Q&A with Elizabeth Gorski Autism Blogger
“It probably also seems silly to treat a trip to the hospital like a mini vacation, but it works, especially for my boys. Trips to the hospital can be scary, regardless of why you are going.
Treating the trips as something “fun” and a bonding experience for parent and child helps to ease the anxiety associated with the stay.”
Hi. My name is Lizzie.
I’m a blogger and the stay-at-home disabled mom of my three sons, Gavin, age twelve, Elliott Richard, age six and Emmett John, age three. All three of my children are on the Autism Spectrum.
Gavin and Elliott Richard have Asperger’s, while my youngest son, Emmett John, is pre-verbal autistic, which is on the lower-functioning end of the spectrum. It’s not quite “non-verbal”, but he’s not as high functioning as a child with Asperger’s.
Growing up I always wanted to be a mother, more than just about anything else in the world.
I’ve always been independent, and I knew that I would raise my children to be the same. I just didn’t know how difficult that would prove to be.
My “plans” for educating my children didn’t work out the way I had expected as a child, so I’ve had to regroup and change my plans. Now I try and tailor my teaching methods and teaching philosophies for each of my boys, depending on the child I’m interacting with.
Aside from that, I just try and encourage my boys to be as independent as possible.
As for traveling with my kids, we’ve never gone anywhere as a family because my children become too over-stimulated when we go out, and it takes far too long for them to decompress.
However, the boys often have scheduled, or as was the case this past weekend, unscheduled stays at Akron Children’s Hospital.
It amazes me when I see the amount of items I need to pack and take with us on these stays; however, I’ve learned that it is better to have packed something not need it than it is not to pack it and need it later with no way of getting it.
I start with my personal belongings. Depending on how long the stay is going to be (when it is a scheduled visit, of course) I start with my clothing. I pack a pair of comfortable “yoga” pants, a large baggy shirt for sleeping, a change of underpants, a few pairs of socks (two pairs of regular socks and one pair of slipper socks for wearing around the room) and a few extra shirts.
I usually make sure that the child staying at the hospital has, at least, a clean outfit to wear home from the hospital. The boys prefer to wear either the hospital scrubs while there or their pajamas during their stay and then change before we leave into clean “street clothes.”
Then I pack my messenger bag full of “sanity” saving materials. It holds my netbook, my composition notebooks (which are various journals – poetry, blogging ideas, ladies who would like to be a part of the Fierce Fibro Fighters blog posts, etc.), my art journal and markers/color pencils, my pens and highlighters, my scratch paper. For electronics; I have my MP3 player and my NOOK reader along with the necessary power cords.
These items help me to keep my sanity and not run screaming from the hospital or burst into tears at a random point during the day.
All these are viable options after you’ve been in one room with a child (yes, even your child ) for 24 + hours.
Depending on our reason for being in the hospital and whether I’ve had time to pack before our stay, I also try and pack a few things for my son to do.His favorite items are a Nintendo DS, his journal, pens or art journal and crayons, He also enjoys watching movies and TV series on Netflix using one of my electronic devices.
I know it may sound silly, doing all of this packing for a trip to the hospital, which may only last 24 hours, but we typically end up using everything we pack at some point.
To some, it might seem silly to treat a trip to the hospital for a mini vacation, but it works, especially for my boys. Trips to the hospital can be scary, regardless of why you are going. So, treating the trips as something “fun” and a bonding experience for parent and child helps to ease the anxiety associated with the stay.
And it is a bonding experience in the end! Hanging out, having mini-picnics on the bed while watching a movie, coloring pictures, playing games -it is helpful and comforting to have so much one-on-one time with one of my sons without anyone else
That’s about the long and the short of it.
We don’t live a particularly exciting lifestyle. However, it’s our life, and we like it.
We try not to change our plans too often because our scheduled visits to the hospital are critical for our doctors and specialists to get a better understand of what is going on with the boys.
Without our pediatrician, specialists, and the Akron Children’s Hospital staff, I’d hate to think about where we’d be right now because they keep things running smoothly and take excellent care of the boys.