Janessa is a mother of three amazing children and a reluctant pet owner to an orange fluffy cat and a pretty adorable white bunny.
Several years ago her oldest son was diagnosed with Autism. At the time, she and her husband did everything they were told to do. They enlisted therapists, got on long wait lists and quietly died inside as each day became more stressful than the next. Sensory meltdowns could last over an hour, doors were punched and kicked so hard that the hinges gave way, self harm was happening and No One was talking about it. Each time another parent who had a child on the spectrum was approached – they all had the same response ‘me too, but we don’t know who to talk to about it’. Each service that was offered was extremely valuable and educational but was led by a person that did not have a personal connection to Autism and talking about the emotions to a person who had book knowledge only was not just daunting but felt like a risk – if they haven’t sat in a parking lot for 45 minutes because their child was in full meltdown mode and it wasn’t safe to drive …. how could they POSSIBLY understand?! And as she reached out to more and more parents who were also struggling, it became apparent that more people were finding it hard to find the joy in their children and their parenting as each day seemed to be harder than the last.
Several years ago they decided to scrap the idea of traditional parenting. School wasn’t working, the family was seperated as her husband was travelling for work, stress was piling on and again – no one was willing to talk, to be honest about the joys but also the hardships.
So they picked up and started travelling with her husband. Through their travels and out of neccessity they created a portable medical binder and a complimenting file box for the more permanent paperwork. She perfected a 1 page profile for each of her children, they became creative in writing social stories, coming up with easy-to-use travel ideas and creative solutions to do while they waited their turn for therapy.
The one thing that became glaringly obvious was this: that no matter where you are in this world you cannot do it alone. You cannot be a great parent if you aren’t honest about the moments we all experience, and by accepting those moments, we allow space in our lives to see the joy.
This is what One Red Zebra is about. Customizing specific services for you to help you on your journey in the world of autism, but more importantly – giving you a positive connection. An honest look into lives of parents who have a child on the spectrum, and hopefully by establishing that openness, we can create a community of support and positivity, all while increasing our knowledge and joy in our families.