Autism and Being a DIY Parent


I am not a do-it-yourself gal. You will not find me in Lowe's or Home Depot, or even Michael’s for that matter. I admire and envy any of you who have the talent and time to create wonderful projects using basic materials and your own hands. Having children was supposed to be romantic and easy, they would flow with the rhythm of our life, go to school like we did, get educated, and fly solo someday. Ha!!

The behaviors, lack of sleep, climbing the walls, and finally, the diagnosis took that dream away. I was assured of help from the school district, therapists, psychologists, and mainstream physicians who certainly knew more than I did about autism.   Or did they?

I began to seriously wonder.

The more services my son received, the unhappier he became. The more times my doorbell rang each day, and the “revolving door” turned, the less he progressed. Ages two to five passed quickly with minimal gains.

My first DIY project as a resident of New York State was to begin homeschooling. One person guffawed and said, “You?!”. The lack of quality educational settings in a mold-free environment, plus no vaccine exemptions, meant that I had to learn pretty fast. And I did.

The second project, when Floortime therapy proved to be ineffective for our child, was to implement the Son-Rise Program. When given the right tools and a positive attitude, I learned that DIY autism therapy was a gift to all of us. I began to listen to my own maternal instinct, and that drowned out the voices of all those who professed to know more about autism. And my own insecurities.

I was the expert on my son. It took far too long to realize. Precious time had passed.

I’ve learned about using essential oils by reading and dabbling. I’ve been mentored in homeopathy by Joette Calabrese. I am able to do things with confidence I never dreamed I would do. Where there is will and motivation, there most certainly is a way.

DIY speech
DIY speech

We now live in Arizona where services are not plentiful. Waiting lists for ABA therapy are 1-2 years long. I am learning from watching our amazing speech therapist closely how to teach our son to converse easily and stay on topic. He gets less than 90 minutes with her each week, so in order to carry over the learning, I must, again, expand my toolbox.

The rate of increasing autism cases is straining an already overburdened system. If you lack confidence in your ability to be a DIY autism parent, take heart.

If I can do it, you can too.  Don't wait as long as I did to find your courage.

And you’ll still never see me at any of those DIY stores. I’m too busy recovering my son.