Sunday, July 20, 2008

Autistic Parents Polling Results

The results are in from the last two polls that we've had here. Actually the first poll has been done for over a month now but I'm just getting to it. The first poll is:

Parents of Autistic Children Only: How do you support your family?

1. Dad works regular job <107> (82%)

2. Mom works regular job <49> (37%)

3. Receive gov't help (SSI, etc) <38> (29%)

4. Relatives give cash regularly <7> (5%)

5. Relatives give cash sometimes <15> (11%)

6. Mom or Dad work 2nd job <13> (10%)

7. Doing eBay sales <7> (5%)

8. Doing direct sales (i.e. MLM) <5> (3%)

9. Selling something else (i.e. t-shirts) <4> (3%)

10.Would like to belong to 'Parents Group' to buy and sell with each other <15> (11%)

Total votes: 130

Here's how I fit into the poll. I used to work a regular job until last October. I drove a 17 ton dump truck for a excavation company. I had this job for about a year and a half and referred to it as the job where 'I didn't have to think', I just worked. This is the job I had during all of our struggles with the state of Utah. The owner was very understanding about our situation, but toward the end he just needed someone that could keep the truck running 10-12 hrs a day. That didn't work very well with me needing to help Robin and all of the other needs of the children. In case you didn't hear about our 'state problems' from past blogs or media articles, this is where we had the children taken away for 2 weeks, having our lives turned upside down to comply with the state juvenile court system, etc. for 11 months.

The "thinking" job I had before that, I worked as a 'lease banker' for a capital equipment leasing company. I was there just 6 months when we found out about Sarah being classic Autistic. I was worthless as an employee most of the time after that and when my father died that December it kind of pushed me over the edge of despair. I asked my boss, one of the VP's, if I could adjust my work load or anything else to keep the job and continue to provide for my family. He was aware of our newly discovered Autism situation as I had let him know months before (initial school evaluation). But, he said that he would 'accept' my resignation. I had not offered it, but I found out (later) that he had told his boss, the president, that I had quit. I could have fought it to get unemployment I guess, but I didn't have it in me at the time.

So when the dump truck job was coming to an end I looked for something else and did do a brief stint of 3-4 weeks, but the hours were messing up the family life again. So I'm where I'm at today. We manage by doing 3, 5, 8 and 9.

From the results it looks like it's kinda tough for the families out there. Nearly 40% the Dad and Mom are working. Then 3 of 10 families don't earn all that much and qualify for SSI. Not a lot of financial support from relatives with barely 1 of 10 getting some money. Then 10% have one parent working two jobs. This has got to make it hard on the child(ren) who already have difficulty forming relationships, where one of the parents are hardly at home. Very sad. A ray of hope is that some are looking beyond the traditional job and being some what of entrepreneurs. Unfortunately, it's less then 5% in 3 different areas.

The last question tells me that we have too many 'lone rangers' out there. We should help each other so that if one of our group can provide a service or product that we could use... use them. Of course family members would be first in this situation, but if they don't... let's use one another.

Next poll: How many Autistic children do you have?

1. 1 <67> (61%)

2. 2 <22> (20%)

3. 3 <7> (6%)

4. 4 <5> (4%)

5. 5 <1> (0%)

6. 6 <4> (3%) (Note: The actual vote total was: <3>)

7. A mix of both <25> (22%)

8. Would like to work from home if the money was right <25> (22%)

Total votes: 109

To explain question #6: One day while looking at this blog the poll on my screen showed that I had not voted. I assumed that some sort of glitch had occurred and voted as having 6 ASD children. Now it added my original vote and this new one and I was not able to fix it.

We had heard there are other families that may have had as many as us, but really did not KNOW. With this poll it looks like there are two other families just like us, unless someone out there had a glitch or a slip of the mouse. However, if there truly is more like us we (my wife and I) would like to know you. Please write to us at our email: I promise to not reveal to ANYONE here on this blog, email or ANYWHERE who you are if that is your desire.

Now I know why so many other Autistic parents have told us that: (1) we inspire them (2) give them hope (3) wonder how we can do it (4) etc. It appears that 81% of the families have just 1 or 2 Autistic children. Now let's not get any feathers ruffled out there. We know that even 1 Autistic child is a tough job... we know. But, when we have 6, 1 to 2 to us is 'just'.

Please comment, so we know you are alive. These polls prove that at least 130 couples or parents visit here monthly.



Mom26children said...

Hi John and Robin,
We live in a country where we are lucky enough to make money. If we have the right idea and the right marketing, anyone in the US can become a millionaire.
You cannot say that about many other countries.
That being said, my family had 6 children. 5 of them happen to fall in the Autism Spectrum. We get funding through sources we qualify for. It is not a windfall, but it helps.
I work part-time and my husband has a 40-hour full-time job and a 12 to 16 hour part-time job per week.
I take care of the home and he takes care of bringing me the paychecks.
I make sure everyone eats 3 home-cooked meals a day. I keep our home as clean as I can and try to keep up with the ever-growing laundry.

I too, remember when we had only 1 child with was very hard then. I begrudge no family for that.

Right now, we are just trying to stay cool in this 103F heat.


Anonymous said...

We have 7 children under age 9,all singles,one each year (almost.) We are 31 and 32 (my husband and I.) Though *only 3* of ours are diagnosed ASD (classic, HFetc) ALL have IEP's and processing disorders, severe delays in many areas despite our stable and loving home (devout Catholic Christians.) Our family is, with all due respect,ignorant and do not believe our kids are autistic.(They trust their own ideas over the center at Cleveland Clinic, I suppose..) I cannot believe I found this blog.Our lives are so "other" it is impossible to talk to anyone transparently.Contrary to our hopes, the older 3 are getting far worse than better as they age.The last 3 are our "kind-of-normal" and "little bit normal" (lol) They are also those I did not vaccinate at all.I would very very much like to talk to you,and will be up all night reading this blog.I know this is an old say the least-but I hope someone is still out there listening.