I’m often asked what a typical day is like when you have a child with autism. My son Camden is full of life, full of challenges and full of excitement. He is non-verbal, needs significant assistance and has several medical issues. So, while there are schedules to our days, a day is never typical. There are good days and bad days, and I’ve learned that simply building more good days is the best goal.
On a good day, we conquer our world together. Good days usually start when we both have had enough sleep (there’s probably a research study out there confirming my theory, but I don’t need to see it to know that sleep is key). Schedules work, pictures are used and we both see minute-by- minute successes. Camden eats his breakfast and helps clean the kitchen. There is lots of running outdoors. Smiles and giggles are mixed with a determination to get that awful work task (in his opinion) done, so he can get computer time. We go to bed exhausted, but tired is a really nice feeling after a good day.
A bad day is when I don’t have enough reserves to help him through the day. It may start off with a tantrum over a certain shirt or wearing socks. I take the battles one by one. I likely end up wearing his breakfast, and he gets on the school bus a bit hungry. He self-stimulates more to try and cope; I drink a cup of coffee and put my head in my hands. At the end of that day, I think, “I can’t do this.” But the next day, I wake up and he’s my son, and, of course, I can do this. I can build more good days.