D.R.E.A.M.S. Moms Blog Sylnita Livas-Bougere

 

D.R.E.A.M.S. Moms Blog

Written by Sylnita Livas-Bougere

Greetings my friends. My name is Sylnita Livas-Bougere and I am formerly an educator, currently a  graduate student, a special-needs advocate, and a published author. I recently published a children’s book titled My Friend Rain, which explains autism to young children. I am also the proud single mother  of an amazing little boy named Rain. Rain, who is a non-verbal 10-year-old, was diagnosed with autism  when he was three years old. Rain and I are natives of Thibodaux, Louisiana, but recently relocated to  the Lafayette area as a result of Hurricane Ida. Our experiences with the special needs community here  have been welcoming and amazing.  

As most mothers of autistic children know, change of any sort can be challenging. Sudden changes are  even more difficult. It was through sudden change that we arrived in Lafayette. When Hurricane Ida  raged through our home town and ravaged neighboring areas on August 29th, we were forced to make  some difficult decisions quickly. Our home was damaged and Rain’s ABA clinic was beyond salvageable.  Forced to evacuate our home and being without power and wi-fi (which most autism moms know is as  essential as water), I was concerned about Rain’s reaction.

In a two-week period, we changed locations five times. We traveled from Memphis, Tennessee, to Thibodaux, then New Iberia, Patterson, and finally Lafayette. We experienced behavioral changes such as elopement, appetite changes, and mood swings.  Rain also experienced a series of asthma attacks as well. To say that those times were difficult would be  an understatement. An epiphany occurred at that time. I realized that while this was a stressful and  trying situation, my son and I have seen our share of struggles as a result of his autism. We always  survive and we will in this case too. 

The most important thing that I have learned as a special needs mom, most importantly a single special  needs mother, is that I am my best asset. Although we are often hardest on ourselves, we are doing a  great job. It is easy when our children are exhibiting behaviors that we do not understand, to get  frustrated. On those days when we are sleep-deprived and seem to be alone in this fight against autism  we tend to bend like a tree in a windstorm. During those times when we get the “stares” when we are  experiencing meltdowns out in public and want to give up and go home, we must push through. When  our children’s teachers don’t seem to understand them and the IEP meetings seem pointless and  unsuccessful, we must persevere and remember that we are our best asset. As mothers we must  withstand the literal and figurative storms that may bend us. We can bend, but we must not break.

If I learned anything during our evacuation and relocation during Hurricane Ida, it was that resilience  and determination are the best qualities that special needs moms can possess. My son and I would not  have survived the ordeal of Hurricane Ida without those qualities. My strength came when I realized that  I may continue to get knocked down, but for my son, I must continue to get up. I am a special needs  mom and I AM MY BEST ASSET.

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