Thursday, October 20, 2011

One year ago- a different perspective

One year ago I was beyond frustrated with my job. I had endured harassment by the guys in my group for 3 years and it was only getting worse. With Elliot’s birth and returning to work things heated up. A new boss was brought in but I just couldn’t take it anymore. Even with the management change things continued to get worse with my group.

Then we got the autism diagnosis. To say I was stressed was a understatement. I spent a ton of time researching what autism and Asperger’s syndrome were. I was constantly worried about how we were going to deal with it and what treatments would be best.

During all of this I did my best to stay sane in public. We continued to go to hockey games and I started parent child classes with Elliot at The Little Gym. I started them with her because her brother was taking so much of my time I wanted her to still have her alone time.

The stress was so much that I stopped playing hockey. My only outlet I could no longer justify anymore.

Then at work one day I got the comment that threw me for the biggest loop. I had just gotten a call from the OT (occupational therapist) that they had an available time for evaluation that day. It was in 2 hours and if I could get him there that would be great. This was known as a very good OT so I quickly started making the arrangements to leave work early. My boss wasn’t there so I emailed him and then told one of the senior guys in my group. What he said floored me. I told him that I had to leave and get my son to an appointment. He then looked right at me (in front of another guy in our group) and said “Yeah go take care of your retard son” and proceeded to laugh as I walked off.

He said what?! I did like I normally do and put it out of my mind as I ran home to get Alvin and take him to the OT evaluation. That of course left me with more to digest so I couldn’t really think about the comment.

The next morning I went into work and refused to look at the guy or speak to him. I sat quietly all day. I had enough to worry about that didn’t involve him.

Finally the next morning I confronted him. It was only he and I in the office at the time so I was sure what I was going to tell him wouldn’t be overheard. I  walked up to his desk and told him the comment two days before was not funny and that I had already reported it to our manager and HR. His response was that he didn’t care.

This is when I was set on leaving the company. Nothing was ever done and he got away with it. Shortly after this incident I flew up to WA for a job interview and found out I got the job on the spot. At that point my plan to move us from North AL to Northwest WA started.

1 year ago and I still remember all of the diagnosis process so vividly. The hospitalization to check for seizures, weekly OT appointments that were so hard to endure due to him fighting it all.

One year ago and we have now come so far. He’s in preschool and from what I hear from the teacher doing well. He’s in music therapy that he loves. He does gymnastics and is slowly but surely starting to catch up to the other kids.

One year later and I still have a hard time dealing with it all some days. Before Alvin was diagnosed I had no clue what Asperger’s syndrome was. I knew about Autism Speaks but didn’t really understand how they could help.

One year later and now I advocate. I wear my Autism Speaks Hat/ beanie at work all the time. I speak openly to co-workers about him. I don’t hide it because I want more people to understand what this is and how it affects people. I don’t hide things at the gym. I speak up openly and honestly about what is going on to parents at the gym. The more they understand the better they can help kids in the class understand why he acts differently.

One year later I’m a different person. But you know that’s no necessarily a bad thing!

1 comment:

  1. This post caught my eye as I have just posted about being a year on with my son's autism. It goes without saying that this struck a chord. The bit about staying sane in public and the feelings of stress sounded very familiar. Well done for handling the idiot at work in a calm, measured way- not sure I'd have been so cool. I work in a school, where the understanding of special needs is of course better, but even there I've found myself in uncomfortable situations as staff have complained about children with needs. Anyway, well done for being a superstar.