Jennifer Briner
Expert Name: Jennifer Briner
Expert Title: Parent of a child with ASD
Company Name:  none
Company URL: n/a
Short Bio: Jennifer lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband and four sons. Her oldest son was diagnosed with Autism at a young age, thus starting Jen and her family’s journey toward recovery. She used a multitude of complementary alternative medicines to help her son achieve further success and independence and overcome some of the deficits that have come with his ASD. Jennifer has been involved in many virtual parent groups over the years and has found that she finds strength in the numbers of parents out there just like her who just want their child to be as healthy and as happy as possible. In her spare time, Jen enjoys being a Jazzercize instructor, leading her church choir, and being a mom to four handsome and lovable boys.

The War on Autism: Conquering One Battle at a Time - A Parent’s Reflection

 

I just asked my six-year old son to get a diaper for my thirteen year old. I will never get used to this strange life. With autism, so many things are upside down. My son started out so “mild” but ended up so “severe” and he seems to be emotionally aging backwards, like Benjamin Button. The potty stuff started in the fall of 2010. It came on suddenly and has ruled our lives ever since. I took my son to Children’s Urology but their answer was simply, “He has autism.” Like that means he could never have anything medically wrong with him? We tried every bedwetting/incontinence product out there but nothing worked. At first, we tried not to buy Goodnight diapers because they were so expensive. Later, we would hear through the “Autism vine” that Medicaid pays for them so we ordered as many as we could. My son has obsessions and compulsions that make most things difficult, if not impossible for all of us. The diapers and incontinence don’t bother me much. What bothers me is the sheer joy he gets from ripping the tear away sides off the diaper, pulling it out of his pants and throwing it anywhere he can!

Over the last year we have tried everything from duct tape to safety pins with no success. I bought a girl’s leotard—with a rhinestone flower on the chest, mind you—and had him wear it over the diaper but under his clothes so he couldn’t get his hands on the diaper. It worked for a while but then he became obsessed with sneaking the straps down and pulling the diaper out, which he could do in about three seconds with someone standing right next to him! In an attempt to save our diaper supply, I began sewing the sides of the diapers back together if they weren’t too wet. Then it hit me, in the shower, where all good thinking is done. “What if I sewed the diaper and the underwear together? Then he couldn’t rip the sides off.”

As I sat at the sewing machine, I started to cry and feel very sorry for myself because I was sewing my kid’s diaper into his underwear. Then I had a different thought, “I am a badass because I’m sewing my kid’s diaper into his underwear!!!” Who, besides an Autism mom, thinks of this stuff? I have fought and lost many battles with this thing called Autism but every night as I sit at my sewing machine I relish in this victory. This time, I won and it lost. Feels good!