Sunday, May 22, 2011

Thank God for Knitting

Many of you know that I am the mom of a special needs child.  Our son, age 15, has been diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, ADHD, dyslexia, dysgraphia, specific auditory processing disorder, depression, stuttering, bilateral hearing impairment, and anxiety.  I won't go into all of the specifics of the years of struggling, ear surgeries, allergy appointments, hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills, numerous specialists, IEP meetings, heartache, and setbacks.  But I will say, that because we've always advocated for our son, we've never been a popular family whether in our own neighborhood, the school districts, or in a local restaurant.  It's been an uphill battle in every aspect of our lives.

3 years ago, my DH had the opportunity to move the family from Ohio to PA for a job opportunity.  Knowing that PA had much better services (or at least services covered by insurance - therefore services we could obtain), I was excited.  I was nervous to say the least.  Let's face it, when your child has as many specialists and issues as our child does, not many people are jumping to include your family in activities.  So, leaving our family behind in OH was definitely hard because they were our safe place, a place of acceptance.

Then we moved.  Our son immediately got 250% better accommodations, services, and treatment.  He was placed in a school for bright children with disabilities.  For the first time in his entire life, he made not only 1 friend, but FRIENDS.  I have to admit it was lonely for me when we moved here, however.  I went from working fulltime to being a SAHM, which incidentally, I love!  But I didn't have adult interaction every day.    It was only through knitting that I made friends, that I found a community.  And although I have been out of the loop of my local knitting community for the past year due to some unavoidable circumstances, I look forward to getting back into the community this fall when my littlest peanut starts school fulltime.

This week was a challenging week for us.  As moms of special needs children understand, there are good weeks and not so good weeks.  There are days that are very challenging.  And this week, we had a challenging week.  Not only was it challenging, but combine that with feeling under the weather and ugh!  I missed breakfast with my bud.  I didn't end up getting together this weekend with another knitting bud.  And that was disappointing.

So what did I do?  I put on my headphones and listened to knitting podcasts while knitting away.  Knitting has been a constant safe haven for me.  See, knitting for me is not only a hobby, but a sense of self-expression, a calming, centering activity, and my connection to others.  I'm so thankful to have it in my life.  Even my children now knit and crochet.  And they love it (not nearly as much as I do though)!

Okay, I'm rambling.  This is definitely the product of a crazy week!  All I can say is.. Thank God for Knitting!



  1. I think I need to start checking out some podcasts. You know my skill in knitting... um super beginner. What ones do you recommend?

  2. I am the homeschool mom of a little one with high functioning autism and epilepsy. I have found the exact same thing with knitting you have. We moved last May and have been slow to make friends. We have a few, but not many. And I certainly don't have a life that lends itself to much outside my home. I started knitting in January and have found it to be so stress relieving. I too curl up with my knitting and knitting podcasts. It is my "me time" in a life that has very little room for it. Knitting has such a sense of community. I understand the "bad weeks" all to well. I fell in love with your blog and podcast a few weeks ago (I think I found you just before podcast one), and knowing this about you makes me like it here even more.

  3. sorry to double post - andi - i like knitpurlgirl of course, 90% knitting, Knit Pick's podcast, and knitting pipeline. I have others, but those tend to be the ones I listen to first.

    I would be very interested in knowing what others listen to as well.

  4. EF - {{HUGS}}:)

    EF & Andi: Currently, I listen to knitmoregirls, TheKnitGirllls (video podcast), Brass Needles, Round the Twist (video podcast), Getting Loopy, YarnGasm, Subway Knits, Stash and Burn, and The KnitWits.

  5. While I can't understand all that you go through, I do have 2 daughters who are legally blind/low vision. I understand not being included and feeling alone. And while I haven't taken the leap into the knitting world yet, I find escaping into my crochet is what helps me. It's probably the one thing I do for me, even if the items I'm creating aren't for me. Thanks for getting personal and letting us know you're real.

  6. I am an Occupational Theraist working with babies exposed to drugs by their mothers. It can be good and bad days for all of us, too. We try so hard and sometimes make little progress, we love our kids and worry about them and then have our own children with all of their issues. Knitting and crochet are a way of life for me, they keep me calm and help me get thorugh life just that much easier. Good luck to you and your son, he sounds like a great kid, and beleive me kids with no known issues can be a real challenge too.

  7. Kristine - {{HUGS}}

    MereKnits - My DS has an AWESOME OT! Bless you for all of the work you do! We also have a typical DD and she is challenging too - just a different kind of challenging. I always say, she's the one responsible for my gray hairs. ;p

  8. Thanks for all of your comments, everyone. :) I am so blessed to have such amazing kids. And my Aspie guy is so strong, loving, and fantastic that all of our struggles are worth it, 10 fold. But it's good to know that when it's a bad day, I have an outlet and a terrific community to turn too. I didn't mention it in the post, but my DS goes to his room and knits when he needs to calm down. His behavioral therapist was thrilled that he had a coping activity! So I truly believe knitting is a godsend. Knitting, crochet, fiber arts - they are all such meaningful activities in our lives - more meaningful in many cases, than the things we create. :)

  9. Hi there! I am a special needs teacher of kids with sever disabilities. We have had a girl who sounds like she has many of the same dxs as your son. You sound like an awesome mom and I am glad to know you are so involved. It has not been my experience here in Boston, yet anyway.
    I love love love listening to Alana Dakos' I have gone back to the beginning of her podcasts, and there a couple that I have listened to more than once. I also love Stash and Burn.
    I have known how to knit for a long time, since I was about 8, but I really feel like a knitter now that I do numerous projects at a time. I just finished my fourth sweater since January and if I didn't need to sleep, shower, and work, I would have a longer list of FOs! Keep smiling, and know that you are in my thoughts. Erin

  10. My heart goes out to you. I home schooled my oldest because when he was in kindergarten, I was told that he would never be good at language arts and not all that great at anything at all. My decision was NOT popular with anyone except other home schooling moms.
    A lot of love and patience will go a long way. When he went back to school in 7th grade he was advanced; and he took Advanced Math and Advanced English through HS. He got his CISCO Networking License 1 & 2 in HS. He is a Systems Engineer with degree in Systems and Networking from RIT; and he is now a 29 yr. old combat officer, Ranger qualified. A Captain, he returns to Afghanistan this year.
    I also homeschooled my other 3 children, who are also successful. (I homeschooled a total of 9 years.)
    I offer this information to encourage you when things aren't going well.
    ALL THREE of my sons are in the military (one is in the Gulf right now;)and I worry about them. Honestly, it's my daughter here in Pittsburgh, working on her doctorate, who keeps my stomach tied in knots.
    They say that the first 40 years of parenthood are the hardest. Knitting keeps my mind off what my kids are doing.
    You are not unique...we all have good and bad days....IT IS THE HUMAN CONDITION.
    Keep a Stiff Upper Lip and Knit On.

  11. Thanks for sharing. After my stroke I was unable to do any of my crafts. Luckily 13 yrs. later I can knit and quilt again. I have spent many years alone in the house and knitters and quilters online were my connections to the outside world.

  12. It is wonderful to hear real life stories from moms who don't have a fabulous day every day and get frustrated from time to time. I am the mom of a 13 year old daughter who is autistic and you are absolutely correct that you need to be the advocate for your child. If you don't no one else will. The right school can make all the difference. Hang in there!

  13. phew! you've got your hands full! my sister has dyslexia, disgraphia, discalclia, (idk how to spell either of those) auditory processing disorder, and some depression stuff too. I've got dyslexia and anxiety. i know what it's like! i remember when she finally got therapy and was able to read!


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