In an excerpt from her debut memoir, WordPress.com blogger-turned-author Stephanie Land recalls moving from a homeless shelter to transitional housing with her young daughter.
Up until this point The Tiny House The Spectrum Blog has been almost like a social page for me, like Facebook or Twitter. I’m realizing that we have drawn some attention so I’m feeling like I need to tighten up my rambling a bit.
I want to really break this down, I am writing this blog for 3 major reasons.
1. Autism awareness (Not sugar coated)
2. Poverty education (Not sugar coated
3. Tiny House living (Also not sugar coated)
For us these things go seamlessly hand and hand together. When Noah was 3 his father left us, he was our source of income and I was Noah’s only care taker, he was still in the process of being diagnosed so we had no support services. We went from poor to extreme poverty over night. Noah and I ended up in a shelter, as matter of fact it was a shelter I had volunteered and staffed for several years before Noah was born. Being on the other side and being a consumer in the same shelter was very difficult, but within that I was gifted in really understanding the truth about poverty. Accessing resources was HARD, I found that many had so many rules and regulations and took so long to qualify for that it made my situation feel even more hopeless. On top of that after working as a respected professional for a good part of my adult life suddenly I was perceived as less intelligent, I felt I had been stripped of my integrity and the only thing that had changed about me as a person is now I was impoverished.
After leaving the shelter I was able to get a subsidized apartment a diagnosis and support services for Noah, it seemed that things were looking up. My next step was to get back to work, but here was the problem…going back to work would cause us to loose our subsidy and possible the healthcare that paid for Noah’s services. We would be right back to where we started. I knew I had to figure it out because there was no way on earth I was going to stay on welfare my whole life even if I would be justified in doing so, I did not want those limits on our lives. I was terrified but I did it anyway. That is where the Tiny house came in. I started researching how to build a tiny house, I thought “if I could just do it myself I could build Noah and I house we could afford even if we didn’t have the subsidy AND Noah would always have a place to live even after I’m gone”. My Pinterest was stacked full off tiny house plans, I was obsessed ! I got a job and started squirreling away every dime I could, the following month I lost my subsidy and now had to pay the full price for the apartment we lived in at almost 1,000 dollars a month, it seemed I had gambled and lost after childcare and car repairs, we almost lost the apartment. I began to search for a small one bedroom apartment for Noah and I. In the search for the apartment I saw my Tiny house. I told the owner our story(Jay) and he agreed to finance it for us( God must have whispered in his ear). It made so much more sense to have a house I could pay off and own in 2 short years than to dump money into an apartment that would never be ours or to take out a mortgage on a home that would never be paid off at my age,leaving Noah with nothing. So here we are in our tiny house ! My dream is to help other people in challenging situations achieve the freedom of home ownership as well. I continue to research and take steps into the future in making a tiny house community possible.
Living in a tiny home with a kiddo with autism is not only doable for me but more comfortable for him. He prefers to be tucked in as opposed to flaying around into the universe of a bigger space, he feels safe here. Financial and emotionally this was really the best choice I could have made.
Advocating for my son, for autism, for those living in poverty, for the tiny house movement not only make sense to me but is socially, economically a responsible thing to do. We have smaller footprint for so many reasons even outside the obvious. Advocating for these things is really advocating for ourselves and others in the same boat. So there it is “The Tiny House On The Spectrum Story ” Thank you all for visiting us ! Rebecca and Noah.
Most people understand autism as extraordinary behaviors but really the behaviors are the RESULTS of barriers and overstimulation for a billion different reasons that are specific to each individual. Today I am sharing something very personal because autism has become debatable, cliche and sometimes even cool, some people even choosing to “identify “as being autistic like it’s a choice. So to all those people I’m here to tell you, this is not a game, this is some serious shit right here. To the lady who uncomfortably stared at my son at a community event yesterday , sucked her teeth , rolled her eyes and shot me a disapproving look for daring to bring my son out JUST to apparently make her life miserable. All you had to do is stand there !! Noah wanted be there, he fought to be there, he spun,stimmed and banged , he was determined to stay !! I’m so proud of him because he did it !! It’s 24 hours later and he is still feeling the repercussions from all the stimulation, my son is a warrior! Autism is not a choice, it is a battle…. it is painful. The video you about to see is not my little guy having fun , this is what he looks like when he is trying to process a bunch of new , confusing or stressful information . This is painful for him, not only because of the way he feels but because of the way the world responds to him. He is curious and intelligent so he will bravely continue to seek new experiences even though he understands the pain they cause him and I will always support him in that . So let’s stop with the debates and step up beside him and others in their journey and just be human.
Got a call from school at work yesterday and GUESS WHO had lice AND the elephant man face was BACK !! I can tell you this one thing if you have a child with sensory issues you DON’T want them to have both of these problems at the SAME time. When I went to pick Noah up at school he met me in tears “MOMMY I HAVE FLEAS !” he said, “they are crawling all over me! ” he wailed . So we started with a trip to Walmart to get sour patch kids for the plugged salivary gland and lice shampoo . I did a bunch of pre-teaching on the way home and during dinner, he calmed down and seemed cool with the solution. The trouble started when we started to get ready for the shower, lice shampoo in his hair , naked he dug his heels in just outside the bathroom…
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I’m just going to dive right into things tonight. Addressing the solutions and causes for poverty is something I am very passionate about. I hear so many different point of views and everyone definitely has an opinion about this very heated topic. As someone who has experienced both sides of the coin I can relate to a lot of people. I think something that a lot of people don’t discuss is the working poor. What defines working poor ? I think working poor included a large portion of individuals in our country, a lot of them do not even know they are poor. Here is my definition of working poor : An individual who’s life would quickly come apart if 1. Their car broke down 2. They lost their job 3. They lost childcare 4. Suffered illness 5. Missed work . These people would quickly move from working poor, paycheck to paycheck to homeless and…
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Tonight’s post was all told for me all but the typing as the on going saga continued last night. BOY do I have a story for you !! So if you all were reading last night you know how that went, I really thought I had a reprieve when Noah calmly went up stairs and quickly fell fast to sleep. After I left you guys I wasn’t far behind him comfy in my sweat pants and hoodie. Sniffily and drips and all it was not long before I two was snoring. It was about midnight when I smelt it, I was sleepy and stuffy so I couldn’t figure out exactly what it was that I was smelling, I got up and slid down the ladder from the loft half asleep to investigate, by that time the smell was so strong is was choking me, I stepped outside to see where it was coming…
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Woke up at 3a with lil Mr tapping on my face “drinky please” he said, tap, tap, tap. The cat was standing the front door whining like a high pitch ambulance siren. I stumble down the loft stairs blurry eyed and grumpy, let the cat out, filled up Noah’s sippy cup and climbed up into the loft and layed back down. I rolled over to avoid Noah’s tapping and then noticed it was pouring outside by the sound of the tip, tap,tip, tap on the metal roof that was just a few feet from my head. Try as I might I struggled to get back to sleep, Noah now tapping on my back, the rain seemed to get louder in intensity every seconds as I tossed and turned. Finally I started to drift off then suddenly I was startled by a high pitched MEEEEEEEOOOOW from out side. I thought JEEEESH ! After…
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