Today I’m breaking form. This is a hard post for me to write. It’s easy to share the funny, happy things that happen behind the scenes of every carefully staged food photo you see on this blog. But it’s uncomfortable to talk about the painful, the frustrating, the disheartening stuff. The real life crap that no one likes to share.
Two years ago, I shared our family story with autism. It started four years ago when something in Big Brother just changed. He became a different child and The Husband and I knew something wasn’t right. Big Brother was diagnosed with high functioning autism (formerly known as Asperger’s) almost two and a half years ago. You can read the entire post here.
Two Years Later
Big Brother has made so much progress since that original post two years ago! It has been a long, hard road of trial and error. We’ve seen doctors, therapists, psychiatrists. We’ve tried medications, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Finally, this year something clicked.
I think it’s part maturity and part finally dialing in to the right medication. And a huge part has been being under the guidance of an amazing teacher who didn’t back down from the challenges Big Brother brought with him. For the first time ever, I felt like I could drop Big Brother off at school and not spend the rest of the day on pins and needles worrying about whether he’s going to have a meltdown. I’m starting to see more of him emerge. The funny, affectionate, brilliant child I’ve been searching for, not the angry, anxious child that took his place.
But We’re Not Out of the Woods Yet
Even though we’ve made huge leaps, we still have a long way to go. Children with autism often have social challenges. They have difficulties connecting with other people. They don’t pick up on cues like you and I do, such as being able to tell when your actions are making someone angry or annoyed or when to be empathetic.
Have you watched the show The Good Doctor? The entire show centers around Dr. Sean Murphy, played by Freddie Highmore, a surgical resident with autism. If you’ve watched only one episode of the show, you know that Dr. Sean Murphy often says and does the wrong thing in certain situations. He’s usually clueless about his blunder until someone explains it to him.
Big deal, you might say. Correct the behavior and move on. Well, think about all the times you interact with people on a daily basis. Now imagine if you had no idea how to behave around them and that any moment you could innocently say or do something completely inappropriate. It ends up becoming very isolating.
Big Brother also has significant ADHD, also common among spectrum kids. He’s impulsive and frequently acts before he thinks. He’s prone to invading personal space, making other individuals uncomfortable.
So what do we do? Just accept that my son, who is full of personality and desperately wants friends, will inevitably end up being a loner? Would you be willing to accept that?
Applied Behavioral Analysis Therapy, also known as ABA, is the most successful form of therapy for autism. But resources in Mississippi are scarce. I live just outside the largest city in Mississippi and there are only two clinics in the area that provide this service. Both have waiting lists 80-100 children deep. In other words, it could be years before we can get treatment.
Money is another obstacle. We have medical insurance, good medical insurance in most respects, but it won’t pay for ABA therapy. These therapy sessions run about $175 an hour. Most clinics want you to attend 2-3 therapy sessions per week. They can last anywhere from 1.5 – 2 hours per session. You do the math. . .
So I started researching other therapies. And I found something — a type of occupational therapy that targets neurological disorders like high functioning autism. It could help with his attention span, his focus, his impulsiveness. They also work on social interactions and help him understand the difference between appropriate and inappropriate behavior. The Husband and I think this therapy could benefit Big Brother greatly, but of course, there are obstacles.
Our insurance will pay for the therapy. But only part of it and only up to a certain number of visits. So even if Big Brother could still benefit from continued therapy after we’ve met our limit, we either have to discontinue our sessions or figure out a way to pay out-of-pocket.
I’m just not willing to let some person in an office far away decide what is best for my baby.
That’s when I got really pissed off and started thinking, what can I do? I can’t just sit here and accept this. I have to find a way.
That’s when I decided to launch Cooking Bride Designs.
After cooking and photography, graphic design has been another direction. I decided to take all these ideas in my head and do something with them. Hopefully something that will benefit my son. I’m starting with an Etsy store for now, with plans to open my own web-based store front in the near future.
What I am Offering …
My motto is “Home Decor — Scripturally Speaking.” I started designing recipe cards (because — recipe blog). But then I felt led to start designing artwork. You’ll find everything from print your can download and print yourself to printed posters and wall canvas. Most of my work has a religious theme.
Then I started designing pillows. Designing pillows is so much fun, ya’ll! I just added a line of patriotic pillows for Fourth of July, but I will be adding an everyday line soon.
How Can You Help?
Well, for starters — make a purchase!
If you have an Etsy account, be sure to favorite my shop. I add new items every week.
Finally, spread the word by sharing our mission on social media.
“And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19