5 Caregiver Questions with Kristin
We decided to give our supporters a closer look into the world of a caregiver. For some, it’s a life they choose. For others, it’s not. Regardless, the challenges are many, but so are the joys. Here’s what Kristin, our February Caregiver of the Month, had to say.
Question 1: How has caring for an individual with disabilities changed your outlook on life?
I’ve come to realize just how little sleep I can survive on … Just kidding, although that’s actually probably true.
Having a son with disabilities has shown me just how little people really know about intellectual disabilities, autism, sensory processing disorder, etc. I’ve had to become more patient and tolerant of them. Of course, I’d love to educate them all, but I don’t have the energy for that.
That said, the friendships I have made within the disability community, are amazing. They truly rally around Lennon and want to see him thrive just as much as I do.
Question 2: What does a typical day look like for you?
The last few months have been incredible hard and our day to day lives look a lot different than they used to. Lennon lost his therapy services in January and we’re still working on getting them set up again.
Weekdays it mostly chaos-management at home before school (6am-9am) and after school (3:30pm-11pm) and cleaning up “accidents” regardless of how many times he goes on the potty.
On the weekends, I load Lennon up with activities. That means I’m playing chauffer, but it also means mini breaks for me while he’s taking part. He has an amazing Karate teacher, Mr. Hopkins at Victory Martial Arts, who does 1:1 classes with him. He’s been working with Lennon for a year and a half and is always open to new strategies that Lennon would benefit from. He has Sport-Social where he gets to work on skills like riding a scooter and playing basketball with his 1:1, Cody, and takes a group Dance class at Inclusion Fusion. He’s also taking part in his 3rd season of Miracle League right now.
I actually love taking Lennon to activities outside of the house because he surprisingly behaves much better than he does at home.
Question 3: What are some of the greatest joys of being a caregiver?
The littlest thing can bring a smile to my face.
Lately, he’s been singing “Rain, Rain Go Away” on repeat and just the other day he woke me up by standing on my bed and singing “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” at 3am. He doesn’t use words to communicate, but he will repeat familiar words and phrases and I absolutely love hearing his little voice … even at 3am.
Question 4: What are some of the biggest struggles you face as a caregiver?
- I’m constantly just overwhelmed. Whether it’s thinking I’m not doing enough for him or scheduling way too many things. Trying to navigate services and insurance and figuring out how to pay for everything.
- Lennon often uses aggression to communicate. At times, my arms are covered in scratches and bite marks, as are the arms of his aide at school. It’s one thing to know that he does this to me, but it’s hard to know that he does it to others too.
- I also feel like I’m much more short-tempered now. I’m stressed and exhausted and the littlest things just make me angry. I try to take little breaks to relax, but it doesn’t really help. So if you have a good strategy to work on this, let me know!
Question 5: What one piece of advice would you give to another parent, guardian or professional caregiver?
I would just say to believe in them. Challenge them. They might surprise you.
Also, ask for help.
If you would like to nominate a caregiver for an upcoming Caregiver of the Month, CLICK HERE.