I urge all parents of children on the Spectrum to attend any and all meetings regarding ‘transitioning‘; there are legal aspects to be addressed including but not limited to guardianship, Medicaid coverage, supported living environments, work coaches and employment. It is always better to understand better what unknown you will face, than it is to face the unknown unaware. -Ed.
(WXYZ) – The chance of having a child with autism is one in 88 but in the Bourdeau home it was two in seven.
“I never fretted about whether or not I would have another child with autism. I never thought I’d have one,” said Gynnae Bourdeau.
It was 17 years ago that Gynnae brought home little baby Madison. He was quirky and picky but he learned to twalk and talk just like the other kids. Two years later came Grayson.
“He had a lot of issues. So here I have this other child who had very in your face issues, and so Madison was developing, I thought, pretty well besides the quirkiness,” said Gynnae.
It wouldn’t be long before Madison and Grayson would both be diagnosed with autism.
Bordeau remembers, “And I honestly, I have to say, it was devastating to hear it.”
Through the years, Gynnae and her husband spent tens of thousands of dollars in therapy and classes but there were things money couldn’t fix.
The family never went out for dinner and public playgrounds were off limits. This was all to avoid the vicious stares and comments from strangers.
“Yeah whenever I meet someone new at school, I feel strange about it when I meet someone that’s new,” said Grayson.
Their mom says autism has its graces, the boys know they’re different but aren’t sad about it.
“I felt different, yeah,” said Madison.
But her heart went numb when she filled out a school survey.
“One of the questions is truly is how many friends do you have? And I had to put zero. I mean, even as their mother, it was so sobering for me to say it and to actually have to put it on paper. I’ve always known it, but to have to share it… no one should have no friend,” remembers Gynnae.
With the brothers now in high school, Gynnae’s little boys are on the verge of becoming men.
She says, “It’s been a big transition for me as their mother to move from caregiver because they were young and needy for so long, now I’m trying to help them get out, have a life of their own.”
With autism there is no playbook that’s why Gynnae says when it comes to the next level, she doesn’t have any expectations.
This is why Madison, who does archery, will soon start driver’s training.
These brothers overcome obstacles by not letting their fear get in the way.
“By, um, controlling our fears in us then you’ll never be embarrassed,” said Grayson. “I make the best of what comes my way, really,” followed Madison.
What’s to come is unknown. “It’s been an interesting life being their mother, but I’m sad for them that I have to worry about their care for the rest of their life. And I’m sorry that I won’t live forever so that I can make sure they aren’t abused or mistreated or homeless one day,” said Gynnae.
As the boys enter adulthood, what will they do? Who will take care of them? How will they survive?
Gynnae reflects, “I don’t know why, and I don’t know what or how, but we’ve loved being their parents.”
Perhaps that’s the only answer that matters.