How one mom made the tough decision to put her son in a home...
For those of you that are probably asking and wondering why Joseph does not live at home, I just wanted to share my story.
A beautiful piece written by Annie Ayoub
First off, it is very important for all of you to know that it is not because he has Autism, or is nonverbal, because he is pretty verbal, it is the fact that he has very impulsive and challenging behavioural issues that we cannot, as a family, meet his needs in a home environment.
Trust me, people that know me personally, know the type of parents that Joe and I are. They know about all the challenges we face throughout the years trying to help Joseph get the support and services that he needed to reach his full potential. Unfortunately, however, the behaviours existed since the age of three, and increased as he got older.
Joseph was diagnosed with Autism at the age of two, and I can literally write a book for all the different help and support we gave him. ABA was really the main therapy we used for him since he was a toddler, and even until now. We are very lucky, because the state that we live in provides so much family support and services (that all states should equally have)!
Some of Joseph's impulsive behaviours consist of: eloping, biting, scratching, slapping, throwing, pulling hair, kicking and occasionally smearing faeces, droppings, etc. On a good note, his eloping is very rare and not often at this point in time.
He has eloped on a few occasions, and police were involved, but thankfully all times he was found safe! I always felt like he had a guardian angel on his shoulder, because he has really been lucky in all the times that he did elope!
It makes it more difficult when you have a child, who cannot be left alone, because of impulsive, and sometimes dangerous, behaviours that he might do. There were occasions where glass was thrown in my house, and thankfully nobody got hurt. I have a younger daughter, who is 11, and unfortunately has been neglected for so many years, because when one parent needs to work and the other is home trying to do her best to meet the needs of both her children, unfortunately the typical one gets neglected, and left behind!
I was the one that said in the past, I would NEVER put my son in a home, but trust me you can never say never!!
When you get to the point when you are so burnt out, and it becomes a health risk, and you are all prisoners in your own home because you cannot take your child out in public, you know that you are not helping your child or meeting his needs.
It was even more difficult, because Joseph was initially placed in a children's Residency a good hour away from our home at the age of 12. It was a very good place, don't get me wrong, where he was loved and cared for, but we wanted our boy close to us as possible.
Having to drive almost 2 hours in traffic just to see our son or bring him home for the weekend, was torture. We were doing that for a little over two years and it was hard, but the best for us as a family and, most importantly, for him to get the proper help that he needed.
For the past year now, he is less than 10 minutes from our home in a wonderful place. It kind of looks like a college campus, where he gets around the clock professional care, with trained staff that love and care for him so much!
Joseph is very bright, and if he was not happy there, trust me we would know. They are able to take him out in public, which we as parents cannot do. He goes everywhere including stores, indoor/outdoor game and ride facilities, parks, basically all the things that children should be doing and going to. They help in making him more independent, and are helping him to reach his full potential! The school is literally next-door to him.
We as parents make the choice when we would like to bring our child home, for home visits, and visit whenever we like. I have a strict structure and routine with Joseph, because he thrives on days that he comes home and when I visit him.
I hope this information will be of help to some of you. Every child is so different on the spectrum, and not all children will need or benefit from being placed in a home, but no one should ever judge another parent.
I wish nothing but the best for each and everyone of you and I hope that you all can make the right decisions for your children in the long run for them to live an independent and productive life as much as possible.
May God bless you all!
Edited by: Priya Gupta