Our son, Jac, has turned 17 and I have suddenly realized 2 things: 18 is going to come very fast and we are about to enter a whole new adult world.
I have always tried to be proactive with most of my son's issues. Over time, I have learned much by trial and error. I have also been blessed with many other parents to help guide me. And more importantly, to share their experiences with me.
I learned after my son's first Admission, Review, and Dismissal (ARD) meeting, that my college education was not going to be enough to save me in the world of acronyms related to individuals with disabilities and special education. So I quickly started finding conferences and workshops to attend. I needed to know just what the heck I should be doing for my son.
Fast forward to the present. After all that work, I now find myself back at square one. At my son’s new stage, I now realize there are so many new things to think about. There is guardianship, vocational assessments, changing physicians, and special needs trusts. Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! I suddenly feel as if my head is starting to spin off my body.
But then I am reminded that this time around, I am smarter, I am wiser. Why is this? Because I now have many people to help guide me. I have made friends across the state who have dealt with so many scenarios and who are always there to offer advice.
We have case managers who are incredible at what they do and will help us with this transition. We have physicians who love Jac and who will also help us find new doctors for the future. I won't be blindsided. I will start signing up for transition conferences and I will learn. Just the way I have for the past 17 years.
The Transition to Adulthood section of this site has lots of timely and relevant information that can help.
Just when I thought maybe the “autism thing” was calming down. And that maybe I had a few months to catch my breath before researching everything I needed to know about guardianship before my son turns 18. Wham–another big change brought us back to reality.
Support is out there for families of individuals with disabilities–you just have to ask! Take advantage of the community of others who are going through the same things as your family.