Autism is a new word to our family. Our son was diagnosed with autism eight months ago, although it was suspected his entire life. Jake is now 10 years old. We’ve struggled with him since the day he was born, but always associated the struggles to either typical “boy” behavior or a “middle child” thing—but we always wondered if there was something more.
Jake is on the mild end of the spectrum, but mild does not describe the day-in and day-out battles that we face. Jake is highly emotional and if things don’t go just right for him, it ends up in a tantrum that might involve throwing and breaking things, slamming doors, and making threats, which most always ends in tears and guilt. Poor Jake struggles so much on the inside and has extreme difficulty controlling his emotions. Sometimes he just sits and cries.
He’s very high functioning but just can’t seem to get a handle of everyday life issues. No socks in his drawer? The water isn’t coming out of the shower with enough pressure? These clothes don’t feel just right? That’s not the way home? We got to school just one minute early? It’s starting to rain? These are just some things that will throw our son into a tailspin.
And so we take life one sock crisis at a time. While we always try to stick to our plans, or make sure no one else uses the water while Jake is the shower, there will always be things that will inevitably cause chaos. But no matter how hard life gets he will always have a place in our arms. By the grace of God and Jake’s sweet innocent smile that melts our heart, we get through each day.
By Heather Snodgrass, mom of Hailey, 14, Jake, 10, and Hallie, 8