A few years ago, I met a woman with a son with Autism. She shared that her son was 26 years old and he was not involved in any kind of program and he did not received services. He was home during the day and she and her husband alternated his care. Both parents could only work when one of them was caring for their son. As we continued the conversation, she expressed her desire to have him in a program for adults with special needs.
After a little research, I referred her to a few places for funding, also programs her son could attend. I’m not sure if the woman ever received the help that she needed, as we lost contact.
I think of that woman a lot. Our brief conversations grieved me as I heard her regret of not doing more for her child. She didn’t like that he was home with no educational activities that interested him. She wished that she had done more.
Listening to her regrets, affected me. I didn’t want to have that same experience with Nate not having anywhere to go and having to stay home. Talking to her made me more diligent, in my son’s transition planning. So, I researched both day and residential programs. I contacted those programs and set up appointments to visit. In addition, I looked into supports for Nate to stay home, if possible. I inquired into the financial cost of quitting my job and staying home with Nate. (I wanted to write full-time.) Yet, most importantly, I prayed.
I understand that everyone’s life, road, and path is different. Of course children with special needs, come in all different abilities and complexities, so there is not a one-size fit all plan. However, we must do what is needed and be proactive in planning our child’s future, so that they can live their life to the fullest.