Team manager of the year

My wife Jen is awesome!  What she needs to do on a daily basis is nothing short of amazing.  When we first started to embark on this journey, I read an article that mentioned how raising a child with autism is like managing a pro-sports team.  Jen is that manager, and a damn good one at that.

A typical week sees no less than 4 therapy sessions.  A typical month will add in doctors appointments, IEP meetings, and significant administrative efforts.  That’s looking at it from a macro level.  Let’s dive into a typical day.

She’s up before the sun, so she can awake Chase, and get him ready for his early morning bus ride to school.  Now if you think you and mornings don’t like each other, imagine it with a 4 year old autistic boy with sleeping issues, and is likely a little morning terror, all the while you need to feed him something without gluten or dairy, give him his morning supplements (4 different doses), dress him, and coddle him while he freaks out that another day is starting.  And that’s just the first 45 minutes.  During the day she needs to run around with the little one on her hip, while she’s trying to find more gluten free / dairy free foods that we can feed Chase.  The little one is no small fry on his own.  You think your kid is a monkey?  Chase’s little brother is their fearless leader.

In the afternoon, depending on the day, she will need to wait for the oldest to arrive from school, and she has exactly 5 minutes to pack them all up in the truck so she can drive Chase to his weekly in-office ABA session.  On other days, she picks him up from school, rushes him over to his language therapy session, then needs to quickly get back home for an ABA session.

The evenings aren’t much better.  Have you ever tried making a dinner without using any wheat or dairy products?  Now make it taste good.  Now try to get a boy whom will barely eat anything but cereal to eat it, all while keeping the youngest one from dancing on the table during dinner (re: fearless leader of monkey kids).  Later in the evening, she has a narrow window to give him a supplement, needs to be between meals, not long before bed.  The window is about 15 minutes wide.  To cap off the evening, bath time involves Chase and his little brother, whom likes to make a mess of the bathroom (re: fearless leader of monkey kids – again).  Finally she prepares an evening snack (luckily gluten free cereal + almond milk work well here), gives him his evening supplements (4 more doses), and tucks him into bed.

It doesn’t end there.  Next she logs the day’s events, and spends time doing more research, maybe baking some bread, or other gluten free / dairy free food, before finally retiring her own exhausted body to bed.

Oh and did I mention I travel on occasion for work, so mom is on her own doing all this?

That’s just the job that she’s busy doing.  She still needs to manage and co-ordinate the efforts of all others involved.  Here is an incomplete list of those involved:

  • ABA therapist 1
  • ABA therapist 2
  • ABA therapy co-ordinator
  • Language / speech therapist
  • IEP teacher
  • IEP teacher assistant
  • IEP psychologist
  • Regional Center co-ordinator
  • Pediatrician
  • Biomedical doctor
  • Eye doctor
  • Health insurance behavioral case worker
  • Health insurance medical case worker (yes 2 different ones)
  • Baby sitter (yes she helps out too)
  • …more …

Autism is an ever evolving condition, so the plan is constantly changing, and must be continuously communicated with all involved parties.  No easy task for someone to do if that’s all they had to do.

If you know Jen, next time you see or talk to her, mention how awesome she’s doing.  Friends on facebook with her, please drop her a note.  She truly is a phenomenal team manager that this husband is very grateful for.  Without her efforts, Chase would not of progressed even a fraction of what he has since we started interventions.

Jen… Thank You for being Awesome!!!


2 responses to “Team manager of the year”

  1. Being Jens older brother, and on a visit to there place in California, I know first hand on what she does, and has to go through. We had to pick Chase up from school, and on a few occasions had to bring him to therapy sessions. Then on another occasion one evening, we went shopping, (for Pierres Birthday present). When shopping… you have to keep your eyes on Chase EVERY moment, or he’s off like a rocket. It was kind of fun for me just to let him go, and explore (WATCHING him, while Jen shopped). He was all over the place… in the circular racks where they hang up clothes, jumping up, and crawling through the shelves of clothes…, and almost out of the store. Well….. that’s when Uncle Kirk had to step in. I said to him, “Chase, you can get into ALL the mischief you want….. just as long as it’s in this store here”. He understood, and off he went in the store… LOL. And I just couldn’t help but to think… if this is what Jen goes through on a daily basis….. then bless her. She truly is……………. “AWESOME”.

  2. being a very close friend to my jen … i can not express what a loving parent she is. her family is first and will always be. i have watched two parents grow together to raise three amazing boys. together they encourage one another with any challenges that present themselves.

    barbie … in short: you F’NG ROCK doll!

    lots of love to BOTH of you on your successes.

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