Are Milestones A Colossal Fail For Autism Families?
We welcome our little bundles of joy into this world, and we are filled with so much fun and happiness, but even before we have a moment to enjoy all our emotions, milestones become our focus.
We watch them closely, and then we are smacked in the face by the fact our child is not making these milestones. So our focus is now consumed with not when they will reach these milestones but how we can help them achieve these milestones.
For my 1st born, we were served a double-edged sword; the 1st eight years of his life, he met each milestone exactly on target. For eight years, we were able to enjoy all of the normal celebrations, but then we were slapped in the face with all those years of missed therapy and how in the world would we keep him going forward. We enrolled him in everything under the sun to ensure his ever-growing abilities. Now fast forward to this year… the year COVID took away….the year that every child struggled to keep up to the world’s standards in a new and unique way.
This was our son’s senior year, the year he would turn 18, the year he would get his driver’s license, the year he was supposed to earn his Eagle. He had to achieve all these milestones with the burden of COVID on his back.
This story is actually a story of sweet success. He earned his driver’s license 1st and within a month totaled our car two states away from home. This is actually a sad success but still a success as he maneuvered this whole terrible milestone on his own with just our voices on the phone telling him what to do. Success because he did it on his own. Next, he turned 18, something every one of our kids will eventually do. Then came the eagle project that could not be completed due to COVID, but our son successfully completed the extension paperwork and interviews on his own and is back on track. Finally, yesterday he walked across the stage with both an academic diploma and a vocational certification in carpentry.
His High School accomplishments don’t stop there; he lettered in 4 sports, some several times (Tennis, Swimming x2, Baseball x3, and Golf x2), he maintained A/B honor roll, and was an active participant in his school’s habitat for humanity (building houses, repairing houses for both needy people and animals in the area). He will attend Lincoln Tech at the end of the month on a partial ride scholarship to pursue a career in heavy machinery and welding.
So my message isn’t that our kids can reach all the milestones set out for society but to support our kids in any way we can so that they can be the most wonderful adults that they can be. One day they will walk across that stage with a diploma in hand, and it doesn’t matter if that diploma is academic, completion, general, or vocational because a diploma is a diploma, and all of our kids will grow up to add something to this society.
–Alicia Frye, Spectrum Parents Mom
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