There is no crystal ball. There is no horoscope forecast. No divination tool that's going to tell me what the future holds for my kiddo. I know, no parent has that. There does seem to be a smidgen extra worry on my shoulders and other parents of special needs kids. Some things are sure. They grow up. What will happen? How will he be? Will he be successful? Will he get on? I simply do not know the exact details but I do know a few things.
That this generation of children being raised is better than the one before. Likewise, the one after this generation will be even better. And so on and so on. Society, experience, culture, research, morays and awareness have improved and will continue to do so. I will keep raising HELL when need be. The voices that come after mine will do the same. We might not have to scream for the same things but we know a constant truth. Squeaky wheel gets the grease. That's why I always have hope for my kiddo. I see what's changed in just five years. So I know that things do get better. Or I'm just going to get more creative about how we tackle them. He won't grow up like me because he simply did not grow up with me. (Although he's got some mad respect for some 80's tunes. He does like to pop his collar on his shirts and thinks neon is awesome.)
My kiddo speaks a completely different language than me. I would be like the stereotypical rude American in Paris, expecting him to understand. Shouting loudly in my tongue is tempting and yes, I still often forget and do it anyway. (I'm a loud Irish redheaded Mom. That's how I roll) Then I remember and try again. He needs translation and so do I. We meet in the middle with simple phrases, PEC pictures and the occasional kiddo created sign language or pronunciation. I wasn't the only one that had to get used to this, so did he. I guess you could say our talks have gotten better and I hope they continue to do so. The teen years are coming. I suspect someone will have to model an eye roll for him and a huge sigh. I have faith he'll get these. :-)
When my kiddo gets into something, it is ALL IN. All consuming and that means we as a family will be consumed with it. All our vacations will have at least one trip to a train museum. I can now identify a Pullman car when I see one. I can see the pros and cons of owning a model train set in an "O" or "G" scale. (No, really, there is more than one kind! I bet ya didn't know that) I may never understand the appeal or fixation but I see he's happy and interested. So I go with it. I remember a time not much motivated him. I happily go to these places even though in my head I am thinking about other things.
Then as quickly as something comes into our lives, he will discard it. When he drops something I am baffled. I may understand the black and white thinking but I am still confused by this behavior. There is usually no warning. I find myself wondering like a dump teenage girlfriend "was it me? did I do something?" Nope, I have accept it's him. He's just no longer into it. I've been burned by a few of these fad obsessions in the wallet. So I have learned to not get to excited and just dump my money into them. Only took a few hundred bucks for me to get that one. I think that's any parent though. We special needs parents don't have the lock on spending to much.
Will he work? Well, I sure hope so. I used to job coach teens with autism, so yeah, working is huge to me. Right now, I"m not kidding myself that college is going to happen. He can barely write his name so unless he starts learning some crazy good typing skills, I do wonder and worry how school work is going to be for him as he gets older. Maybe trade school is in his future. I'll be happy with what makes him happy. He's 8 but 8 years went by in a blink. So yes, this is a real concern for me. However, he does like to be hands on. Yes, he will work. Where hasn't been decided but he will.
Those side of fries don't pay for themselves you know.