Crissy is a mom of two from North Ridgeville
Do you work outside the home?
I'm a stay at home mom.
What do you do to relax?
What else would you like to tell us about yourself?
I used to manage a local play group of about 30 families when I just had one child. It was pretty great; we'd get together for play dates and outings a few times every week. Once the kids started getting older and going to school it got harder and harder to get the group together. While it may not be the same type of group, I'm very grateful to CFK for giving us the opportunity to meet new families and make new friends.
What benefits has Connecting for Kids brought to you and your family?
CFK has been such a huge resource for us since my son's diagnosis! I attended a seminar at the Westlake Porter Public Library that ended up introducing me to my son's speech therapist. We've also learned invaluable strategies in the Teach Me to Play and Music Therapy & More programs. The Facebook Chat Group has also been amazing for advice, referrals and support. Hearing a doctor tell you that something is different about your child can be very difficult. There are a lot of emotions that come along with it -- sadness, confusion, anger, isolation, fear. CFK gave me the support and the resources I needed to ease all of those feelings and help me move forward in a positive direction to give my son what he needs to thrive.
We never have found my son's current School - Middleburg Early Education Center - had it not been for the connections we made in CFK. I have seen so much growth over the past year, both socially and academically, and we attribute a lot of that to the outstanding education and support he's getting at that school.
Which Connecting for Kids resources have you tapped into to help your child?
Teach Me To Play and Music Therapy are by far the resources we utilize the most. We've been attending every month since I was introduced to the organization! The podcasts have also been extremely helpful as I (currently) live pretty far away so I can't attend a lot of the seminars CFK puts on. The website has been a huge help to me as well, not only for general information and links to helpful sites, but also for the funding resource links. One of my biggest concerns when my son received his diagnosis was "how are we going to pay for all of this?" and with the funding resources I was introduced to on the CFK site, we were able to get the assistance we needed.
If I could go back in time and talk to myself the day we got the diagnosis I would say...
Just breathe. Everything will be ok!! I'll be honest - when my son was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, I didn't know much about it. I "thought" I did...but I didn't. I felt sad for him and angry at myself for not seeing it sooner since many of the "signs" were there from very early on. I let my mind spin out of control and was worried about everything. How we were going to afford all the therapies he needed? How would I manage to grow my relationship with my (then) new baby when I had to focus so much time and attention on my son? How would we tell our family and friends? What would our lives be like moving forward? It was definitely a grieving process for sure. But you know what? Everything worked out. People always say things like "I don't think I could handle something like that" and actually, I used to be one of those people. But as parents, we do what is needed to make things work. We grow and adapt to new routines, new ways of thinking and doing things, and it becomes our normal. Is our life different now? Somewhat, but we're used to it. One thing I know for sure is that I don't think I'd feel this way had I not found CFK. Talking to Sarah, meeting other families with similar challenges, learning about our options and our rights... I don't know how I would have gotten though the first few months without CFK.
What I worry about most…
The future. Don't we all? My son is 5 and will be starting kindergarten next fall. I worry about him being in school all day without me. What if he has a potty accident? What if he doesn't eat his lunch? And my biggest worry - What if he gets bullied? Just the thought of someone hurting him makes me want to cry. How will our lives change as he gets older? How will he do in school? Will he be able to understand/play sports? Will he date? Will he be able to hold down a job? Will he be able to live on his own someday? One of the great things about CFK is that it brings together a diverse blend of families with kids of ALL ages. It’s nice to have some of your fears consoled when you hear success stories about older kids/teens doing well and adapting to life as they get older.
The hardest thing for me to learn was...
I can't control everything. I like predictability in my life. Having a child with ASD can definitely be unpredictable at times! I'm (slowly!) learning to adjust and try to go with the flow when things go awry and make the best of a situation that may not always be ideal.
We'd love to know if you have any go-to resources such as blogs, websites, or books that we can share with other parents.
Everything worthwhile that I've found, I've found through CFK!
Is there anything else about your journey that you would like to share with other parents?
Even after your child gets a diagnosis, they are still the same person. Sometimes it can be easy to get swallowed up in the medical terminology and lose sight of that. You child is still the sweet, funny, quirky kid that you know and love and that doesn't change. Learn to see things through their eyes instead of trying to change them and make them see things through yours.