Autism and Love
Autism and Love
Loving a child or adult with autism can be complicated. I’ve learned over the years that we need to shower our boys with extra love and affection — and during difficult times, even more so. We are their biggest advocates, and we will help them when they fall and cheer like crazy when they succeed. We learn where they need extra support to communicate their needs better than work to bring in the team of professionals – our therapy providers and teachers are vital to us. Over time our love for our boys has grown and changed as they have. Today they are two of the most loving, silly boys you will meet, and they are almost always happy.
As far as romantic relationships with our spouses or significant others, that takes extra planning, patience, and, often, additional finances to pay for autism experienced childcare to get some time alone. Most autism parents need childcare long past when many kids at age 11 can watch themselves for a few hours. For many of us, like my husband and I, we will need care options, possibly for our boys’ entire lives, in some capacity.
We then have relationships with other family members and friends that often are strained by our needs to be with our boys more. I’ve learned over the years that I cannot have an active social life as I planned, but I can and need to make an effort to get together with everyone as much as I can. So, most Sundays, we have family dinner at my in-laws or other family members’ homes. My boys have learned to do their best, and our family has known to be patient and extra kind to them and their needs.
For myself, I make a point to get together with my close friends who do not have children with autism. We talk about work and family in a general sense, and I enjoy the escape of not talking specifically about autism. Then there are my friendships with my amazing autism mom friends. I’ve met these women through my boys’ schools and more now through my involvement with the Autism Society of Mahoning Valley. All along, I have made some genuinely unique friends who would be my friends’ autism or not, but the bond and care that we have for one another are one of my most loving relationships.
We can all achieve more and, with your support, ASMV can do more for the community! This year, our Board has said they want to create even more connections to advocacy, resources, and services so that the Mahoning Valley Autism community can live fully.
In the meantime, don’t hesitate to email, call, or text me with any questions or any resources you need.
Robin Suzelis, Director
Autism Society of Mahoning Valley