Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Tell Those Who Say Your Child Can't to "Suck It"

OK, so not the most elegant  blog title I could think of. In fact it pretty much breaks all the rules of etiquette that I try to teach the boys, so we are going to keep this one particular malfeasance just between us. But I want every parent who reads this blog to know that your child can do anything they set their mind to. Well even if they don't set their minds to it, you just need to keep pushing them in the right direction so that they meet their potential.

Today was CM2's last freshman year final exam. He is officially a sophomore in college. Yes, he gets all kinds of accommodations and yes he has a para go with him, but the work and what emanates from his mind is all him. Yes, we have massive fights about studying and doing his work, but he does it and he does it fairly well. No, this does not mean he gets all A's. Honestly I think if he put as much effort into his school work that he does he video games he would get all A's, but you know what sometimes he is also just an 18 year old college kid who really couldn't be bothered.

Sometimes he is simply like his 18 year old neurotypical compatriots who played during spring break instead of studying or who went out partying the weekend before finals instead of studying. So everything that he is or that he does is not simply because of his autism, alot of who he is and how he acts is because he is an adolescent male. You know one of the great unwashed and the rather unkept members of society who can't figure out why if they go to a job interview unshaven, in wrinkled clothes and without a proper resume they can't get a job. Yeah the next generation, the ones we are handing everything over to in a few short decades. Those people.....

Well he is one happy boy right now. By the way so is CM1, who also finished yesterday. CM2 is sitting at his desk, playing on his video games without a care in the world. Later this afternoon, we are going to clean out both boys offices, rather we are going in with gloves, clorox, and fumigation equipment to clean out both of those offices.  I tend not to bother them too much during the semester. I know they have their executive functioning issues and organize their world the way they understand it. I only intervene if I think its getting close to hoarder or health department condemnation status. But this afternoon, I am going in armed with rather large garbage bags.

Honestly it really hasn't been an easy year for CM2. Transitioning into college and learning what was expected of him was something very difficult for him to absorb. In truth he didn't like it, not one bit. Also finding out that his desired major is going to be problematic for him did not make things pleasant either. We are not quite certain how that "major" choice is going to be handled. Hubby and I were thinking that he should probably downgrade his major to a minor and pick something else to study intensively. The only problem is that everything he wants to do revolves around computers, but have you ever heard of a computer scientist who had problems programming? Well that is where we are now and that is the issue we need to address. Not so much that he can't do it, but how to get him to understand how to do it and to absorb the information so he understands it in a way that is comfortable for him. Figuring this little (BIG) glitch out is my project for the summer.

Meanwhile we march into the summer with some kind of plan: CM2 will take a class in July. CM1 will hopefully get some kind of job (fingers crossed) and study for the LSATs. He is scheduled to take the law boards this fall and apply to law school during his senior year. I hope everything goes well. Yes something new to obsess over. Why not, its always something isn't it?

So for a few months it will be calmer and quieter. Not so much rushing about and not so much pressure on the boys. It will be good for them. Honestly I think it will be good for all of us. We all need a break from the stressors now and then too.

But in the meantime, I wanted everyone to remember, that when we began this journey two decades ago, noone but noone would tell us where it would end. In fact the only things they would say is to prepare for the worst. Even when CM1 went to start college four years ago, they gave him (and us) a hard time, until I sic'ed an attorney on them. Tried to bully us into withdrawing him from school in fact. They of course didn't know that they were dealing with autism-warrior-parents and quite frankly, me imparticular, who invokes her inner-bitch.

I do have to say that the college has ended up being one of the boys' biggest supporters and very understanding of who they are, so in the end it really did work out well. But not to forget that I had to "dig my heels in" and the college had to be educated about autism and who the boys are. We had to teach the college that they need to see the student as an individual before they see the disability. Honestly by the time CM2 began his studies, none of the issues we faced with CM1 even existed to talk about. It was assumed that certain supports would be in place and that we would work with the school to make sure that the boys had the best education while respecting everyone else's right to learn too.

As I have said behavior and expectations at college are not lessened for someone on the autism spectrum. They can have supports to meet those requirements, but they must meet them like everyone else who attends post-secondary education. Preparation, understanding and coordination is key. Just like in K-12. So make sure you find a school that is willing to work with you to these ends. They are out there. You just need to look.

So whenever anyone tells you that your child can't, remember YES THEY CAN. If given the right support and accommodations and understanding our children can do anything they want including driving their parents to distraction during their freshman year of college.

Going to wade my way through the boys' offices now...if you don't hear from me in a few days send out a search team.....

Until next time,