CSA – Community Supported Autism

The sun is shining, it’s 3:30 pm and while I’m dog tired and about jump on yet another work fire drill, there such a wonder here that I have to take a break and write about it.  A new Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) arrived here yesterday courtesy of a vacationing friend for whom we’re house-sit – and such abundance you’ve never seen.  I mean like 8 shopping bags full of goodness – vegetables like kohlrabi that my kids have never seen, along with massive leafy greens I’m embarrassed that I can’t identify (collard greens?), fresh sage, onions and garlic, purple-tipped scallions, about a dozen cucumbers and zucchini, plump tomatoes, fresh apricots, peaches, blueberries, cantaloupe, and more.  Bountiful gifts indeed, and I can’t wait to prepare them up lovingly then tell my friend all I made of her gift.

So too an abundance of helpers have just arrived here today.  Call them my Community Supported Autism team.   My skills trainer, a long-time respite helper and even my daughter assisted, so at 2:45 pm when the bus beep-beeped I need only go greet it – or not – then check in on the boys, see what their home school notebooks said about their day, note any relevant goals are challenges on which we’re working lately – and head back to my life for a breath then another dive into my job.

Massachusetts has many flaws, but the way it’s supporting me to enable the boys’ safety and to give me some semblance (ha!) of sanity is frankly a model for other states to  follow.   Those of us who receive state funding don’t usually self-identify for fear if people knew we got aid of some kind, somehow it would get taken away.   Certainly I’m the same.   But although some right-wing nut will likely use me as an example of tax and spend waste etc.,
there are days when I hardly know what I’d do without 1:1 support so when W is streaking naked through the back yard, or gnawing on raw steak from the freezer, J. isn’t simultaneously taking off on his bike and ending up a mile away in some stranger’s house (yes it’s been done before.)  While I fear what post-age 22 life will bring them for living circumstances, and how J. will survive without his beloved backyard swimming pool, for today – I have my CSA.  My helpers are encouraging my guys’ behavior as I myself shape them when I’m with them – toward greater capability and social appropriateness.

Could I survive without the funds? Maybe.  Probably.  But then when the boys get hit by a car or I go mental and end up foisting my sons and their issues on the Commonwealth as a ward of the state – it would likely cost more than this “train them so they don’t go residential before their time” approach.

And on days like today when the sun shines, and J. can independently get his own swimsuit from the outdoor rack, put it on and head to the pool – OR when W. can vacuum the floor better than the college-graduate residents – I think of the words “abundant blessings.”

For today, such abundance is more than enough.