The Month of Transitions

Today is the first Monday after our oldest headed off to college. We are excited about Cameron’s opportunity to go off and start the next chapter and no words can describe how proud of him we are. Cameron’s brother has autism and is pre-verbal. We have been preparing for this departure most of the summer on how to handle this change but as a parent you question, “Was that enough?”  Are they ready? What are they both feeling?

Planning for a child going off to school is natural. In contrast, it was hard for us to prepare for how this change would affect our other son. My husband and I worried about how Cody would handle this new situation. Like many on the spectrum, Cody is most comfortable in a routine. His routine includes looking for where people are in the house, familiar noises (like my son’s friends or girlfriend coming over the house and laughing and talking loudly), and the physical closeness he and his brother shared. Cameron is a hugger. Cody has grown accustomed to his brother picking him up and wrapping his long arms around him and spending time talking to him while he plays on his iPad. All while this change is happening, it’s also in the middle of a Pandemic and Cody has not been in school since last March. First day of school is Wednesday (remotely) and while I set up a space in our home, Cody shared much anxiety with even more change.

We united as a family and spoke with Cody daily about where his Bro Bro was going.  We also gained support from our therapists for them to incorporate in his programs. We showed photos of Cameron’s new dorm room.  We did our best to describe what was happening and that going forward it will be different. Because Cody has a hard time expressing emotions and not always sure if he understands, we naturally wondered how much he was taking in.  We know there is some understanding because of some past memories he has shared through photos that we never realized he knew about until months later. 

When the day finally came to follow Cameron to his new home away from home; The University of Oklahoma, we felt nervous, excited, proud and sad. Some of the most difficult things we do are also the things that fill our hearts with joy. We were leaving a piece of our heart in Oklahoma.  The trip home was tough and then thoughts kept seeping in wondering if we were going to be faced with another challenge once we arrived home. The first few days back, I held my breath to see what would happen.  We kept busy and made sure we spoke of Cameron a lot and shared even more photos. Yesterday Cameron FaceTimed us and Cody was able to get that visual connection and say hello. It was so wonderful to see his smile and he for sure made my day too! 

This morning started off rough. Home was extra quiet, preparing for school and the  uncertainty was stressful. I could sense Cody’s anxiety and it just seemed to escalate more and more. He had hit his limit and had a fallout.  Any autism parent would agree, the worst part is you cannot fix it for them. You can’t wrap your arms around him to make him feel better, you can’t redirect and really all you can do is help him with some calming breathing techniques that seem to work best for him in his favorite brown chair but not too close but not out of sight. 

He finally calmed his self-down and then as a parent all the thoughts go through your head of what caused this. I do believe is was a mix of things happening. I believe he is sad about his brother leaving, change of routine over last 4-5 days leading up to his brothers departure and the changes in our home prepping for his upcoming school year.

I know with time, they both will thrive in their new norms.  In the past, Cody has adapted to change very quickly as long as we could get the practice trials in.  This may take Cameron a bit longer accepting of his brothers absence but he too will adjust and thrive. We are fortunate to technology these days.  Truth be told, I believe over the next few weeks they both will adjust faster than I will. 

Having a son with a autism, we worry often and our fears become strong. We are always thinking five steps ahead all at the same time trying our best to live in the present moment to endure those special times that make memories. We have an incredible supports in place and that helps tremendously too.

Wishing everyone a happy transitioning month with our upcoming, remote, virtual and in person school year and with all the other extra transitions sprinkled in!

Published by mamalamaneustupa

Bio My name is Shelley Neustupa. I am a mother of two cool boys and a wife of 22 years to my high school sweetheart. My oldest son attends the University of Oklahoma. Boomer! My youngest is in 2nd grade and was diagnosed with Autism and Mixed Receptive Expressive Disorder at age 2. Since his diagnosis, I promised him I would advocate and educate as hard as he works each day in therapy. I began writing and have been able to touch many parents that may be new to this journey providing them with actual experiences (not candy coated), support and resources through my entries. Writing is my therapy and my hope one day that my nonverbal son will be able to take these diaries and speak about his own journey and how autism relates to his own experiences. Who knows he and his older brother may become National Speaker’s one day? Come along on our journey to better understand our lives through the eyes of a boy with autism, his Skilled Companion dog Jude, his big brother (and best friend) and mom and dad. My raw vulnerability captures the everyday moments of our journey and will bring even more awareness. A week does not go by where we do not learn something new about ourselves and I want to share these chapters with you. My Sons Undeniable Strengths… Extremely smart and figures out things quickly. Has a memory that allows him to remember more things than I could ever hope for. Persuasive by his personality and sheepish looks. Overabundance of stamina and strength. Loves the outdoors. Enjoys life and always has fun with an unforgettable smile. You can find us here: Writer: Autism Through His Eyes Facebook Instagram YouTube Pinterest Canine Companions for Independence News Interview Cody and Skilled Companion Jude - Our Story

One thought on “The Month of Transitions

  1. Starting new chapters in life can be very challenging. I know both Cam and Cody will adapt
    to the changes because of the love and support that you have shown throughout their lives.


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