Via blog, my goal has been and still is to share an awareness of everyday life with an adult child with Autism. It is never time to stop teaching. Learning life skills should always be ongoing. Although it may seem like certain skills will never be mastered, don’t give up. My Jess, at age 29, is still making progress.
Pretty soon, there is going to be a population explosion of adult children with autism. Maybe something I write about will provide insight that could help others interact with autistic people in the future. Maybe some people will understand better why I am weird, or why I put myself in a shell for so long. Hopefully, I will sometimes entertain a little with funny Jess tales, and just maybe some stories I share will help other families in ways that I will never know.
To understand the big picture in present time, I have felt it is extremely important to describe the road we traveled to get where we are now.
Jessica went to middle school in 1999. Remember what other big event was in 1999? All the dreaded Y2K hype? Do you remember where you were December 31, 1999, wondering what tomorrow would bring? I remember vividly because that very day, I felt as if life as I knew it had ended forever. I was to be forever handcuffed to a new responsibility that, quite honestly, no one would want. Overwhelmed, I did not see how in the world I would ever be able to lead a normal life again.
On December 31, 1999, Jessica started her period.
Whhaaat?!!! Am I really going to talk about this? Yes, I am.
It was like something came down and sucked my insides out. I was nearly catatonic for a couple of days. Did it end up being that bad? In the long run – No.
Inconvenient? Yes. Unpleasant? Yes. The end of my world? Of course not. Just like Y2K, it was not really that big of a deal. Or, at least not that I remember now.
For many years, I (along with Grandmothers and Parapros, bless their hearts) managed that scene for Jess. It was, in fact, one of many obstacles to Jessica gaining independence. Imagine trying to manage the hygiene issues while being blind, not to mention also having fine-motor skill issues and autism.
That responsibility was not mine forever, though. With lots of time, practice, patience and trial and error, managing her period became primarily Jessica’s responsibility. Much to my surprise, she developed an amazing level of independence with that personal life skill.
‘Period Stuff’ Sounds a Whole Lot Better
Ok guys (and some gals,) if you are brave enough to still be reading, maybe the following is not TMI. When Jess heard that it was blood, she freaked. So, for many a year, we referred to it as “period stuff.” (Just typing that makes me laugh out loud. How funny!) I can still hear the call from afar, “Mama, I got period stuff on my panties.”
Ahh, the warm and fuzzy memories… Oh, wait, that might have just been a few weeks ago when we were at Disney.
Yes, at Disney; and, thankfully it did not ruin our trip. As a matter of fact it had almost no impact at all. It has not been that long ago that I would have been sure the effort of a Disney trip would not be worth it while Jess was on her period.
We’ve come a long way, baby.
It just goes to show that it most certainly was not the end of the world in 1999. Life moved on and we adjusted with it. The pubescent transition was just that – another transition. We made it through just fine, and it may be the learned life skill that I’m most thankful for.
Life skills, always taught, ever emerging in importance!
NEXT: Wandering Jess