25 random things about being the mother of a child with autism — 5 Minutes for Special Needs

25 random things about being the mother of a child with autism

by Laura


1)      My husband and I planned on having our first child after two years of marriage. Matthew beat us by 2 months.

2)      I took Matthew on a job interview when he was eight weeks old because I couldn’t bear to leave him with a babysitter.

3)      The first person that told me that Matthew, then three, was developmentally delayed was a speech therapist. She was also the first person who didn’t mention how adorable he was.

4)      My husband and I coached Matthew before his next evaluation with a child psychologist. We read him Richard Scary’s Best Word Book Ever.

5)      When the child psychologist confirmed that Matthew was developmentally delayed, I thought that meant he could catch up. I really did.

6)      When Matthew started lining up toys and laughing too hard at sprinklers in the garden, I knew something was seriously wrong, but I didn’t admit it to anyone.

7)       I was angry with him, and I felt guilty that I was angry.

8)      When Matthew’s younger brother Andy charmed family and friends with his personality and smarts, my love for Matthew deepened.

9)      Andy is now twenty. My most cherished childhood memories with him are the walks we took while Matthew was with speech therapist/psychologists/occupational therapists etc.

10)  Matthew’s youngest brother, John, was one week old when we tried our first miracle cure, auditory training. He is now 16 and helps Matthew with cheats on Nintendo 64.

11)  Andy is studying genetics. He is kind and funny. Matthew is jealous of him because he has friends and a drivers license.

12)  My husband I have stayed together-I hear that is unusual.

13)  How would we explain Matthew on a match.com profile, anyway?

14)  The year that I accepted that Matthew’s condition was lifelong was also the year I had a mini-breakdown.

15)  The best thing I ever did was find a good therapist.

16)  My sense of humor has saved me.

17)  There is nothing more genuine than one of Matthew’s smiles.

18)  There are more kind people in the world than there are jerks.

19)  I cried at every IEP except for the last one, which would be THE last one.

20)  I lost friends because of Matthew.

21)  I made better friends because of Matthew.

22)  When Matthew tells me he’s not in trouble, I know that he IS in trouble, and I remain calm.

23)  I am one of the most patient women on the planet.

24)  I am luckier that most.

25)  The lump in my throat will never go away.


Laura Shumaker is the author of A REGULAR GUY: GROWING UP WITH AUTISM. See a review of the book by our sister site 5 Minutes for Books.

Laura writes each Friday for 5 Minutes For Special Needs.

Email Author    |    Website About Laura

I'm a fifth generation Californian and live in the San Francisco Area with my husband and three sons. My oldest, Matthew, is autistic and I've been writing about my experience raising him from babyhood to young adulthood for about 4 years. I've read my stories on NPR and published them in magazines, newspapers and anthologies, including Voices of Autism. My book A Regular Guy: Growing up with Autism is available at Amazon.

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1 The Gang's Momma April 24, 2009 at 9:22 am

That was beautiful. Whenever I read something you write, it makes me remember to be a better friend to those in my life who have children with challenges. Thank you for that.

2 morninglightmama April 24, 2009 at 3:04 pm

Thanks so much for the opportunity to review your book, Laura. Well done– I so appreciated your honesty and openness about your experiences and emotions.

3 Tammy and Parker April 24, 2009 at 10:59 pm

Number 20 and 21? Me too. Oh, so me too.

I finally caught a clue and made appointments for my 13 and 10 year olds to meet with a therapist to talk about what it is like to have a medically fragile sibling with special come and pretty much steal your thunder for the last 4 years.

I keep pretending that I was a good enough Mom to handle it all. Then it hit me that my 13 and 10 year olds didn’t want to add to any stress and tell me how they really felt, so they just kind of kept it locked in.

All my kid adore Parker. They truly do. But that doesn’t change the face that it has still been an adjustment. Or fifty.

4 Monica April 25, 2009 at 10:31 pm

Love it! Liked it so much that I wrote my own about having a child with Down syndrome and put out a challenge to other parents to do the same on their blogs :).

5 Thingmeister Jeffrey April 26, 2009 at 10:58 pm

You’ve been selected as having one of the Best Random Things on the Web on your list. No kidding.

Come to BestRandomThings.com to see your Thing and many others.

Thingmeister Jeffrey

6 Jayne July 5, 2009 at 6:35 am

I could relate to all those comments!!!! I am not religious but I do believe that we are given these children for a reason. They are looked after and cared for, life without them wouldnt be the same!!!!

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