Financial Burden of Autism

Today I had a job interview for a second job to help us through the summer. Here is hoping that I get a phone call. I keep applying and applying and going to job fairs for full time position with my degree. I keep the substitute job to keep my network of people up and keep my name in the hat for a full time position. The more teaching no matter where it is the better!!

Now the substitute teaching gig was so exciting to me at first, I felt like it had been something that I had been working towards for years. I have been doing this for the last three school years while going to school and getting my Masters in Education, curriculum and instruction. My bachelors is in Music and I am fully certified teacher in Art and will be taking the Music content exam next week. Here is hoping that I pass the test the first time. I have been studying for it!! To be a teacher, you really have to want it. I really mean that too!! You have to want to do it.

When The King was a wee kiddo of 2-3 years, I was working for a small business in Down Town Dallas. I was getting about 2-3 hours of sleep a night, due to the boy never slept. My marriage was on the rocks, my little boy was recently diagnosed with Autism, and told he may never speak. Needless to say I was really at a breaking point. I lost my job due to mistakes I had made. “Oh, gee, I wonder why I made mistakes.” I floundered at first, it was a shock to me. I always worked really hard and took pride in what I did. My job I got out of college I worked at for 4 years.  I took jobs where ever and when ever I could get them. I eventually gave up working full time because I wasn’t getting hired on as full time permanent jobs. In the last nine years I have probably over a dozen different jobs. One of those was a retail job that I was able to keep for two years due to the flexibility. Anything from private music/art lessons to subbing, retail, customer service, and whatever I could get my hands on to help us out. Never having insurance for myself, but did get assistance from the state. I will admit to it. I was one of those lazy people using the system. That is what people always think. During this time, I got my degree’s and certifications while working, and taking care of Jack and C. This revelation of being in and out of work took it’s emotional toll on me too.

When Jack was first diagnosed he had a ridiculous amount of needs. We had in home help and then pre-school. 3 hours a week extra of therapy outside of school. Luckily the state was there to help with the cost. I would sit in the car for hours and hours and hours. I would work on homework, draw, and whatever it took to help him out. From years 3-5 I was his soothy. Meaning I was the only thing that would calm him from meltdowns. He was attached to me. If I wasn’t around he wouldn’t sleep at all.

Needless, the say the cost of Jack has been a career and any sense of living like a typical human being. Feeling like all of the people who say people who are on food stamps and get social security disability are second rate citizens is such bull. I am very grateful that those options were there for him. If not for that and family, we would have been homeless!! Jack probably would be in an institution as well. Instead of where we are now. In a loving beautiful home where is finally starting to flourish. We are not on any benefits. We are uninsured right now because I do not work full time and we cannot afford health insurance. Plus, I make too much for ACA. So, I pay out of pocket for everything. Which is why I am looking for a second job and hoping so much that I finally land a full time position to help us. The cost of autism is not only financial.

However, I would do it all over again because when he smiles huge at me now when I wake him up in the mornings I know that the battle was worth it. All of the bruises, broken noses, hitting, abuse, and etc he has handed out was all just saying hey I am in here and I need you. I am so happy that we have come this far and our journey is far from over!!


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