LIMA — Betsy agreed to raise a friend’s child when he was just two days old.
Seven years later, Betsy (not her real name) is struggling to find work that would allow her to be home with the boy, who has been diagnosed with autism and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), after she was laid off from her job of five years.
“A child with autism and ADHD has to be on a schedule,” Betsy said. “You can’t bounce around and change that. If you do, it disrupts them completely.”
At 7 years old, the boy is more like a 4-year-old child: He often puts toys in his mouth and runs into walls when he’s excited, two habits that require the close supervision of Betsy.
But the abundance of now-hiring signs offers little solace to Betsy, who once knew that she would be off work in time to pick up her son from school and that she wouldn’t be called in to work on weekends or afternoons.
Leaving the boy home alone is not an option, and neither is a constantly changing schedule that would pull Betsy away from her son, who becomes stressed and exhibits even more behavioral issues when his routine is disrupted.
“You can only work so many hours in a day because of his needs,” Betsy said.
She has yet to find another employer as flexible as her last, and the holidays are quickly approaching.
Betsy has few requests for herself, but toy trucks of all kinds—firetrucks, semitrucks, utility trucks and other vehicles—would make an ideal Christmas gift for her boy.