Being an Autism Parent: Finding Support in Others

Expert Name: Jennifer Briner
Expert Title: Parent of a child with ASD
Company Name:  none
Company URL: n/a
Short Bio: Jennifer lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband and four sons. Her oldest son was diagnosed with Autism at a young age, thus starting Jen and her family’s journey toward recovery.

She used a multitude of complementary alternative medicines to help her son achieve further success and independence and overcome some of the deficits that have come with his ASD. Jennifer has been involved in many virtual parent groups over the years and has found that she finds strength in the numbers of parents out there just like her who just want their child to be as healthy and as happy as possible. In her spare time, Jen enjoys being a Jazzercize instructor, leading her church choir, and being a mom to four handsome and lovable boys.

Being an Autism Parent: Finding Support in Others

When you have a child with autism, you need a different kind of support system. I have the most wonderful family in the world and two best friends since college that are still there for me 100% but they don’t understand what life with autism is like. Their kids talk back and get a bad grade on a test and forget to do their homework. Having three typical kids myself I understand that, to every parent, things their kids struggle with are big deals. My son punched me in the face the other day, has pooped on the floor of Goodwill and streaked through the Disney store buck-naked! Only an autism mom knows what that’s like. I met my “Autism BFF” at a Vacation Bible School seven years ago. The second I saw her son, I knew he had it. She didn’t know so I made sure to mention the fact that I had an autistic son and gave her my number. A few weeks later she called me and we cried over the diagnosis. I mentored her at first. Now we share ideas, work together to find solutions, complain, cry, scream and give each other advice. Life as parent of a child with Autism is sometimes hard and she knows exactly how hard.

Find a parent of this community to connect with. Autism can be isolating but there are those of us who know what it’s like and would be happy to talk about poop consistency, leaky gut syndrome and inappropriate behaviors for a few hours! Find us

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Being an RBT for me was extremely fun because where were you going to find a place where you can be completely silly without having to worry what people thought about you? This was the only job that made me feel like I could make a dramatic difference while being myself.

I also liked to be surrounded by people that had the same goals of wanting to help kids and the teamwork made the job much easier and more enjoyable.

Change and progress was the ultimate goal for our kiddos. The early intervention program was seriously only a miracle because I saw changes in the kiddos that from day one, you wouldn’t even recognize who they were.

Changes from being able to utter 3-4 words where they can only make a syllable from when they started, the behavior decreases in which kiddo that used to engage in 30-40 0 self-harm to only half, learning how to wait during games, table work where they use to swipe and drop to the floor if they had to.

My favorite was when the parents would tell us what amazing progress they were making at home. I used to tear up and felt for these parents so much because it was already difficult for them and now, they can trust and rely on ABA and the therapists knowing their goal was ours.

By Emma Rogers, BA, RBT

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