A dear friend just shared this link with me. We both have teenage boys roughly the same age [15-16] and we’ve known each other since pre-school. It seems almost impossible that our boys are now in high school, as I thought it was just a year or two ago when they were racing around the playground on scooters. Time does fly, doesn’t it?
I remember different landmarks of my angst along the way. The angst of raising my child; the angst of my child who is on the autism spectrum. For me, the circuitous path went this way: The first big fright was the transition from pre-school to public school kindergarten. But it was seamless for my son–no hiccups. Then came Outdoor Education in 5th grade. The week away from home in the mountains. And he was to fly solo–no paraeducator, no mom, no nothing. Just him, his schoolmates, teachers and camp staff. I wanted him to go, but I worried the school wouldn’t allow it. Plus, he eats GFCF, so that would make it prohibitive. That’s why I started laying the groundwork for this when he was in 3rd grade. [Yes, I like to plan ahead!] Come to find out the cook in the camp’s kitchen had a grandson with the exact same dietary restrictions, so she was more than happy to help me. [Huge sigh of relief comes in here.] She sent me the menu for the week and I simply marked which foods he could eat. And I supplied the rest. This dear woman offered to prepare the GFCF food I provided. That sure took a load off my mind. So my kid went off to camp with a suitcase and two large coolers of food! What a sight. He had a great time and it was seamless for my son–no hiccups.
Next along the path of transitions for my son was moving to middle school. I guess we complicated matters further by also moving to a new home in a different school zone, but my son didn’t mind. “I’ll make new friends, mom.” Again, it was seamless for my son–no hiccups.
Three quick years and then he’s in high school. Wait! Slow down! Again they told us to prepare for some rocky times because such transitions aren’t easy for our kids. But it was seamless for my son–no hiccups.
Last year I began preparing for his college, but I don’t know if I can work fast enough. I’m researching colleges and programs that can accommodate students with Asperger’s and High-Functioning Autism. And that also brings up the issue of housing.
Listen, I want the most, the best for my son. I want him to live on his own and benefit from all that that teaches him. I want him to be independent. But I’m also his mom. And I worry. [My eyes are getting misty at this point.] Most of all, I want it to be seamless for my son–no hiccups.
That’s why all along the way I’ve been teaching him independent living skills. He thinks of them as chores or jobs but in reality they are life lessons. Folding the towels. Emptying the dishwasher. Setting/clearing the table. Food shopping. Planning/cooking Sunday dinner. Managing time. And more.
So finally, the reason for this post is to share this housing link with you. http://capecodvillage.org/ I’m adding it to my list. Let’s hope all your transitions are seamless, too! Thank you, Susie, for sharing.