Monica is the mom of two children from Avon.
What do you do to relax?
I love to bake, volunteer within my community, and spend time with my family.
What else would you like to tell us about yourself?
I work part-time for the City of Avon as the Mayor's Court Clerk and I am currently pursuing my degree in Public Administration. I also work PRN for Fairview Hospital in the Pediatric Emergency Department. I love working with kids!
What benefits has Connecting for Kids brought to you and your family?
It has connected me to a whole network of parents and caregivers who understand the stresses and struggles of raising a child with special needs. It has made me more aware of resources for my child and keeps me updated on ever changing information related to autism spectrum disorder.
Which have been one of your favorite resources?
Some of my favorite resources offered by CFK are the Coffee and Chat, Meet and Greets, and the variety of Speaker Series offered. My husband and I were lucky enough to see Temple Grandin speak at Playhouse Square and have sign and dedicate one of her books to our son Evan.
What I worry about most…
I worry most about the future and what resources will be available when our son ages out of school-based services. We struggle with not knowing what lies ahead but remind ourselves often that we can only take it day by day.
How parenting a child who struggles has changed my ideas on parenting...
Nobody hands you a manual after diagnosis and says, "hear is everything you need to know about parenting your special needs child". Parenting is altered to fit the needs of the child. Once our son was diagnosed, I wanted to know EVERYTHING about Autism. I knew right away that we had to be his advocates and his voice. In order to move forward and be the best advocate, you have to change the way you think. "How can I educate myself on my child's diagnosis?" and “How can I get the maximum resources for my child to have the best quality of life?” Set small goals for your child and celebrate all of the accomplishments and milestones. Your whole way of thinking has to change as a parent. Instead of saying, "If my child does this", try saying, "WHEN my child does this".
The best thing about parenting a child who struggles is...
Through our journey, our son has taught us patience, compassion, and to never take the little things for granted. Even though there are many struggles, he has made us strive to become a better person. Evan makes an impact on everyone he meets, especially with other peers, caregivers, teachers, and therapists. Everyone we have crossed paths with hold a special place in our hearts. It's rewarding to stay connected with these people and to remind them how much their presence impacted such positive change in our son's life.
Do you have any recommended resources that we can share?
The CFK website is the ultimate “go to” guide for parents at any stage in their journey. They offer a little bit of everything and are excellent at keeping the resources up to date. The grant and scholarship tab has been very helpful to our family and offers opportunities for coverage on therapies that may not be covered by insurance.
Is there anything else about your journey that you would like to share with other parents?
I'm grateful to be a part of the CFK community and hope to spread the word to other parents who struggle. The best thing we have done as parents is reach out and ask for help. Connecting with other families has given us hope for the future.