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Living with Autism
To say that autism is a life-changing diagnosis may just qualify as the understatement of the year. In one strange way, it comes as a relief. The challenges your loved deals with, from repetitive behavior to cognitive functioning to physical delays, finally have a name: autism. There’s a word to describe the reality that you and your family live with every day. At the same time, the diagnosis can throw you into a panic as it initially did for me. You envision a life of limitations and grieve the loss of the person you hoped and thought your child would become.
The Philosophy of Free-Range Lives
My hope for this blog is to impart to you the idea that you don’t have to accept the limitations society places on people with autism. Free-range doesn’t mean living a life with no structure where everyone does exactly as he or she pleases. Instead, it’s a frame of mind. It allows you to metaphorically remove the cages others would place around your child and family and embrace reality just as it is. I think you will find this leads to greater health and happiness for the entire family.
Acceptance Doesn’t Eliminate the Challenges of Autism
I can say with certainty that adapting a free-range way of thinking will change your life for the better. What it won’t do is take away the everyday challenges for the person with autism and the family that loves and lives with him or her. There’s still endless IEP meetings. There’s sensory overload and meltdowns. There’s accidental injuries and daily stress and disagreements that never seem to resolve.
We will get through these challenges together. I invite you into our family’s life through this blog. You will get to know Porter and will hopefully nod in understanding as only the families of those with autism can do. Please sign up below to join our mailing list and to receive notification when we publish new content.
By Noah Bridges Screams of “call 911!” fill the air at our local community center pool. I float gently with only my eyes above water watching the blood gush from my brother Porter’s head. The water muffles his wailing enough to make it indistinguishable from the cries of distraught onlookers. The Grand Mal seizure would . . . Continue Reading
Porter strolls past the crowd stark naked. The woman near me steps backward. She wears a tee shirt that reads, “Live, Love, Tolerate.” She looks hostile. Someone gasps. It’s obvious the other mothers wonder how this pool party was marketed. “Back to the bathroom,” I say loudly. I pick up Porter, and he slips out . . . Continue Reading
An abundance of autism support and resources exist for families who have a child younger than age 18 on the spectrum. It can be much more difficult to find the help you need once your child is a legal adult, whether he or she lives in your home or not. Advancing Futures for Adults with . . . Continue Reading
My sons had a bad week. Within 48 hours, Porter went to the trauma ward and Sam went to the psychiatric hospital. Porter’s seizure caused a fall against the table. The whack bruised his face and the swelling occurred so fast it seemed to inflate on the way down. I got the call to meet . . . Continue Reading
Living with autism isn’t easy for anyone. While the person diagnosed with autism struggles the most, being the primary caregiver is often stressful. Relationships with your spouse and other children can suffer as they lack attention. Although it feels unnatural to take care of yourself when your child has such overwhelming needs, it is foundational . . . Continue Reading
Parenting a disabled child is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It’s also the most rewarding. That may sound contradictory, but it’s not – one thing I’ve learned from my son, Porter, is that we grow by embracing our struggles. The lessons taught by Porter also apply to high level corporate clients in my consulting business.
My mission to help others live vibrant, fulfilling, “free-range” lives stems from the lessons I’ve learned from my modern family and our ever-changing story. It’s a busy household of eight – 11, including the dogs – with no shortage of struggles and successes.
To learn more about my journey with my son Porter, visit the book page for my memoir A Bad Reaction or order it here. My blog shares stories of our family and living with Autism, please read it for a dose of hope, and join our community by signing up for the newsletter so you never miss a new post.
My experience with my children, and Porter’s Autism also lead me to write several children’s books.
Want to attend one of my workshops or speaking events? Visit my speaker page for a schedule. I look forward to meeting you in person!
When there is some kind of illness, difficulty, or disability in the family, a default setting is to feel alone. You are not alone. In fact, this experience can be one of the greatest connectors you will ever find. We are a community and I am here for you.
I am a blogger and an author, a psychologist and a speaker. I am a mother with a PhD and an MBA, and I am a recovering alcoholic. At the intersection of all these experiences, I am honest and real and above all, human – I am here for you.