"I AM EXHAUSTED" - CONFESSIONS OF A SPECIAL NEEDS MOM
By Keischa Pruden | Nov 17, 2020
Since 1996, when my oldest son initially lost his ability to speak, I became a case manager of sorts: monitoring, linking, and ensuring that Aaron has what he needs to be happy and productive.
When I became pregnant for the second time, I prayed for a “normal” child, one that would not experience so many difficulties in life. My youngest son, Bryant, has been a firecracker from the start. Always smiling, always precocious and very bright. I was like, “Thank you God, you answered my prayer.”
Then Bryant started school. And the calls started. And the teachers conferences. And the “Bryant is so smart but he just won’t complete his work” conversations. I am a psychotherapist. I knew what was going on. We tried behavioral strategies to help, but he needed more. I knew he had ADHD long before he was diagnosed.
So here we are as a family, managing ADHD and autism at the same time. Yes, my sons are 8 years apart in age, so you would think Paul and I had some period of respite. But we truly haven’t. Don’t get me wrong. We love our kids. We’ve had great times together. But if I am to be totally honest, there have been times when I have wondered what it would’ve been like to have neurotypical children.
IEP meetings. Meltdowns. Love. Weekly school visits. Hours and hours of homework. Speech/occupational therapy. Cooking the same foods for 20 years. Fights at school. Dismal grades. Great grades. Football. Wrestling. Love.Good times. Regression. Progression. Honor roll. Employee. High school graduate. College student. Teachers conferences and phone calls. Incomplete work. Behavior issues. Rewards. Consequences. Karate. Basketball. Football. Love. Meds work. Meds don’t work. Lists. Frustration. Hopelessness. Success. Struggle. Good times. Prayers. Trust. Love. This is us. This has been Team Pruden’s life.
Aaron is now 25. He lives at home and is employed. Bryant is a senior in high school. His high school career has been fast and eventful. He’s been injured a few times playing football and has struggled academically, but has managed to maintain a 3.5 GPA and is now receiving college acceptance letters.
People look at me kind of strange when I say I am looking forward to Bryant graduating. I am looking forward to him attending college and finding his own way in life. This mama needs a break. I may just take a year long nap after June 2021.
Peace and Blessings,