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Answering the question ‘What does the future look like for your child?’

April 7, 2014

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As a parent, you always want to believe in the best for your child.  High expectations, high hopes and giving them a high bar, all of that seemed like sound advice. No excuses, no hiding behind denial, push yourself to see your child with all their gifts and lackings, help build on talents and delve into the challenges so they can reach their full potential.  Nobody told me about an autism diagnosis.

 

After diagnosis, all these hopes and dreams, all the ideas and beliefs that I had for Rett didn’t exactly fly out the window. But we were on shaky ground.  On one hand, if I held onto the belief that Rett was going to grow up to lead a normal life. That he could go to college and get his dream job, find the girl and have kids.  That he could start a small business or travel the world or live on a house boat.. whatever HE wanted to do. If I allowed myself to think that way, I might be in denial of how much help he desperately needed during this short window called early intervention.  And if I admitted that he might not be able to do any of that, that he might live with us for the rest of our lives that it meant I had given up on him.

 

So what does the future look like for Rett? Well instead of a long, open road of possibilities where you can see the horizon, our road unfolds a little at a time. There are lots of turns and hills where you can’t see what’s happening next.   There were times we didn’t know if he would ever develop a specific skill, and he did.  Times when he really surprised us with how well he did. And other times when we expected him to be able to do or handle a situation and it just didn’t go the way we thought.

 

Asking a parent raising a special needs child ‘where do you see your child in 5? 10? 20 years?’ is a very scary question.  Because a lot of the time, we don’t even know.  And sometimes we are just focusing on making it up the current hill. Once we’re up there, we’ll tell you about the view.

 

As for Rett, regardless of what his future holds, the entire college experience or finding a job he can ride his bike to, we will be there cheering him on every step of the way.  He isn’t living our dream. He’s living his.   And that’s what his future holds.

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