My son, Tosh, has severe, nonverbal autism. Together, we're a happy little family that gets plenty of sleep, enjoys going on vacations, out to restaurants and to the movies, and loves life just the way it is.
But it wasn't always this way. I used to feel isolated, depressed and resentful. Tosh wasn't making any academic or behavioral progress, and as he grew older and bigger, I was terrified about the future.
One morning, after school drop off, I found myself mixing a screwdriver just so I could begin work and make it through the day. I realized this had become a daily habit. Something had to give.
I made some changes to Tosh's diet and applied some simple natural health techniques that allowed him to finally sleep through the night.
Boy, was that a game changer! Once you get a good night's sleep every night, your outlook on everything changes for the better.
I was ready for more.
Since those diet changes and natural health techniques worked so well for Tosh, I applied them to myself. What a difference!
By this time, we were both in a better mood. He had fewer meltdowns and when they did come, they didn't last long.
Okay, we both had fewer meltdowns.
He made friends - real friends! - even with neurotypical kids.
I navigated the complicated maze of therapies, insurance coverage and waitlists, and finally got him the extra help he needed.
But it wasn't just my health that had improved - life was easier. Tosh was following directions and making developmental progress. We were able to go to out in public and not feel on edge all the time.
And yet ... something was missing.
He was doing better, but I wasn't. I was still burned out. In fact, I was more tired than ever, preparing special meals and running to and from therapy appointments.
I decided to make myself a priority, at least some of the time. I tackled my emotional issues head on. I set aside time and money for a little self care. I asked for help and built a network of support.
And then, a miracle happened. As I began feeling better, so did Tosh. His development really took off and he wasn't just having fewer meltdowns, he was actually happy.
That's why I created The Autism Oasis.
There are a lot of resources for your child, but nothing that focuses on their needs and yours.
Kids with autism are extremely sensitive to the emotions of people around them. If you're filled with anxiety, they will be too. If you're depressed, so are they. If you're not living life with gusto and working toward gaining new skills, they won't either.
It's not all about their development. You deserve a meaningful life, too. Everyone in the family matters.