July Caregiver of the Month – Nicole A.

Hello my name is Nicole. I am a mother of 3 beautiful children. Kara who is 14 (soon to be 15) and twin boys Noah and Ryan who are 9 years old. Each of my children are diagnosed with Autism/ADHD and each at different levels of the spectrum. My daughter was diagnosed a year ago and my boys were diagnosed before they turned 3. Each have their own strengths and struggles but Ryan needs the most supports. As a lot of parents/Caregivers we face the same challenges. One of the challenges I face is not being able to work. I do appreciate all my husband does for our family but to work and speak to other adults would be great and to earn extra income for our family. Between therapies, appointments, phone calls, making sure my children get all the supports they need in school, and the constant paperwork that my insurance requires for services. It can be hard, time consuming and seems never ending. I sacrifice for our children because I love them whole heartedly and want so much for them.
I find being a mom of 3 Autistic children I struggle too somedays. Especially in the early years when I didn’t know much about Autism. What the cause of aggression and self injury type behaviors. Of course now I know it is due out of frustration not being able to communicate (this happens with verbal children too), over stimulated, auditory sensitivites, avoidance behaviors or even anxiety. They still do it from time to time but I have become a better detective over the years. With the knowledge I have learned not only from therapy but, from my children. Even now when one gets upset it snowballs from there. I protect and love them the best way I know how and learned, until it subsides.
I teach them where they are at learning as well. Since they were young how to be as independent as possible in hopes that one day they can live independently without me. My wish is the world understood that. When enjoying and teaching them by going out in public places or on vacation some don’t understand those with disabilities. I will continue to guide and teach my children even though it makes some uncomfortable (The ones who need to be educated on disabilities). Since doing this my children have grown so much and enjoy being out of the house. Somedays I do worry about when they age but, when they learn new skills I worry a little less. I try and remember to give myself some grace and to my children. When talking with other parents going through this journey in life, I try encourage them as well.
Contributed by: Nicole A.