The More The Merrier – An Interview With Tanya

When I first read the interview answers from today’s guest, I said, “oh yea, me too” and “exactly.” As a single parent to children with disabilities, I easily identified with Tanya’s story. Please join me in welcoming Tanya Savko and her lovely family.

Tell me a little about yourself and your family.

My name is Tanya Savko, and I am the lucky mom of two amazing sons – Nigel, 14, and Aidan, 12. We live in a small town in southern Oregon with our three cats.

Tell me more about Nigel’s and Aidan’s disabilities. Did you know when they were born that they had disabilities. If not, how did you feel when you discovered it?

Nigel has autism, along with SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder) and OCD/Anxiety. He was diagnosed when he turned three, and was not functionally verbal until around age 6 or 7. He has responded very well to years of therapy and is now considered to be ‘high functioning autistic.’ When he was first diagnosed, I was a bit confused, since all the information I could find on autism in 1997 was archaic. I’m so glad that has changed for the better! The information available now is much more helpful. My younger son, Aidan, also has SPD. As a young child it was quite severe, and even now he is highly orally defensive and has proprioception issues. He also had a language developmental delay and was in speech therapy until age 10.

You blog a lot about your children’s issues. How did you go about making the decision to blog about them? What do you personally get out of blogging about them and their issues?

I decided to start blogging when I went online to try to find some support for parents of autistic teens. I had trouble finding information, so I decided to start my own web site as a resource for parents of autistic teens, and I called it Teen Autism. Blogging has been so therapeutic for me. I have connected with some wonderful people, in several countries. I finally don’t feel so alone.

What is a typical day like for you and your family?

I have been homeschooling Nigel for a year, due to negative peer interactions and bullying in middle school, but as a single parent I still have to work. So it was challenging to find work that I can do from home, but I did, and I’m very fortunate that I have been able to do so. Aidan, since he is not autistic, has not experienced the social difficulties that Nigel has, so he continues to attend the local middle school. We all get up in the morning, Aidan goes off to school, Nigel and I do homeschool, and then I do my work for several hours. Nigel attends a weekly social skills class and weekly Boy Scout meetings, so we attend those when scheduled.

How have your children’s disabilities affected you as a person and as a mother? What did you do right? What do you wish you had done differently?

I have become more resilient and resourceful, but I think that’s also due to single parenting. My sons’ father lives 700 miles away, so I’m on my own most of the time. In general, autism and SPD have taught me to be more patient, open-minded, and compassionate. What I did right was to get both of my kids involved in early intervention services. It made a world of difference for both of them, especially Nigel. What do I wish I had done differently? Started blogging sooner! I was isolated for too long.

What do you want other parents to know?

Be patient with yourself, not just your children. Take care of your health – physical, mental, and emotional. And remember that even though you don’t always have the answers, you do know your child best.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

I’d love to connect with more parents of autistic kids! It’s been so difficult to do so in my local geographic area, so I rely on the Internet for my community. The more the merrier! Please look me up at

Deborah can be found writing here at 5MFSN every Sunday and Wednesday, and can also be found at Pipecleaner Dreams.

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