As my cop husband has said both on the job and when our boys were newborns, “We need to call in for back up!” My sister-in-law Carrie did just that this morning when her son, Teddy, also on the autism spectrum like our Lukey boy, was having a meltdown. She didn’t know how she was going to get him dressed and in the car to take her daughter and a neighbor girl to school.
I would have loved to help but unfortunately Luke’s bus wasn’t coming for another 15 minutes so I couldn’t leave my house. Plus, he’d been up most of the night (his sleep issues are typically helped with medicine but not always) and therefore so had I and we were both grumpy and exhausted. Thankfully when we talked a little later Carrie had managed to get all three kids in the car and to school. But it got me thinking….what do we do in our special needs world when our own back up people need back up at the same time?? Because as we all know things like this can happen every day…or on tough days every few minutes!
I am blessed to have a wonderful family and awesome friends but when it comes to calling for help if Luke is out of control, besides my wonderful mom, I typically get in touch with someone who is on the front lines with special needs themselves like my sis-in-law or my sister at heart Amy or my writing buddy Kelli. Why? Because they just get it. And they will come running when they can –as I hope I do for them—but what about the times they are dealing with their own special needs folks? They can’t very well come help me clean up yet another poop mess from Luke while they are dealing with their own various messes at the same time.
I don’t know what the answers are but I would love to hear some of yours! I am very thankful for our insurance that covers the main chunk of the bill so that Luke can have wonderful ABA therapists come to the house several hours a week and be a big part of our back up team. Not everyone has that. And I’m thankful for the special needs room at First Baptist Church of Geneva that allows my husband Mike and I to worship together while Luke is cared for and having fun in his room (thanks Michelle D, Michelle F and Andrea:)
I’m also thankful for two newer online resources. One is a Facebook page for those in special needs ministry (I help with this at my church, alongside Kelli Anderson who I mentioned above and she started the page) so if you are in involved in special needs ministry and on FB check out “Special Needs and Disabilities Ministry Leaders Forum”. And very recently, Michael Woods, the director of special needs ministry at First Baptist in Orlando started a blog for special parents called “Not Alone” at www.not-alone.org.
So leave me some answers (or questions!) in the comment section, check out the resources I mentioned above and what will I be doing before my kids get home from school? Taking a much needed nap and getting ready for round 200:)