The Dark Side of Parenting a Child with Autism
On Thursday, March 15th, Philly.com posted an article about the hard questions of Autism. The writer, a father of a child on the Spectrum, talked about the two most difficult questions that we are parents of a child with a disability face: what is in store for our child in the future?
His son mentioned how he worries about what his future will be like, and worries about what to do when his parents are too old to take care of him. Both questions are good ones, and often questions we as parents try to avoid asking, or even thinking about. They are legitimate worries that don’t have any easy answers, and the outcomes are completely out of our control.
Within our own homes, we can create an environment that will help our children develop, progress, communicate, and succeed. At school, with an IEP, we can help our children learn in an environment that is optimized for their needs. But with all these special requirements, what employer will be willing to invest in such a bright, intelligent child with so many special needs?
Usually I just try not to think about the future of both my sons, knowing that worrying now will not help them or me. Instead I focus on what I can control, which is his education and what help I can give them. I focus on the IEP, the steps for helping communication and social skills, building those basic life skills needed to survive in the world.
I can see my oldest take something apart and put it back together again, have it work, and then inspect each part, and I immediately see him as a brilliant engineer. My youngest I see play on many of my instruments and see him as a brilliant musician. I have my hopes for my kids, but I don’t know how to unlock those futures for them. That’s the frustrating thing about being a parent of a child on the Spectrum.
If you get a chance to read the article mentioned before, I would highly recommend it. It’s a very good read, though you may have to suffer a few tugs at your heart strings.