Wednesday, September 18, 2013

18 plus

Today my first born son  hit's adulthood! Today he is 18 years old and though he celebrates, he is also afraid of the phase of life he is entering into.  Most people who have Aspergers do not like change and the changes that he is facing are major! He's afraid of all of the responsibility that comes along with adulthood. Everyday he frets over one thing or another.  Of course, he lovingly shares all of those fears and feelings with me -over and over and over again,!

Ordinary people celebrate 18 with much ado.  Finally, you reach the age where you don't absolutely have to listen to your parents anymore.  You can start making some decisions for yourself.  You can go away to college -move out, drive, vote, join the military!  In some parts of the world you can drink...legally.  In other parts of the world you can drink illegally.

He wants to develop his video business.  He wants to get a job. He wants to further is education.  He wants to drive.  He wants to get a car.  But dear sweet Jesus -that's a lot of work...a lot of crap to figure out. The one thing he absolutely does not want to do -is move out!

Well -why should he want to move out and lose all the comforts of someone else paying for everything?  Why not stay at home so that if and when, he makes money...he can keep it all and spend it only on the things that he wants?  Why not let childhood with the benefit of parents paying for your lifestyle, last a little longer? Who wants all of that responsibility?  Who wants all of that change?  No thanks.  I appreciate the offer of freedom and all, but I'll take the cushy route.  Thank you very much!

Only, he doesn't really want to listen to his parents anymore.  He wants to make his own rules and he would like for all of us to follow them.  Unfortunately -that's not how the world works.  Not my world anyway.

Even with all of his fears,  things that he still needs to learn, and maturing that he has yet to do, there is much to celebrate today.  The boy has come a long way. He still has much to conquer.  However, he has grown up and matured beyond the point of recognition in some aspects.  He is well on his way.

18 Plus things to celebrate about Red today!
  1. He can articulate his feelings and process them extremely well -when he is lucid and not deep into perseveration on a negative topic.  
  2. He plans his social and church activities without assistance and even arranges for transportation *Unfortunately ...I am still one of his major transportation resources.  
  3. He gets up for school and church on his own -the majority of the time.
  4. He takes his medication without reminder 70% of the time.
  5. He fills his medication into the weekly distribution boxes and has even called in refills. 
  6. He takes care of his hygiene without reminders.  He has always been a snazzy, neat dresser.  
  7. He does a number of household chores with great attention to detail. He can clean a bathroom better than any maid service! 
  8. He does his own laundry in a timely fashion without reminder. 
  9. He has no love for school, but he completes his work with some assistance, in a small special education setting. 
  10. His school attendance is excellent.
  11. He helps other's with more severe disabilities in the school setting.  The kids love him! He makes wonderful connections with these students.  He is very compassionate with them.  This is probably the thing that makes me the most proud. 
  12. He cooks basic meals for himself and does some grocery shopping. 
  13. He has developed some lasting friendships with appropriate peers and gets together with them regularly. 
  14. He sets his own calendar of appointments and meetings and sends out reminders to all parties involved. *Yeah -he even reminds me ...the forgetful one 
  15. He seeks out available resources for help, such as his Pastor, his Video Tech mentor, extended family members and even a local policemen, who will actually come out to our house, just to chat with him. 
  16. He is scheduled to complete all of his high-school credits by January, 2014.  He will continue in the 18 plus program through the school district at the very least, until the end of the school year when he will walk across the stage with his peers. 
  17. He has developed his own web site for his video production business and made his own business cards. 
  18. Up until recently, he has done productions for school, friends, family, churches and non-profit organizations, all with self-taught skills and no formal training. 

This past weekend he booked his first official job as a Video Production contractor for a non-profit organization where he was paid professionally!  Filled out his first W-9 and all! This was a gala benefit where he made lots of connections and contacts for future business.

Although he really does have a long way to go and all of the change and responsibility is a really scary thing.  I believe he will rise to the occasion.  He will slowly take on life and meet it's challenges.

Best of all with hope and prayer...he will eventually MOVE OUT OF MY HOUSE!