one else I knew could truly relate to what type of mother I strive to be to Justin. She just understands my life without lots of explanation. It has been an immeasurable gift. Thank you!!!!