When kids want something they tend to really go for it. First they ask, then they ask again, and then they ask more. It doesn’t matter if you’re on the phone or concentrating on something, if they want it you can bet you’ll hear about it.
Meet Michelle and Mijo (Me Ho), and their cat Koko. Mijo is 5 and he is on the autism spectrum. Michelle is a stay-at-home single mother to Mijo. The small family live in government housing and while Michelle is grateful for the lower rent, they don’t feel safe with the drug use that goes on in their neighborhood.
She recently contacted us to tell us about her little boy who has become a bit obsessed with an unusual topic for the typical 5 year old- Tiny Homes! It all started when one day Michelle was watching a video from Pocket Mansions. Mijo came to join her and immediately fell in love with the video of small moveable homes on wheels. From that day forward, little Mijo has spent a lot of time thinking about tiny living and despite being only 5 years old, the young boy is the one who encouraged his mother to do more research into Tiny Houses.
Luckily for Mijo- Michelle doesn’t need much convincing. She believes a Tiny House would allow her family to park in a nice back yard in a safer area which is important for any family and especially one that is more vulnerable like hers.
Mijo is high functioning on the autism spectrum. He attends therapy for his autism twice a week and spends time with his respite provider once a week. Life is not straight-forward for the team of two – for example when Mijo leaves the house he needs to make sure he has his hat, his keys, wallet and cards, and his purse. If he’s rushed he gets very upset. Luckily for him, Michelle is able to bring him to work with her. She works just 2 days a week childminding. When she goes out, Michelle carries business cards with her that explain Mijo has autism. Since Mijo will throw himself on the ground, yell and cry, and sometimes even swear. The card explains that Mijo does this for a reaction and asks the holder of the card to please not give him attention. Mijo does his best to behave but it’s not always easy and he does have meltdowns. But mostly, he’s very friendly, social, talkative and wants to learn about everything.
Each individual with autism is unique. Once Mijo has an interest in something new, it’s all he can think about. Needless to say, Mijo has become obsessed with everything tiny.
“He keeps asking me- when our Tiny House will arrive? I’ve been catching him on the internet looking for “Tiny House kids” or “Tiny House King size bed” and “Tiny House pets”. He can’t really read yet, but he can remember what he’s seen me typing into YouTube.
We’re interested in the Tiny House lifestyle for many reasons. Besides being super cute, they leave a smaller footprint and are more energy efficient saving me money on utilities. As a frugal mom this is important to me. Having a tiny house would make our life together so much more simple and manageable”
Mijo (age 5) has autism and dreams of living in a Tiny House with his mom who shares
the dream of a safe and healthy life for the small family.
Help Make a Dream Come True
Michelle is a goal setter and has decided to start a Tiny House Fund so that she can have enough by the end of 2016 to start building her very own tiny house, or buy one that will suit their needs.
Building a tiny house would be a great project for mother and son especially because Mijo loves to be with Michelle. He loves to be close and cuddle which is the opposite of many children on the autism spectrum. Sometimes, though, Michelle feels overwhelmed with how close Mijo needs to be and she craves space to breathe, and some peace and quiet. Mijo also loves to chat. “Some days he doesn’t stop chatting for even 5 minutes. Those days are difficult for me,” shares Michelle.
It’s evident that Michelle struggles as a single mom raising a young child on the autism spectrum. She tells Mijo he has autism, a mental condition that 1 in 68 children in Canada are currently diagnosed with, but he doesn’t believe her. He yells at her when she tries to talk to him about it.
Michelle worries about how Mijo’s future will be different from that of other children.
“He’s very smart and can already read and loves to write and learn new words to spell. He’s not very mature though compared to other kids his age. Conversations with him aren’t always easy because he gets distracted easily and then just chit chats about nonsense. So for now he does kind of stand out from the other kids,” says Michelle. Though she hopes this will change- “Right now he’s ‘the weird kid’. I have faith though that he will grow out of this phase and mature and be able to hold real conversations. I think he will need a really good routine to follow and learn to self regulate more, which we are working on.”
And in the meantime they have their dream of a tiny house to think about.
pictured here is the Kasl Tiny House, (family of 4)
How You Can Help – Michelle’s GoFund Me Campaign
Michelle plans to do what she can to keep costs down, including donating childcare, house cleaning, or house sitting services to anyone in the Greater Victoria area in exchange for materials or help with the tiny house build.
Ideally, Michelle would love to have a beautiful space in the backyard of a friendly family with little ones close to Mijo’s age. She doesn’t drive, so somewhere on a good bus route and within walking distance of a grocery store is a must.
If you would like to help Michelle and Mijo, please consider donating to their GoFundMe Campaign. GoFundMe is a crowdfunding platform that allows people or groups to raise money for anything from sports teams to challenging circumstances. Michelle and Mijo have raised $733 through GoFundMe at the time this article was posted. It’s a long way from their $40k goal but they remain optimistic. Your support is extremely appreciated and any donation would make a huge impact. Please feel free to share Michelle and Mijo’s dream with your friends who are interested.
For other ways to help, visit: Mijos Loco Ladder, a small business started by Michelle.
Help Mijo Get his Tiny House- Everything Helps!