This is a rampant problem with both the disabled and the non disabled parents. There is shaming on both sides. People are made to feel guilty for participating in a disability program that is funded by the government. In the United States, it is SSI. I have been on the receiving end of this as well. I lost a long time friend over this issue. Its for the best but I will tell my story.
Why I Applied
My children receive social security. I am not ashamed of it. Three of them receive SSI disability and 2 receive survivors benefits (two of my husbands siblings receive this because they are not disabled and their father had passed away about 5 years ago.). I applied for the program so my children would have decent insurance to cover different expenses.
For example: The day after A received his first check, he had Dexcom covered by medicaid. He needed an iPod touch to transmit his readings home. Because he received this check, we were able to buy it for him. This was to keep him safe when he is at school. We would get notified and we could call the school to make sure he was being tended to. We have a great relationship with the school and they take excellent care of him.
My friend we will call Je and I have been friends since we were kids. We went to camp together. I was able to play on her Super Nintendo because we were not allowed to have it at home. I watched different movies I wasn’t allowed to. I had a lot of fun there. I often spent more time than at my own home. It was my escape.
After I went away to school, we lost contact. After we moved to Florida, I signed up for Facebook and we reconnected. She was convinced that vets were a scam so I helped her as much as I could with her dog’s stomach issues. She said I saved him but it was due to my veterinary knowledge.
We were in contact again for a while. We talked a lot. It was like we were never apart. It was great. I made one post on my person page. This was way before I started my Facebook page.
The post said “Parents of Autistic Parents are Not Super Parents, they are just parents who have to take care of their children the best way they can.” Keep in mind Je never had children. She never had the experience of a parent. She had not been around another autistic person besides me and we did not know I was autistic at that point in time.
She fought me on this issue. I had to go to work, so I did. When I came home I found a slew of comments stating that I use my kids for their money. I don’t work, etc. A few of my advocate friends were trying to educate her. The last comment she left was that she never wanted to speak to me again and felt sorry for my children because I was using them for their money. This was 3 weeks after we got custody of J, A and D. This felt like a knife through my heart. I thought she knew me better than that. She knew of my fertility struggle.
I was not home to tell people to go easy on her because I was working. I had a full day of pets that day. My business was starting to do well. I had 7 kids at the time. This was before B went to go live with her mom.
My children do not want for anything. If they need something, they get it. If its something large that they want, I make sure they appreciate it. I do not want them to be spoiled. If she came back and wanted to speak to me again, I would not do it. She really hurt me when she acted the way she did.
Almost everything I personally own comes from a thrift store or from someone giving it away for free online. I feel guilty about buying anything for myself even though I earn a living in addition to receiving benefits for my children. When it was time to buy different cars, we went electric to save money so more could be spent on the children.
Moral of this story, never feel guilty about receiving help for your children or yourself. These programs exist for a reason and they are being funded whether or not you benefit from them. If you read this , Je, do not make contact. I already said goodbye to you a long time ago and I will not allow myself to be hurt again.