Last year, my family needed to pull together and persevere through some very difficult days. Having an aggressive, non-verbal, 13 year old son with complex medical conditions and another son, 10 years old, also with autism – meant figuring out how to balance the intensive needs of both boys and still find time for my 16 year old daughter, while working to support my family. The challenges increased with a spike in my older son’s behaviors that put him and my family at risk. His school’s systems recommendation was to place him in a residential setting. My son’s behaviors were so interruptive and dangerous that his team at his specialized school for children and adults with autism felt he was not able to learn.
My family was in crisis. We needed expert medical intervention. We counted on his DESE DDS funding to use for behavioral supports and we relied on the resilience and strength of family and community. The struggles were overwhelming but little by little we saw positive changes – my brave and beautiful son got back to solid footing. He is beginning to learn at school and he is able to spend time in his community. These small triumphs allowed us to keep our family together. Today, we still have immense challenges that can rattle us but we are together and lucky for that every day.