Courage is the Secret Ingredient to Independence

 

As moms, we are asked, or better yet, we are expected to do everything when we are raising our children, but especially when we are raising children with autism and special needs.

I am grateful that my son, Brandon has been able to live independently for the past thirteen years, despite all of his limitations. With that said, several days a week, I am asked to step up to the plate and help my son from a distance with his daily problems.  These constant problems can be difficult to deal with.  However, since my attitude adjustment, I see it as a creative way to expand my thinking and to help my son learn.  We both seem to gain a lot from these encounters when finding new solutions together. So when I call him I have to admit I often wonder what I will be stepping into.  What has helped me tremendously is I have changed worry into wonder.

Just this morning, Brandon called and told me he was standing in line at the Verizon Wireless store.  He said he was waiting to speak to someone about his phone because the battery wasn’t charging.  He had been there for over an hour and although Brandon speaks well, he often has a very hard time conveying what he is thinking and then putting it into words.

Brandon said, “I am frustrated, they don’t understand what I am saying, I need help.”  I called the store while Brandon was standing there and I was lucky to get a real person to answer the phone.  He was happy to help and when I told him my son was in the store he said, “Oh, that must be your son, the tall guy with the baseball cap.”  I replied, “That’s him!”  He walked over to Brandon and with Brandon’s help and my limited coaching we were able to solve the problem.  It is extremely important that Brandon is involved in the process. I wasn’t on the phone to bail out my son, rather I was there to assist him so he can learn.  The salesperson told us that Brandon will receive a new battery in the mail, and he left the store feeling satisfied with the results.  These encounters help to build Brandon’s self-esteem.

Over the thirty-seven years, while raising Brandon, I have learned in order to help my son that I have to come from a kind place.  I must be able to put aside any negative feelings, attitude, or fears while I deal with Brandon, especially when trying to resolve any of his issues.  Because Brandon doesn’t live with me, it allows me to refuel much more easily.

Parenting from a distance has become a skill, an art that I now enjoy.  When we are on the phone, Brandon has the ability to focus more easily on what I am saying.  There are no distractions.  It works well as long as I stay kind, respectful, and courageous.

As parents, we must be careful and to not allow our own fears to stop our children from advancing. Being courageous is a necessity and it is the secret ingredient to help your children with special needs reach maximum independence.

 

Amalia Starr on Twitter
Amalia Starr
Mother to an independent autistic adult son, Motivational Speaker, Author, and Founder of the Autism Independence Foundation. Book Amalia to speak, call 800-939-1046 or attend one of her conferences or training.
Amalia Starr

Amalia Starr

Mother to an independent autistic adult son, Motivational Speaker, Author, and Founder of the Autism Independence Foundation. Book Amalia to speak, call 800-939-1046 or attend one of her conferences or training.

13 thoughts on “Courage is the Secret Ingredient to Independence

  • July 7, 2010 at 6:22 pm
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    Thank you for your lovely comment.  I always seem to write from my heart when it comes to Brandon.  He has truly taught me compassion and unconditional love. He has also helped me to find my calling. Today, I am an autism motivational speaker, and independent living coach, and I love what I do! 

    Life for Brandon is far from perfect and he has many challenges, but he doesn’t let them stop him. Together we always make things work. I treat Brandon with great respect, love and kindness. He responds well to being treated well. Don’t we all? Feel free to use the above post on your website and if you would like me to be a guest blogger or write something special for your site please let me know. All the best!    @myspeechtherapy – 

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  • July 7, 2010 at 1:20 pm
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    You wrote this post from the heart and I believe it is something that everyone should read. Many parents with children with special needs have a difficult time “letting go.” I do not know if perhaps they feel they are abandoning their child or they don’t believe their child can not make it on their own. You are right, Courage IS the Secret Ingredient to Independence. You should be proud of your son, Brandon, he has made it to adulthood with minimal assistance. I would love to share your post on our website; I know your words will be an inspiration to our community. You can visit us at http://www.myspeechtherapycenter.com Thanks again for sharing!

    Reply
  • July 6, 2010 at 9:14 pm
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    @amaliastarr – Thank you 🙂 I found your blog and have subscribed as this post just resonated so very much with me. 

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  • July 6, 2010 at 8:46 pm
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    Starting young certainly has its advantages. Days turn into years and it all goes by real fast, but not necessarily when we are in the middle of it. I wish you and your girls all the best! @leechbabe – 

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  • July 6, 2010 at 5:45 pm
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    Such an inspirational post. Thank you. It can be hard to see my 5yo and 7yo growing up but I know when they do I’d like them to be strong confident women. 🙂

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  • July 6, 2010 at 3:18 pm
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    I just read your post and saw your fabulous pictures.  I really enjoyed them.  It sure looks like everyone was having fun. The photos made me smile.  Thanks for sharing! < @LoveThatMax – 

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  • July 5, 2010 at 8:43 pm
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    Yes, the phone helps Brandon to stay focused, especially when I use a soft, gentle tone. Good luck with your son and independence. At the beginning, Brandon living alone was a lot of hard work, but like everything else it gets easier.  We were told that Brandon would never be able to live independently. They were wrong. Today, we are both independent and I am forever grateful! @gammicca – 

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  • July 5, 2010 at 7:14 pm
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    Thank you for sharing this.  We have a son that just turned 19 and are hoping one day he too will live on his own.  However like Brandon, he still has those times when he needs a little assistance navigating.  Great story and never thought about the phone for less distractions.

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  • July 5, 2010 at 4:58 pm
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    Thank you so much! I love spreading HOPE, especially in the autism arena. @SavonDuJour@xanga – 

    Reply

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