It seems like just yesterday, my husband and I were discussing with our son’s school whether to hold him back in Kindergarten because he was “not ready” for 1st grade. That was just before he was “identified” for special education. Fast forward 11 years and my son is starting his junior year of high school this August. Time has certainly flown by, but not without daily challenges, trials and tribulations, both at home and at school. At age five, he was diagnosed with ADHD and specific learning disabilities and found eligible for special education and related services. But even with the tremendous help at school and through our outside interventions, he still was plagued by issues that were of concern to my husband, me, the school and our son’s medical care providers. Ultimately, he was diagnosed with Asperger’s. I thought my world would fall apart. How will he ever fit in? We went to doctor after doctor, therapist after therapist. We joined support groups, read books, searched the internet, and worried. We still worry. Will he be an independent adult? As the teenage years come to a close, we worry more, not less. Have we done all we could do? Have we helped him prepare for life, independent of us?
He is doing very well….most of the time. He is full-inclusion at school, has friends, is successful for the most part in school, and has ambitions. In fact, he has the same ambitions as a typical teenager, including his twin. And maybe that adds to our worry. But don’t get me wrong, we worry as well about our “typical” son. I understand from my mom, the worrying never ends.
Time goes by very quickly and you want your children to be prepared for independence. Do all you can to help them accomplish that. We parents know that our children with special needs have to work that much harder than their typical peers. Work with your school. Hopefully you are “lucky” like we were and still are with incredibly supportive, child-centered teachers, staff and administrators. Then maybe you can worry a little less later on.