So, I made it through my youngest daughter's birthday. The last birthday of the teen years , my third time around. Now what? Of course, the turning of the last of the teen years means something so different with our children on the spectrum.
We have raised them to this point of chronological age, but what does that actually mean in the Autism arena? It is complex to be sure. They have learned a level of independence, at the slow release of our protection, to some degree but not completely.
They have mastered skills, and can function on so many platforms, and we are proud of that, but it can be deceptive. There is for most, no driver's license. There will be Proms, but not the way of their general education peers. There will be no negotiations on sleep limits. In so many ways, we keep our children on the spectrum in a child's world, when in fact that is not fair.
I take responsibility for the next step, even though, it will be un-chartered territory for me as well. I assume the competency of my child that is no longer a child but a young lady.
I will challenge myself, and you if your are in this place to take each day, and allow it to expand for our children into this new adult environment. Obviously, there are barriers that we have to work through for our children and ourselves, but we must try to shape their path and their place in the world like all other young adults.
Truthfully, it is as intimidating for me, and probably most parents, as it is for our kids. For more years than most, we have been the sole protectors of our children, holding hands much longer than expected. Letting go is beyond reasonable, and the preparation for our kids is cumbersome. Yet, they need us to allow them to grow in their own way, and develop their interests, and define an adult life. More to come on this subject in the future, as we together charter these new waters.