“As soon as we walk out the door, observing his expression of the day will usually tell me what to be prepared for, when and if something happens.” [caption id="attachment_10128" align="aligncenter" width="640"] photo credit Irma Canfield[/caption] Hello, I’m Irma Canfield, married, with three sons: Roland, Rick, Steven. My youngest son Steven has a dual diagnosis of Down syndrome & severe autism. His diagnosis started me on the path to raising autism awareness and becoming an activist for the cause. Over the years, I have had to re-assess how to channel my energy towards addressing his unique challenges by viewing opportunities while understanding the importance of connecting and focusing on other members of the autism community on our Facebook page. I believe that we are all meant to learn something from our experiences which have impacted our families’ lives. So, I chose to become a voice for my son and have struggled for him to be included and benefit from various choices and options. I am grateful to my son for teaching me many things and for being my inspiration of nourishing hope.
In the past, it was hard to go on any outings or travel with Steven, but now I make sure he is pretty rested ahead of time. As soon as we walk out the door, observing his ‘expression of the day’ will usually tell me what I as his caregiver need to be prepared for, when and if something will happen.
Depending on the destination, if it’s a short trip, I usually pack his favorite calming item that he likes to hold, his favorite snacks (he is on a strict diet, so it is up to me to bring them along), as well as his fluid intake requirements. I try to add some visual aids if possible when visiting family or friends, or we’re going to places like the mall or grocery shopping. In places, I know he will enjoy I try to stay longer. On long trips, I bring Steven’s personal DVD player or iPad with his favorite music or movies. Per his doctors’ advice, I also give him several supplements to help keep him calm.
My advice to parents in general and moms, in particular, is never to give in; to autism or other disabilities! You can become more powerful when you practice letting go of any negative feelings with love and channel your energy towards finding solutions to challenging problems on your plate.Don’t let autism prevent you from exposing your child to the world or give up on getting him or her included in our society.]]>