Eric and I had been separated since June 2010. Our son, Matthew, is on the autism spectrum, and requires extensive therapy and treatment. Although I am raising him alone, Eric had been paying child support to help with expenses related to Matthew's autism treatment.
Since Eric passed away, I have just recently received my son's survivor benefits. Because Eric had multiple children, the benefits Matthew will receive do not fully cover the expense of his treatment.
Matthew is 6 years old, and these early years are the most critical in the treatment of autism spectrum disorders. He attends occupational therapy two times per week at a cost of $60 per visit. He attends speech therapy two times per week at a cost of $40 per visit. Due to low muscle tone, Matthew attends a fitness class that costs $160 per month. I go to great lengths to make sure Matthew receives these treatments, driving 45 minutes each way to some appointments, and regularly hiring a sitter to drive to appointments that take place during working hours.
I am an elementary shool teacher, working full time from 7:30 am through 4 pm Monday through Friday. Matthew attends public school from 8:45 to 3:45which means I must incur expenses for early morning care and afternoon care.
As a single mother, it is a tremendous struggle to provide my special needs son with the treatment he needs, and also meet our basic needs for food, shelter and transportation. I lost my home in 2010 due to the financial irresponsibility of my husband (I was a stay-at-home mother from 2[phone redacted]), so Matthew and I currently live in my mother's basement until we can get back on our feet.
Matthew's treatment in these early years is my highest priority, and I will do everything I can to make sure he gets the services he needs. I work very hard to support him, but the loss of my husband's financial support has made our struggle feel impossible.
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