It’s hard to keep a job with 2 autistic sons. A Medicaid work requirement would be disastrous.

In April 2014, one of my sons fell from a height of eight or nine feet. He landed feet first, with his left foot and ankle hitting the ground first, resulting in multiple fractures. What followed were three surgeries, weeks in a hip cast and in a wheelchair, months of physical therapy and counseling to work through the panic attacks.

My son is autistic — sensory processing issues go hand in hand with autism. While visiting a state monument, he stepped off the edge and fell. An injury like this is difficult for any kid, but amplified for an autistic one. The feeling of confinement from the cast and restricted movement caused my son to have repeated panic attacks. He worried constantly that something bad would happen, his fears often keeping him awake. Once he couldn’t sleep for 48 straight hours, and I stayed awake with him the whole time.

When he fell, I was employed. Less than 10 days later, I was not. At the time, I was doing bookkeeping work for a home therapy company and was forced to miss more than a week of work following the accident and my son’s first surgery. When he returned to school, I tried to return to work. But the panic attacks continued, and I often had to leave. I was unable to keep up, and my supervisor became increasingly frustrated. I wound up in a “quit or be fired” scenario. As a single parent, I was already struggling with the demands of work and the needs of my kids. The accident ended the juggling act.

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18th January 2018