By Kodey Toney
Thanks, Thanks A Lot
Lately Facebook has been blowing up with people who want to share the things they are thankful for. Since this is the season for giving thanks I've decided to make my list of things I'm thankful for as it pertains to being a pervasive parent. Most lists are twenty-plus days long, but I'm going to give my top ten in no particular order.
Jen: I get this feeling sometimes that people get the wrong idea about me. I'm not this all knowing father. In fact there are many things I'm still trying to figure out. Often times it's my wife that I turn to for answers. She is the most patient and loving mother I know. When writing each week I usually turn to her and ask, "Do you remember what happened when..." She seems to always have the answers for me. I couldn't be a dad without her. I think this is important because so many marriages end after a diagnosis. It's tough, but I couldn't imagine doing it without her.
Parents: Both my parents and Jen's parents are a blessing to us both. Jen's mom is our babysitter, advisor, and she was the first to actually "know" that there was something different about Konner.
My parents provide support with watching the kids, but they also give the moral support needed to raise children, especially with a disability. Mom is always giving me kind words while my dad explains philosophies of life. Both are well needed sometimes.
Partners: I owe a debt of gratitude to Joe'l Farrar for getting me into Partners in Policymaking. This has been an awesome class. I entered this program thinking I'd get a little information on autism. I'm a little less than halfway through and I've already gotten so much more. The resources, networking, and knowledge you receive is unbelievable. I come away each weekend we meet thinking, "What just happened." But, the mentors are awesome, and the classmates are a wealth of knowledge and support too. This is not just about autism though. I've opened my heart and mind to all disabilities. Thanks to Erin Taylor, Ann Trudgeon, and Diana McCalment for this opportunity.
Parents of Autism: This group of parents is awesome. What little we get together is a blessing. We meet every third Thursday of the month and share stories, resources, and advice. It's a great way to vent, laugh, cry, and even just get away for a few minutes. Thanks to all the families involved. I just wish we could get together more.
Therapists: Over the years we gave seen a huge difference in the way Konner copes with his issues. This is thanks to the therapists he has. Between Krista Hannaman, OT; Joe'l Farrar (who we miss), Speech; Shawna Hacker, D&D Counseling; and Katie ?, speech; we have seen a drastic improvement in the way he deals with school and home life.
Teachers/Aides: We've been fortunate to have some great teachers and aides through the years. This year is no different. Tabetha Williams and Mindy Hale are a great combination. They both are trying to give Konner the best education possible without trying to single him out. They are working to make him as interdependent as any other child in the class.
Wrightslaw: Besides being a great resource for legal information, IEPs, and anything pertaining to the civil rights of those with disabilities, this site, along with the newsletters, has been a source for column ideas. I draw much of what I write about from the emails they send out.
Meds/Dr. Jon Roth: I was completely opposed to giving my child any type of medicine. However, thanks to Dr. Roth I've changed my mind. With his help we have seen an improvement in Konner's behavior at school and home. He is a completely different child when he has his meds from the child that wakes up every morning. He will wake up screaming and yelling, jumping on the bed, and literally bouncing off the walls until he has had his medicine.
Konner/Kruz: these are the two best things to ever happen to me (my wife is a close third). I'm constantly going with Cub Scouts, Parents of Autism, Partners in Policymaking, and heading to school functions my life is a blur sometimes. But, it's all for these two guys, and I wouldn't change it for the world.
God: One thing I've found through the years, especially recently, is that you have to have God in your life. He is a source of inspiration and guidance, and He's always there. Thanks to the people at Green Country Cowboy Church for helping me realize this more fully.
Hopefully you have found some reasons to give thanks in your stressful lives.