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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.
Sarah has a guest blog featured on Clergy Stuff – An Exceptional People. An Exceptional People is a blog about people with special needs in the church, and we encourage you to browse the rest of their content! Unusual Behavior is Usual – By Sarah Bridges, Ph.D., M.B.A. Clergy Stuff – An Exceptional People
Summers in the country required personal initiative since we lived miles away from the interesting parts of civilization. When I woke one morning, having a fruit stand wasn’t the first thing that came to mind. But I was bored, and I made the mistake of telling my father there was nothing to do. “Why don’t . . . Continue Reading
By Dr. Sarah Bridges, Ph.D. In the California commune where I grew up, Saturday was “work day”. I dreaded the start—standing outside our community center at 8:00 A.M. with our misty breath and frozen fingers. Normal kids watched cartoons or slept late, and probably never shoveled manure at the crack of dawn. But we were . . . Continue Reading
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
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.
Comparing yourself to other people is a downer. Research shows that it lowers happiness, and it’s easy to see why: We tend to measure our worst compared to everyone else’s … Continue Reading about Stop Keeping Score