That sounds strange but I really wanted our son to have a life without his parents. He has mild disabilities and can take care of himself for the most part. He can drive but chooses not to. I thought he would be anxious to leave home when he graduated from high school. When I was his age, I loved my folks, but I just wanted a life without them.
We talked about finding an apartment for him somewhere close to things he likes to do. He wanted no part in that. He wouldn’t even have a conversation about it. We kept coming up with ideas, none of which he accepted.
My mother lived in a modular home next to us. About a year after she died, we tried moving him into the house with his best friend. We set up his room and moved his friend into the house. They had a great time, but he always came home for dinner and TV. He never slept there.
Our son was a micro preemie, born well before his due date, and had significant separation anxiety. It eased when he was in his teens. He even went on some short trips without us with his school but changing his living situation was proving to be very tough.
One day, we were helping my brother and his wife look for land out in the Blanco area. We found a place that we all fell in love with and wanted. We discussed it for a couple of weeks and then decided to just go for it. We would move and leave our son in our house in Austin.
It actually worked but I did a lot of fast talking to make it happen. Once we got the house built in Blanco, we started going out for three-day weekends every other week. Our son got used to getting his own meals during this time and caring for the cats. He even enlisted our neighbors for help when something came up that he couldn’t do on his own.
Finally, it was time for us to move. Again, lots of fast talking to get him to move out of his childhood bedroom and into the master bedroom. On the day of the move, we worked fast. I had been planning it for months. We moved everything out of our room into the truck early in the morning.
It was a scary and emotional first night away from my boy, but we both survived. Since we’ve moved, he has thrived. He’s learned so much about having a roommate, paying bills, cleaning up after his cats and even plunging a toilet! He’s happy without his parents nagging him all the time.
There are many more transition stories on this website – check some out on the transition short stories page.
Critical thinking and problem-solving skills go beyond academics. Everyday life provides opportunities to apply these skills. During my son’s educational career, a lack of critical thinking and problem-solving skills was often noted in his Individualized Education Plan paperwork. While he may struggle with these skills academically, he solves problems all the time in his daily life.
The A Look Ahead (ALA) Conference Series is a collaboration between four non-profit organizations - The Arc of DFW (Dallas Fort Worth) Area, The Self-Determination Group, First United Methodist Church of Arlington, and Families for Effective Autism Treatment North Texas. It was established in 2015 and is held four times per year.
Categories: Transition to Adulthood