“I continue to treat our family like a typical American family and try to give them ordinary experiences so that they live well-rounded lives and experience as much as possible. “
Hi! My name is Jenny Wendling, and I live in Cincinnati, Ohio with my husband, Steve, of twenty years with our four children; three of which have varying degrees on the autism spectrum.
Our oldest daughter is Olivia, and she is nineteen with classic, infantile autism.
Max is eight years old, and he is our brilliant, yet bright child with Asperger’s Syndrome.
Maria is our precocious six-year-old who doesn’t have autism but does have learning difficulties that are only a little challenging.
Jacob is our baby and is four years old. He, too, has classic infantile autism but is doing very well quickly.
All of our children keep our family on its toes, and we are quite “colorful” as our priest once said. We put the “fun” in dysFUNctional.
I was able to homeschool both Olivia and Max with intensive one-on-one therapy which included a mixture of Neurodevelopmental Therapies and play/communication techniques I learned from Dr. Jim MacDonald of Communicating Partners.
When Maria was born, I still did neuro-developmental activities with her from birth to get a head-start just in case she, too, would be on the spectrum.
It benefited her. When Jacob was born, I was a bit more busy with the other three and wasn’t able to work with him as intensely as I was able to with Olivia and Max, but I did what I could.
When he turned three, I enrolled him in St. William’s Autism Program in Cincinnati. It is an incredible program, and I adore his teacher, Amy. It’s a mixture of all that works, and it’s the best of “all” autism therapies worlds. They do what works for each child.
Traveling anywhere, be it close to home or out of town is quite an experience and does require lots of planning. I have to admit that I sometimes feel jealous of others who seem to be able to move about so quickly, but it is what it is, right?
I always have to pack gluten-free food, changes of clothes for everyone and each of their favorite calming items, etc. People always laugh that it looks like we’re “moving in.” I also use index cards at the beginning of each day to write down what the days ‘schedule’ will look like. This helps with the anticipation of the unknown that can cause my oldest daughter to become quite agitated.
I continue to treat our family like a typical American family and try to give them ordinary experiences so that they live well-rounded lives and experience as much as possible. There are some days that my husband and I have to split-up, and one takes our oldest daughter and the other takes the younger ones. The younger ones tend to get on my oldest daughter’s last nerve.
It can be exhausting just going to Mass on Sundays let alone traveling anywhere, but the smiles on their faces while having so much fun are priceless.