I am faced with an interesting quandary. Collegeman does not want to go to the therapist anymore-at least for the time being. He says he has too much work to do and with the semester coming to a close I am sure that that is the case. However, collegeman’s perspective on how long his work takes him is still skewed and he worries about his time unrealistically. But the problem becomes just how much do I push him to go to the therapist and if I push how much is he going to get out of it now? Is it also really worth the anxiety I will cause him at this moment for him to go to the therapist? Now remember collegeman has more support than the average student. He has the therapist, guidance coach in class; aspergers support coach whom he meets once a week and a life skills coach. Actually as I am writing this I think the reality is that collegeman may just plainly be coached out.
So then the issue becomes what is too much support? I have no idea. I know that when the boys were really young we had a ton of support. Whether it was special and regular education teachers, the aides, the speech therapists, the occupational therapists, the sports coaches, the tutors for math, science, note taking and study skills, the psychologists both in and out of school , nothing really seemed to bother him. He took it all in stride and accepted his life for what it was. But now something is changing in him. He is taking it upon himself to make more of his own life affecting decisions.
I suppose that is a good thing. Heck any 19 year old wants to make his own decisions about everything. Why collegeman should be any different is beyond me. They may need your guidance but ultimately the decisions become theirs just like any young adult. He is deciding on his own his major/minor and picks his classes each semester. So his choice of education and what he wants for his future is truely his design. (Of course we talk about it together but the decision has always ultimately been his) I just don’t know what the level of pulling back should be when it comes to his support. We do know that collegeman has done quite well this semester. He is now attending all his classes except art on his own and even the time in-between classes he needs very little direction. He has his routine and the guidance coach just sits there and tries to smooth out any social issues that may arise. But for the most part collegeman is doing great. He does have the lifeskills coach he meets with now on Fridays that helps him with more social skills specifically and I actually think he likes that time. Last meeting he had her stay longer so he could show her his art projects. He also chose to stay at school to keep working instead of coming home so he would meet her at the college.
So what to do? I think I need to cut the apron strings a little bit and let him make this decision. He will still see the therapist monthly right now just so the therapist has a handle on how things are going with collegeman. I also think we may need the therapist a little more next semester because I think the aide won’t be with us then. Collegeman is probably going to be on his own. He has proven that he can behave in class and be appropriate and there comes a time when you have to let them try. Granted the first time he tried it was a disaster, but he is a different young man now. I think we need to let him grow up. Oh he’ll still have the aspergers support, the lifeskills coach and the therapist in the wings, what he won’t have is the moment to moment person there to intervene for him. Catching my breath as I write that one sentence. It’s funny because I asked collegeman what he thought. He didn’t care he said. He probably doesn’t. If the guidance coach is there, then he is fine, if she is not there then he is fine. I actually think that says a lot for her understanding of his need to be on his own and let him shape his own world. She remains invisible in the world around him. I think she is going to make a great special educator.
Ok decided. He can or cannot see the therapist weekly at this point, as long as he is doing well and we don’t see any emotional overload, his choice. Yes it’s his decision but keep in mind when you have fragile children like most aspies are, you still need to watch and revisit their decision making. Snip goes the apron strings sort of. Plus, the aide having to leave just might be the best thing for him. He does have to grow up and he really wants too. Collegeman has no issues with any of these decisions. It’s me. Actually I haven’t even told hubby yet. Figured I’d let collegeman go on his own to class for awhile before I tell the spouse what is going to happen next semester. Right now I can only watch and hope collegeman’s life continues on the positive road he’s been traveling since his successful summer. He is growing into a great young man. He is strong, tall, bright, funny and for the most part happy. We need to work on some social issues but as far as day to day he seems really together. Oh I still can’t sleep at night thinking about his next step. I know he has to take it and I know he has to go forward on his own. This quandry of mine reminds me of the old saying that, “If you love someone you need to set them free.” Easier said than done with any child. But, I would also lay odds that the author of that quote never raised autistic children.
Until next time,