Taking the Extra Step
Raising a child involves more resources—physical, emotional, financial—than many anticipate when diving into the adventure of parenthood.
A typically developing child requires tremendous levels of love and logistical support to eventually become a functional adult who can independently maintain the basics of food, clothing and shelter.
For those raising a child with extraordinary challenges, the need for resources expands exponentially. Both our sons went through the public school system, but for our severely autistic younger son, we also spent tens of thousands of dollars a year on private therapies for many years. Providing extra supports also uses time and emotional energy for complicated logistics.
And how do special needs caregivers manage to earn the extra money for outside therapies? Sometimes we do it at the expense of our physical and mental health. The stress levels are a double-edged sword. Somehow the stress of burning ourselves out with five hours of sleep and no time to restore our minds and bodies feels like less of a burden than the stress of worrying that we’re not doing enough for our child.
The trick is for caregivers to find ways to maintain some sort of mental and physical health while still taking those extra steps to help our loved ones.
Hiking became a saving grace for our family. As our son found his calmer self in uplifting nature environments, we parents regained some peace and positivity through time moving in nature as well. Getting to that point took a remarkable amount of work, but that determination has helped all of us.
Sometimes on a hike we see a little side path and wonder if it’s worth the energy to see what that trail has to offer. When we push ourselves to walk that added mile, we’re usually glad that we did.
Give yourself credit when you find the energy to walk those additional steps and discover unexpected rewards. Keep putting one foot forward!
This week’s Hike Notes, David Hansen Trail-Roy’s Redwoods, introduces a short inner loop trail off the Roy’s Redwoods Loop Trail that features more redwood trees than other parts of this nature preserve.
Click Insights/Hike Update News for inspiring reflections. Browse hikes on the main Hikes page or on the Hike Search by Area page. Check out selected articles and interviews under Media. Click World Walks to see or share favorite family-friendly walks! Stay in touch with Lisa Louis and HikingAutism via Contact. The Links page lists a loose collection of helpful information links.
Check the Home page for the broader background story. If you’re not able to take one of these Northern California hikes, hopefully you can enjoy the photo galleries at the bottom of each hike page! Feel free to share and follow on Facebook at HikingAutism, Twitter at @HikingAutism and Instagram at lisalouis777
New this week:
Hike Notes 188: David Hansen Trail-Roy’s Redwoods
Sharing insights and hiking highlights (Hikes, Hike Search by Area) from the special needs caregiver front in San Francisco.