During “Autism Awareness Month” I’ve tried to bring readers important information and links about this condition, which can be a drain on a family’s emotional and spiritual well-being. A child with autism can also drain a family’s finances.
One of the things we’ve tried to do with our son, who has autism, is to invest heavily now in his treatments, hoping and praying that he will gain the knowledge and compensation skills needed to be a fully independent, productive and fulfilled individual when he grows up. Here’s one reason why:
According to a Harvard School of Public Health study published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine in the spring of 2007…people with autism spend twice as much as the typical American over their lifetimes (on medical care)…The societal costs to support a single person with autism is $3.2 million over his or her lifetime.
Those are startling numbers, and it seems prudent to spend money early on for therapies which might help the child with autism become less reliant on expensive, long-term support. I recognize that there are a variety of factors in a child’s well-being, and that many who are on the autism spectrum will require intense care for their entire lives. But for some, the costs of care can be lessened by early investments.
Read the full article (from which I puled the above quote) about the range of costs to raise a child with autism.
The Rev. Jim Cymbala, pastor of Brooklyn Tabernacle, has often been a source of encouragement to parents. He openly shares about a particularly vulnerable moment in his life when his eldest daughter rebelled and left the home … and the church. While you or I may not face that same situation, it goes to show that parents who try to do everything right can still watch as a son or daughter suffers from the consequences of sin.
Take this reality a step further and you find that God–the perfect parent–can relate to this same pain. Consider what Rob Parsons, executive director of Care for the Family in the UK, writes in his book Bringing Home the Prodigals: “Adam and Eve had the perfect father and lived in the perfect environment but they chose a way their father didn’t want them to go.” Isn’t it freeing to know that God understands our challenges as parents?
So whether you’ve been disappointed by something small your child has done, or whether you’re working through the pain of a wayward son or daughter, understand that guilt is a common emotion, but not necessarily one you deserve. Rob Parson’s ends his comment by pointing out: “There is nothing so soul-destroying as false guilt. Let it go. And begin to ask God the Father to reach out to your prodigals as only he can. Ultimately they are in his hands, not ours.
“And in truth, it was always so.”
Need some encouragement on this note? Follow this link to a Focus on the Family broadcast and look for the box entitled “Related Articles.”
If you are pregnant, or think you will be in the next few years, will you be relying on testing to determine if your child might have a handicap? If you do have such screening, to what end?
In recent days news of a new test for Down syndrome have caused some to question how helpful such tests might be for expectant parents.
Doctors recommend that all pregnant women be offered screening for Down syndrome, and about half of women undergo the tests. But the current tests often produce confusing, ambiguous results, unnecessarily alarming couples or falsely reassuring them. The new tests are designed to offer more definitive results early in the pregnancy.
Again, I’ll ask: to what end? If you are pregnant, what will you decide to do if your pre-born child likely has Down syndrome or some other disability?
Dr. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, has a long history of speaking up for the value of life – all life – and has often invited guests to join him on his daily radio program to discuss the unique qualities of their special needs children. About two months ago, Coach Gene Stallings shared about his son, Johnny, who had Down syndrome, and who touched thousands and thousands of people with his life. In that touching interview, Dr. Dobson noted that some 90% of children who are diagnosed before birth with Down syndrome are aborted, and that we are seeing fewer and fewer children with this disability in our culture because of such testing and a lack of respect for babies who aren’t considered “normal.”
Lest I come across as harsh, let me divulge that my wife and I have a special needs child. He doesn’t have Down syndrome, but I know a bit about the challenges families face when a child needs extraordinary care. So I am not trying to be harsh when I say that I hope expectant parents will refuse the types of tests mentioned earlier. I don’t see anything valuable to come of the information a couple might learn from such screenings. That little life has every right to be born and to be cared for, regardless of his or her physical condition or mental capabilities.
So, will you be taking any tests?
Rebecca Hagelin is a friend of mine, and her new book, 30 Ways in 30 Days to Save Your Family, provides practical advice to parents about a variety of issues and concerns. As an experienced mom, I think Rebecca has captured some good ways that we can tackle the more difficult aspects of raising kids.
Here’s a portion of an interview she did with Sean Hannity about the book.
And, listen to this common sense approach to parenting from broadcast guest John Rosemond. Great insights!
I’ve really enjoyed reading Peggy Noonan’s writings, especially here weekly column in the Wall Street Journal. What a gifted thinker and insightful person!
Her most recent article offered readers a thoughtful look at a shift in values and priorities by many Americans. Feeling the economic pinch, she shows how some families are cutting back, even in rather drastic ways, and putting family first. The opening illustration tells it all:
The Wojtowicz family—36-year-old Patrick, his wife Melissa, 37, and their 15-year-old daughter Gabrielle—have become, in the words of reporter Judy Keen, “21st century homesteaders,” raising pigs and chickens, planning a garden and installing a wood furnace.
Here’s another report about the same kind of reaction to difficult times. For one family, things are pretty different these days. They are slowing down:
…life for the Slomkowskis has changed since the recession. Now, the children have one activity each. Gone are pricey vacations and long day trips. And if daughter Rory wants a new dress, she raids her piggy bank.
Do these trends resonate with you? Are you seeing the same things where you live, or is something else going on in your community? Are you considering a significant change in the way your family is living from day to day?
In a move that might hinder parents from sharing tips and insights with readers, the government is considering a move to regulate the exchange of product freebies for reviews on blogs.
The FTC is weighing whether these informal endorsements should be considered paid advertisements if the blogger receives any quid pro quo from the manufacturer, either in the form of free goods or money.
Now it seems to me that there’s a lot of value associated with recommendations from other parents. I like to know what other parents think about parenting in general, and when I want to buy something, what their opinions are about certain products. Mom and Dad bloggers are concerned about this move by the FTC…and rightly so. Government intrusion? Sure looks like it.
Goodness, can that woman sing! She wasn’t taken seriously by the judges…until she began her song. What a magical moment to watch!
I’m glad that Jackie Kass put together some “teachable moment” lessons from this remarkable, Cinderella story that parents can talk about with their kids.
Alright, we all know that there is some new study which has “new and improved!” dieting advice. But this report from the Wall Street Journal tells of one way to avoid that hungry feeling that follows you around all day. No rocket science here, but it seems pretty common sense to me.
Our program last week, with Dr. Laura offering encouragement for stay-at-home moms, really generated some strong response – from those who agreed with our guest, and also those who didn’t appreciate her comments. More than a few women have contacted Focus on the Family with struggles related to an inability to stay at home with their kids.
- One working mom was offended by comments on this program.
- A caller wants to be able to stay home with her sons. She has tried to convey this to her husband in a direct way, but her husband is disappointed in her.
- One mom is seeking God’s will and is in emotional turmoil because she wants to stay home with her two young children but her husband is totally against this plan. Please pray for God’s guidance, wisdom and provision for this family.
Why not listen and respond with a comment?
Here’s a short, eight question survey of listeners to Dr. Dobson’s daily radio program. Why not take a few minutes to tell us why you listen, what you like – and what you don’t particularly care for?
We won’t sign you up for any sales calls…just need your valuable input about the Focus on the Family radio program, so we can make better broadcasts for you!
Here’s the survey link.
And please tell someone else about this limited-time survey.