Interview: 4 Ingredients Every Marriage Should Have When Raising a Child with Autism

BY: - 5 Nov '13 | Marriage

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It was a pleasure to interview Chris Superville and Shanté Nicole Harris-Superville to discuss autism and marriage. We rarely get to hear about the marriages that are working for autism families. I know some married couples raising children on the spectrum and I know single parents doing the same. It can have its challenges either way. Yet, all of these families are doing their best for their children.

Chris Superville and Shanté Nicole Harris-Superville

Chris Superville and Shanté Nicole Harris-Superville and their son Dylan.

BMWK: How old was your child when he was diagnosed with autism? How old is your child now?

Shanté: Dylan was two when he was diagnosed. He is seven-years old now.

BMWK: Shanté: How old was Dylan when you started dating Chris?

Shanté: Dylan was four-years old when Chris and I began dating.

BMWK: Chris: What was your reaction when you learned that Dylan was on the autism spectrum?

Chris: It was the first time I’d ever heard of the condition. Due to this being my first encounter, it only peaked my curiosity and created a desire to learn about it.

BMWK: Shanté: How did Chris’s reaction impact your relationship?

Shanté: Because he doesn’t have any children, I was skeptical about how he would handle raising a child, let alone, my child with special needs. He accepted him as his own, and accepted the challenge of taking care of him. This definitely grew our relationship stronger.

BMWK: How did you both work through the initial adjustments to make your marriage work?

Shanté: We pretty much played “Follow the Leader.” Chris observed how I handled Dylan and he imitated my actions as closely as possible.

BMWK: What roles have you both assumed in your family when it comes to caring for your son?

Shanté: We assume equal roles. This helps because we both lead extremely busy lives, so sharing responsibilities alleviates many situations that could turn stressful really quickly.

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About the author

Kpana Kpoto wrote 38 articles on this blog.

Kpana Kpoto, also known as Miz Kp, is a special needs advocate and blogger. She provides resources and support for autism parents through her blog, Sailing Autistic Seas and her support group, Bronx Parents Autism Support Circle. Kpana lives in New York City with her husband and only child, six-year old "Angel" who is conquering autism one milestone at a time.

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11 WordPress comments on “Interview: 4 Ingredients Every Marriage Should Have When Raising a Child with Autism

  1. Nellie

    What a wonderful article!!! I have two on the spectrum and have been married for 16 years so I know the challenges. Ms. Kpoto hit it right on the head with these four. For us, humor has been our saving grace! We could have a difficult moment with one or both of our kids and hubby will make a joke, we’ll erupt in laughter, kids included, and it makes it all better.

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Couples: 4 Super Practical Tips to Give Your Monthly Budget a Boost

BY: - 5 Nov '13 | Marriage

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Getting into shape financially is no different than getting into shape physically. They both require hard work, discipline and a plan. The first step in that plan is to create a budget. Establishing a budget doesn’t have to be a chore or drudgery. Instead, it can be a great opportunity to work together with your spouse to create a budget that is effective, creative and meets your needs.

As a one income family, these are some practical tips my husband and I employ to stay on top of our finances and give our budget some breathing room.

Eat Out, But Eat Less

Our biggest guilty pleasure as a couple has always been eating out. That was until I viewed a bank statement and added up how much money we were spending at restaurants, coffee shops and fast food.  I was embarrassed by the amount! It was time to figure out a way to still enjoy eating out, but in a way that made sense financially.

The solution was to set a limit of $20 – $30 total for the both of us (and our toddler) whenever we go out to eat (reduced to 1-2 times a month). This means cutting the appetizers, ordering water or refillable fountain drinks and skipping dessert.  We also like to take advantage of the popular “2 for $20” deals many restaurant chains offer.  It was an adjustment at first, but adhering to the limit has become second nature to us now and we love the challenge of finding new places to eat in our area that have delicious and affordable menu items. By modifying this behavior we save over $100 a month, without having to give it up entirely.

Get on the DIY Train

I’ve never been a do-it-yourself kind of woman. In an effort to save money, however, I started looking into things I was outsourcing that I could do myself. I loved getting a monthly manicure and pedicure at the nail salon, but decided that $30 could be better served elsewhere. Armed with a decent bottle of nail polish and other basic supplies, I get the job done at home and keep that money in my pocket. I also save a great deal of money (anywhere from $50-$70 per salon visit) by doing my own hair. I still like to indulge in those things – but just on occasion now, instead of monthly.

Get Creative with Gifts

While it’s tempting to buy a gift for every birthday, wedding, or special holiday, doing so can quietly eat away at your budget throughout the year. Use gift giving occasions as a way to foster your creative skills and start making gifts like scarves or body butters. Join Pinterest and you’ll never run out of ideas! If making gifts doesn’t work for you, be sure to set a limit for the amount you plan to spend for each gift and stick to it. This method works for us and if things are really tight, we may skip a gift altogether and send a card; with a handwritten note, of course. There are plenty of ways to give thoughtfully without going broke!

Cut the (Cable) Cord

According to the Wall Street Journal, the average monthly cost for cable is $128. We reduced that amount dramatically by only ordering internet service through our local provider and signing up for subscription services such as Netflix and Roku. By doing this, we still are able to watch the programs and movies we love without the hefty price tag of cable. Additionally, most shows are available online to watch the day after it airs, so we never miss out!

Whichever method you chose, keep track of how much money you saved each month. Even if it’s only $20, take those savings and transfer them to a separate account that is not linked to your debit card, to pay down any debt you may have, build an emergency fund, or vacation planning.

These are very practical steps to that have helped my spouse and I give our monthly budget a boost. Every household is different, so be sure to make adjustments according to your family size and income. Always remember that small changes now can yield big results later!

Tell us, BMWK family: what practical ways do you use to make budgeting easier and stay in shape financially?

About the author

Amber Wright wrote 39 articles on this blog.

Amber is a Communication Coach and Consultant that wants to help you learn how to say it right – from the boardroom to the bedroom! Visit her website, www.talktoamber.com, to find fun and insightful information on how to improve your communication skills and overall quality of life.

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