Yes, you read that right. Two. No, Ben is not autistic, but he has assorted other diagnosis. He has bone issues, muscle issues, breathing issues, and growing issues. Basically the kid is one big issue, but in many ways he is the light of our house. I always said I wanted one boy and one girl so when I found out I was pregnant for the second time I just knew it was a girl. But low and behold God had other plans and we had a Ben and not a Molly. I often say that God knew that with a Logan, everyone needs a Ben. He is our comic relief and the exact polar opposite of Logan.
These early first years as a single mom were collectively a lot of tears and smiles. I grew into my Autism mom hat and learned a lot more about myself. I also had some amazing help along the way in the form of my parents, Matt’s parents, our many therapist, and both my local church and the church in Amarillo where I had moved from. If you learn nothing else from reading this, please take this one piece of advice….ALWAY ACCEPT HELP! There is a reason that Autism mom’s don’t wear capes. It is often time because the cape is in the laundry and they don’t have time to wash it. I will readily admit that during this time I applied for every program I could and I was appreciative of everything that went into our day to day life.
I moved back to Stamford, my home town and took any work I could. Since my degree was in Public Relations and advertising it was obvious that my choices were fairly limited. I took part time work mainly because of the heavy burden of doctor’s visits and therapy sessions that both Ben and Logan had to go to. At one time Logan was getting up to 10 hours a week between Speech therapy, Occupational therapy, and physical therapy. We started at 2 with speech, but after a few months his sensory issues and fine motor skills set off alarms that an Occupational therapist was needed. This was added and when his coordination and balance came in to question we added on physical therapy. At the same time Ben’s muscle issues was causing issues with his speech, fine motor, and gross motor skills so we had many therapist coming in and out of our home. The thing that stands out the most during this time period was Logan’s autistic tendencies in play. Everything was always in order, and always set up the same way. I could walk in at any time and his train table would have the same trains in the same order. Our OT at the time was really big about sabotaging him and making him deal with disorder so from time to time I would go rearrange his trains. Sometimes he would regress and sit for a long time staring at it. Other times I would walk back in his room to find everything back in the original order.
It amazes me how then the days seemed so long, but looking back they were just a blur. The adjustment of moving back to Stamford over Amarillo was huge mainly that it took us far away from the first doctors that helped with the original diagnosis and Logan was set to enter a school for Autistic kids when he turned 3. With no such school in Stamford, he entered into a regular pre-k program.
I remember days that just the act of getting Logan ready for school seemed like an insurmountable chore.
Callie Metler-Smith is the owner of Clear Fork Media Group in Stamford, Texas. She has owned the Stamford American since 2009 and Clear Fork Publishing since 2014. When not working on her corner of the Stamford Square, she is spending time with her husband, Philip, two sons, Logan and Ben, and her niece, Sadey.