Every year for the last 5 years, I fill out a “stress test” so “they” can get quantitative data about how stressed parents of kids with Autism are. This type of quantitative data is how “they” know that we apparently have the same stress level as soldiers coming back from war.
Every year, I get the results and I’ve gone from being in the 82nd percentile the first year to this year being in the 97th percentile of stress…go me! Every year, the assessor presenting me with the results promises to refer me to “additional resources” and every year, very little happens. Two years ago, they connected me with the staff counsellor and she was helpful in letting me know of the Disability Tax Credit which should have been dealt with every year by the accountant doing my taxes (needless to say, I had that fixed!).
Last week, I had an appt today which pleasantly shocked me. The Social Worker I was referred to based on last year’s stress test (late in the year) actually listened to my current and future concerns, my thrills (yes, I told her of cutting my son’s hair!), the roadblocks I experience, and my reservations, she actually took actionable notes AND booked an appt with me to give me all the outcomes she’ll be working on.
She even listened to my To Do lists, for both my son’s Autism diagnosis, and also my daughter’s new Anxiety Disorder diagnosis, which I’ll admit is overwhelming me. I “get” my son’s Autism (as much as I can, not being on the Spectrum myself) because it’s logical. Anxiety Disorder on the other hand, is a whole other kettle of fish. It’s emotionally-based, and I’m not good with my own emotions let alone be able to figure out someone else’s. I don’t “see” triggers yet that bring her anxiety to the surface. I hope I will one day, but until I do, I just keep learning, and accessing local resources the Social Worker will be putting me in touch with, as well as the ones I’m just waiting for the intake meetings to occur.
I went home and freaked out my man after meeting with the Social Worker because I walked in the door and cried because I was so happy. I actually felt like someone in the system is finally LISTENING and even more important is HELPING me, instead of just saying “well, you should do…” without giving out organization names or contact information. It also felt good to know that the “system” sometimes confuses her too, so she can only imagine what it’s like for parents of kids with Autism as we’re tired, burnt out and just trying to get through the day. So thank you Social Worker! I am truly looking forward to working with you!