I’ve wanted to write about how we’re doing, but I suppose the fact that I haven’t sort of tells part of the story. So let’s play catch up. There’s so much to talk about, and I’m not sure exactly where to begin.
For starters, the kids are doing pretty well. Gavin’s entering into his adult life, is involved with the Board of DD, getting job training/coaching, received his very first paycheck, and is looking for part-time employment. His goal is to move out of the house this year or next. He’s a little overwhelmed by all the changes, but he’s also excited.
He’s come so far. If you’re a long-time reader, you might remember how much he struggled. It’s incredible to see where he is today. Gavin’s 23 now and has very much outgrown the house. He wants/needs to spread his wings and venture out independently. I don’t quite know what that looks like, but we’re figuring it out, and I couldn’t be prouder of him.
Elliott just turned 17 and will be graduating high school this year. If you’re questioning the math, he’s graduating a full year early. Both he and Emmett are in a charter school that focuses on meeting the requirements to get a high school diploma. They can work at their own pace, so he doubled down on classes and has enough credits to graduate this year.
I have mixed feelings about this for a million reasons, but at the same time, we tried several different schools this year alone, and none was a good fit for either of them. This has been a good fit for them, and while it’s far from perfect, it’s the path I chose based on the circumstances.
Elliott is actively looking for a job and taking laido (pronounced ee-eye-doe). It’s basically Japanese sword fighting, and he loves it. He wants to do something with his photography or in the video game industry. He’s very skilled in modding Minecraft and would like to do more of that. Much like Gavin, I don’t know what these things will look like for him, but he has some direction now, and he’s motivated. I’m proud of how far he’s come, and I look forward to helping him find his way.
Mr. Emmett is doing pretty well, also. He’s 14, and that’s a rough age for a million reasons. As I mentioned, he’s at the same school as Elliott and will likely graduate early as well. I have the same concerns for him as I do for Elliott. That being said, Emmett is very motivated to further his education. He knows what he wants to do, and we’re creating the path for him to do it.
Emmett wants to be a professional baker. He’s been baking up a storm at home and is very talented. You may have seen some of his creations on Facebook. They’ve been going viral, and he’s getting so much positive feedback. He wants to go to culinary school and ultimately open his own bakery. Again, I don’t yet know what that looks like, but I will help him in every possible way I can, the same as I will his brothers. I’m so proud of everything he is.
These kids have been through so much and have overcome so many things. They no longer have contact with their mother, and that’s not likely to change. It’s been almost a year, and proven to be the best thing for them. It wasn’t healthy, and it was only getting worse. They’re finally healing from years of trauma and moving forward with their lives. It’s heartbreaking for me, but without going any further into detail, I know it’s the best thing for them. At the same time, it’s overwhelming for me because I don’t have that parenting partner, which means absolutely everything falls on me. I’m doing my best to make it work, but it’s a work in progress.
It doesn’t escape me that my kids aren’t as far along their path as their neurotypical peers. But here’s the thing. When you have kids on the spectrum, you don’t measure them against their neurotypical peers. You measure progress based on where they were and where they are now. It’s not a competition with other people because they’re not even on the same playing field most of the time.
We have work to do, but they’ve already come so far and show no signs of stopping. They each know what they want out of life, and it’s just a matter of helping them find their path.
As for me, personally, that’s a whole other post. I’m working on it through. Stay tuned.
This post really speaks out to me. And I say this, because I’ve dealt with major setbacks in my life that have held me back behind neurotypical peers that have progressed through education the normal way.
This is due to the fact that I have ASD, and have had to spend my schooling life in a special needs school. I was there until I was in year 12. (6th form) Once I was in college, I was forced to spend my 1st year in a pupil referral unit, as my 6th form teachers claimed I wouldn’t cope on a mainstream course. However, the pupil referral unit was too easy for me, so I immediately went onto a mainstream course the following year.
By this time, I was 18/19, and most of my course peers were 16/17. Although a few of them were older than me & in the same boat as me, in terms of education. Throughout the next 4 years was spent working my way through each course from L1 – L3.2 to get to where I am today. Again, I got mixed with neurotypical peers throughout my L2 & L3 course at college. At the now age of 22yrs, I have no shame to admit that I’m at a stage in life where I’m finally getting to where I want to be. Since my L1 course, I have developed a passion for psychology, but I also developed an ambition to work in the police force.
Just like your 3 boys on the autistic spectrum, I personally like to think that nothing can stop me doing want I want to do in life, regardless of my problems & education situation. I have had to overcome many physical & mental hurdles in the past, which in some cases, felt like the most damn hard thing ever to process, let alone having to actually overcome it. The 1 lesson I have learned to get me where I am now, is not to compare myself with other people. This also includes how far ahead in life they are, in comparison with mine.
What you should know, is that I’ve been a huge fan of your blog, as well as you & your boys for 8yrs now. Plus, I have been reading back to your 2010 – 2014 posts as well. I honestly think you lot are an inspiration to me, because some of your personal family posts relate to my personal life. Hence, I began my own blogging site, but it’s more focused on my passion for psychology.
Love what you guys do, keep up with the inspirational content!
You should feel proud. Seriously, with all they and you have had to deal with, just pride and an enormous sense of accomplishment. (And by “you” I mean “you all”. Good on you all!)
Thank you Bridget. I appreciate it. I’m working through all of this, trying to maintain perspective, and hoping others can learn from my experience.
Those cakes look amazing, laido sounds interesting and that photo is very artistic, and a paycheck is great! Like you, we have a winding path ahead of us for our daughter(s) I suspect but as parents we just do what we can, don’t we?!
I was thinking about you all and it sounds like things are progressing! The fact that all your sons have plans is great. It doesn’t really sound like they are so far behind their NT peers. In fact, for all of them to have things they love and areas to concentrate on for their lives is wonderful. I hope you all continue to do well.
The pandemic really sucked a lot of life out of most of us, and many, many young people were set back a year or 3 because of it. You can be proud of your sons!