How do you balance being a single mother of an autistic child with working full time?

Kristen - posted on 09/22/2010 ( 9 moms have responded )

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Elijah is almost five years old. He was diagnosed with AST when he was three. I am a single working mother and I barely make enough to pay rent and day care costs. I don't receive much help from the father, if any.

Elijah is highly verbal and high functioning, but with behavior problems, social/expressive speech delays, and particularly, issues with toileting. Getting my son to have a BM on his own is a full time job. He's been constipated for six months, but doesn't respond to the miralax or fiber or even mineral oil, as he holds it in. It's been three weeks since he's pooped without a suppository. Suppositories are two person jobs and he'll hit, kick and pull hair during the process. There seems to be no end.

I'm trying to keep my job but have to take a lot of time off. And then there are constant calls from the school. How do moms keep from having nervous breakdowns from stress?



I get 2 hours respite care from the county a week, but it is not enough of a break.

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Julie - posted on 09/29/2010

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Kristen.... I drink!! : ) Kidding. Having an exceptional child is more than a full time job and that doesn't include all the extras like dr and therapy appointments. I had to leave corporate america for that reason. McKenzie is 4.5 now, but at birth had 17 doctors and I had 4 from a horrible delivery. Luckily, I work from home now, which helps alot, but I know many moms that have had to quit or were lucky enough to work somewhere that allows the time away from the job. Is your employer willing to let you work from home part time? There are alots of resources out there to help ~ aside from the state programs, do you have any local charities that help out? I just started a new fb page hoping to create some humor in our situations rather than focus on the difficult. Our children are exceptional ~ so are we!!!! Try to find time for yourself. It's not easy but required. I had to finally let it go.... lots of things can wait til tomorrow. If I am not taking care of myself, I'm not taking care of my family!! God Bless and feel free to vent anytime! ; )

Peggy Sue - posted on 09/29/2010

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What state are you in? you should get ahold of the Bureau of special health care needs ask for the Healthy Youth and children program (HYC) they can determine if you qualify for an aid to come to the home and help with your child so you can work!!! Go to the department of human services if you can't find it they will usually pay for child care so you can work. Good luck keep us posted :)

Audra - posted on 09/29/2010

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I'm a grandmother raising my grandson who has pdd/nos,in the state of ky we have what you call the Michelle p waiver. You get more help, you might be put on a waiting list but it is worth it. This can help with social skills and goes with them all through thier life.They will help pay for someone to take them out in the community and teach them life skills.Also find you a support group it does help to talk with other's that are going through the same thing your going through. Good luck and God Bless you.

Emily - posted on 09/28/2010

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I am a single mom with two special needs children and I care for a young adult with autism. I keep my sanity by having 3 hours a week to myself. Other than that I have great friends who will listen when I call to talk/vent. My youngest has Down Syndrome and currently loves to play with anything that is not a toy thus causing a lot of stress. My oldest has a behavior disorder and dealing with her tantrums is what really takes it out of me. Again for this I call friends.
Hopefully you can find some friends with whom you can relate and chat.

Amber - posted on 09/24/2010

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My 3 year old son has autism (pdd-nos) and a seizure disorder. I always worked full time then my husband and I split up in January and I had to stop working. The constant calls from preschool, constant doctors appointments, and my daughter was 4 months old at the time and in and out of the doctors with her own problems. I was lucky that I had some savings to hold me over until my son was qualified for Social Security Disability.

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Vicki - posted on 04/16/2012

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I am a widow and have a 14 year old son to raise as well as my ASD child. At times I think I will lose my mind, dragging my 300 lb 19 year old Aspie around with me. He would prefer to stay in his room and read all the time but that is not good for him. I don't know what to do to get him involved in life. I did apply for the Michelle P. Waiver and am waiting to see if that will do us any good.

Sherayna - posted on 10/01/2010

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Have you tried having him tested for allergies? It sounds like he may have a milk issue and/or wheat issue that is causing the constipation.... I, too have a child with ADHD, and when he was younger, he likely had ASD as well but the doctors didn't believe me about anything. My youngest son is the one who had the issues with constipation... it was so severe that it showed up on an xray! Once I cut out milk and wheat, his constipation improved remarkably and also my older son's behavior improved dramatically...

If you can, look for Dr. Pamela Compart's book " The ADHD/autism cookbook" - I have it and it is a godsend... I know what it is like, I've been in your shoes... it's a rough time!! Anyway, hope this helps :)

Cassie - posted on 09/30/2010

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Prayer is what gets me thru. I'm a single mom of two... son is diagnosed with PDD-NOS, also has ADHD and HHT. I was just told he exhibbited OCD tendenceies. My daughter has her own issues. Just take it one day at a time and remember you love them.

Danielle - posted on 09/24/2010

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My son Hunter who is now almost 13 was diagnosed at 3 that he has a rare heart condition which also makes his asthma worse and also compacted bowl syndrome and as you i am also a single mom....i get phone calls from the school daily, i do know how hard it is i dont get any breaks also....but somehow by taking it one day at a time it helps. I have MS and am now 2 yrs cancer free after my lung cancer surgery, thankfully i have a great community or i dont know how we would survive....here in Maine there are alot of great programs and help you just have to look for it and be a huge advocate for your child, i had to loose my pride and take any help i can get just so i dont feel like im loosing my mind

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