Our world has been one of ceaseless transitions for 27 years. It was a very long time coming, but I finally reached an interesting point of acceptance about the “transition” into adulthood. Is that transition planning very different from all of the others we have encountered and will encounter in the future? Yes. The differences come from personal expectations, from school systems, from unwavering belief in our children, and from dreams that we can change the world.
The truth about transition planning from high school to the ‘real world’ is that it is a harsh reality. I believe the world is not ready for the huge population of autistic adults that are coming. I have come to believe that before the world can be ready, parents have to be ready. Facing the harsh reality kind of ready. Parents need to accept that their adult may never ‘fit in’ to mainstream, may never be able to have a job, and in our case, not even find an appropriate placement at an adult day center. Families need to plan ahead for that scenario. That is what I consider worse case scenario for us and that is where we have found ourselves. This worse case scenario will not be what all families have to deal with. My point is that we all need to be prepared for that. Then, anything else is a bonus, a success!
I was not prepared for that. I had expectations. I had plans. I was counting on there being something. Jess no more ‘fit in’ the last two adult classrooms she was in this past fall than she did the first classes in elementary school. Well dang, it only took me 27 years to realize that she doesn’t ‘fit in’ anywhere except with family and friends. Things really have not changed much in 20 years. Having a dual diagnosis complicates things, but in general, the public still doesn’t have a good understanding of what is autism spectrum disorder. Or, maybe they do and they are just not ready to accommodate it. So what is my interesting point of acceptance? It’s interesting because I have accepted that there is not something. I have accepted that I tried everything and nothing has worked. I have accepted this is what it is. This is our life. Everyday. It’s our version of normal. Nothing special, nothing grand, not changing the world or saving the world. This time, I am leaving that for someone else.
Whew, what a relief!