So there’s something I’ve been keeping to myself for a long time. I know I have mentioned in the past that Brian’s son has a form of Aspergers, but I have never really discussed how it effects us as a family and as a couple.
For the past 10 months the Kiddo (contrary to popular belief, this is my pet name for him and I will not refer to him by his real name as he deserves as much privacy as anyone else) has been living in some form of residential facility. This is the product of what was several years of escalating levels of violence that seemed to occur at the drop of a hat. We tried numerous things – homeschooling, therapy, socialization therapy, afterschool “bridging” therapy – and every time we thought we were making progress there would be another outburst.
In all the time I have known the kiddo, he had never physically attacked me. Sure, he was a teenage kid and he certainly used a lot of nasty words in my direction but he never once attacked me. Until last summer. I won’t go into details, but suffice to say that he spent a short period of time in a psychiatric facility for children, as the police that were called gave us two options – either that or jail. Neither one was quite what we were looking for, but at that point in time we had our backs against the wall.
Once he was released he headed to his grandparents house (Brian’s parents) where he was “fine” until he just wasn’t anymore. From there we had to find another emergency facility for him. While all of this is happening, mind you, we are still busting our butts trying to get his IEP sorted out and hopefully a spot in a school more suited to his needs.
We also were trying to get our county to approve funding to have the Kiddo moved to our area, as while Brian’s parents don’t live that far away it’s not like we were able to see him every weekend. But this all took time, a stupid amount of time…and in that time he was once again becoming more aggressive, but this time it was (luckily) in a facility that had trained staff who were able to recognize his needs.
In the end it took us well over 6 months to organize a transfer to a program closer to our home. And now we are dealing with a facility that is focused on “re-training” the kiddo (so to speak) and also re-training us as the parents. He is in a great school that is specifically set up to teach kids on the autism spectrum and so far he seems to be doing ok. What we know changes day by day, but what we are aware of is that the Kiddo is going to need intensive services and home care for the rest of his life.
But, in dealing with all of this for the last couple of years I have realized a few things.
One – Brian and I will never have more children. This may be the hardest realization I have had to make. But knowing now how much time/money/resources we have to (willingly, mind you) dedicate to the Kiddo (and he’s not even with us full time yet) I don’t see how it can be responsible of us in any way to bring anther child into this family. Not to mention that I am truly just fearful of how he may react to another member of the family. He is good with his other siblings, but he has a very tight bond with his father that I think he would consider irrevocably damaged if another child came into this house.
Two – I am stronger than I ever thought I was. To be honest, I’m not sure how strong I am, I don’t know if I will be able to weather another attack…but I know I’m strong enough to still be here and to still be advocating for the kiddos needs.
Three – If there shall be no children, I shall have a personal zoo. I have warned Brian about this…so we’re good. Next Strewth-house shall be slightly bigger and there shall be another dog. And perhaps another cat…maybe a three-legged one with a pet parrot?
Had to end on a slightly silly note, right?