An Adult with Autism
I’m reporting on new territory for our child, and for us.
Our son turned eighteen this week.
He’s officially an adult.
Are we freaked out?
Yeah, a little. Boy, it feels like that went by fast.
Are we excited?
Of course. We feel we raised a thoughtful, kind, intelligent young man. We feel he has the skills necessary for this next step. There’s more we can do to help him, but we’ve laid the groundwork.
And, what about our son?
I think he’s looking forward to this next chapter in his life.
Does he have plans?
He wants to go to college.
He’s not sure yet what he wants to study, which means he’s not sure yet what he wants to do with his life.
He is only eighteen, so he has lots of time to figure it out.
Our child is also a cautious person who likes to make sure he likes something before diving in. That trait is half autism, half just our kid. However, that’s not a bad trait. He’s thoughtful that way.
What does the rest of his high school experience look like?
Our child just had his transitional IEP. It went well.
Besides his classes, we discussed his college transition. The school has a great relationship with this college, so we’re confident our son will have the transitional help he will need.
He’s doing well in his classes, and he’s going to take two AP tests.
I’m not sure his school is going to have a prom, so the jury is still out on that traditional senior year event.
And, then there’s graduation. It looks like it’ll be a drive by-type of event, but we’ll know more soon.
Then, there’s this summer, the summer before he goes to college. If it’s possible, we may return to a summer that involves travel, but we’ll wait to see on that, too.
What else is the new adult looking forward to?
Registering to vote is high on his list. He really like politics and wants to be a part of that process.
He has to register for the selective service.
In addition, he’s going to learn how to drive (eventually). He wants to, even though he doesn’t appear to be in any rush (neither are we)!
Becoming an adult is a big deal
It’s been a long time for me, but I do remember that it was a special feeling when you transition from being a child to being an adult.
You lose something, innocence I suppose. You might also feel differently about that protective feeling you got from your parents. You’ve been branching out as a teenager, but now you can (if you want) go out on your own.
How do I feel?
As a parent, I’m always going to protect my child. Now that he’s eighteen, though, a child might start to feel like he/she doesn’t need you anymore.
We hope our child doesn’t quite feel like leaving us. Not yet.
He knows we will always be here for him, whether he’s eight, eighteen, or thirty-eight.
In other words, even though he’s now eighteen, he still feels like ours. Like mine.
You can’t ever take that feeling away from a mother. Or, a father.
We need to find that precious middle ground between the respect for a new adult and that child that is still ours, and will be forever.
In conclusion, we knew this was coming and we’re happy for our child. He will always have autism. We gave him skills to be an adult, yet we will be here for him.
Here’s some more things to be aware of when your child with autism turns eighteen:
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