I’m Terrified

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I’m scared a lot as a mom to a child with a disability.

I don’t say it often. But I’m terrified.

I’m terrified when he’s away from me.
I’m terrified someone will hurt him. Or misunderstand him.
I’m terrified of the future.
I’m terrified of dying.

I hold my breath when he is away from me.

And I do my very best to manage the fears.
Cooper is 13 years old. His diagnosis is severe nonverbal autism.
I often say he has the kind of autism the world doesn’t understand. Or want to believe exists.
He’s smart. And funny. He is very loving. He loves high fives and fuzzy blankets and being with his family.
He’s also complicated. Confusing at times. And challenging.

To us he’s just Cooper.

This is a photo from last night. We had a swim event at a local swim school.
He got in the pool with our PCA Lauren. They had so much fun. And I sat and watched.
It felt strange. It’s usually always me. But it’s time. Time to let go a bit.
Lauren helps him. And us. She listens to him. Keeps him safe. And enjoys him.

She is a blessing to our family.

I am sharing this because I can count on one hand the number of times Cooper has been the community without me.
I’m too scared.
I’m not ready.
But she shows me that he’s ready. And that there are good people in this world.
She will keep him safe. She will protect him.

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 our journey. You can also follow us on Facebook.

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Kate Swenson

Kate Swenson lives in Minnesota with her husband Jamie, and four children, Cooper, Sawyer, Harbor and Wynnie. Kate launched Finding Cooper's Voice from her couch while her now 11-year-old son Cooper was being diagnosed with autism. Back then it was a place to write. Today it is a living, thriving community of people who want to not only advocate for autism, but also make the world a better place for individuals with disabilities and their families. Her first book, Forever Boy, will be released, April 5, 2022.

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