I’m Thankful For You: My Husband

(Editor’s Note: This article was provided by Penny Mack and is part of Cooper’s, ‘I’m Thankful For You’ Campaign.)

The November I want to thank my husband Joe, my village in the isolating world of autism.

This spring we found out our son Henry has severe nonverbal autism. Before the diagnosis we had signs of autism. For one we could not go anywhere without a severe meltdown. Our son loves trains and we learned the hard way that he does not like train rides. We sat on the Christmas train for two hours with a screaming two year old who was inconsolable. Six months before that we spent 20 min on Thomas the train and endured the same screaming. Henry was letting us know we just didn’t listen (silly mom and dad). Joe always felt bad that we couldn’t figure out why he was screaming. He desperately wanted to know what was causing all of this. When you have a child that screams almost everywhere you go it is easy to get frustrated but Joe never did. He always had this empathy for Henry.

In April, Joe and I sat together across from the doctors as they tore our hearts out and told us Henry has severe Autism. The went on to tell us that they did not know what he will be able to do. Joe supported me while I purchased every book, every communication tool, and sensory thing I could think of. He never told me to stop and he never complained. I applied to every single Autism program in the area which meant an evaluation and a fee at every single place to determine services.

We qualified at many of them and Joe continued to support me when I did not think a certain program was good fit for our Hank even after all the fee’s and hoops you go through to get in. I have been 100% supported and encouraged in our son’s autism journey.

We now have in home ABA and that involves one of us being home at all times. Joe is home. He is making sure our Hank can get the best therapy for him. He is my village in this isolating world of Autism.

Together we share the big worries, the ones all parents have, like will our son ever be able to live on his own? How do we make sure he is taken care of when we die? Without Joe I don’t know if I would have had the strength to cope with them. He figures out a plan and we work towards it so our guy will have what he needs even when we are gone.

When I break down, get angry, feel vulnerable, scared, and have all the other emotions that go along with having a child with a disability…he supports me. He understands how hard this is and is always there for me. I am thankful that he is the person I am on this journey with.

Also, thank you Kate and all the autism parents that have come before us. When my son was diagnosed in April the doctors gave us information for a few autism places – but the rest, like going out in public, getting a social worker, and the navigating the everyday world of Autism was left to us to figure out. In six months, I was able to get more support for my son than some parents had in years thanks to your blog. I was able to navigate this world and know what to do to help my son. We also get the advantage of not feeling alone. I don’t know anyone in real life who can relate to how hard it is to go to parks, Target, or even my own backyard. It’s a tough road to navigate and with the support of my husband and the insight of everyone who shares their story – especially yours, ours has been easier.

You can still nominate the doctors, therapists, teachers, friends and family that make a difference in your special needs world. Click HERE to learn how!

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About Me

Finding Cooper's Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you're never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village....all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to my page!


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When my son was first diagnosed with autism no one was talking about it. Autism was hidden. I vow to change that.

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