Our Journey Raising Two Children with Special Needs

This blog chronicles our life raising two children, Nicholas 14, diagnosed with Prader-Willi Syndrome and Weston 17, diagnosed with Autism/Asperger's/ADHD. It's the ups, the downs, the joys, the sorrows and most importantly, the beauty of living a life less perfect, a life more meaningful.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Ready Already

Friday was Weston's annual IEP review.

He is in 8th grade and will be heading to high school next year. OMG.

I met for over two hours with his educational team to discuss how we will prepare him for this transition.

During a school field trip, Weston visited the local technical school in our area. After visiting, he expressed an interest in attending this type of place. He was eager to explore a new environment, one that will allow him to use his hands and learn more about interesting things, like automotives, hazmat and electrical instruction. He also explained that he would enjoy getting to know a new group of students, teenagers, who like him, do not judge others for their quirky behaviors or sensory issues. A fresh start was extremely appealing to Weston.

We applied to this technical school in October, but will not hear back until February. The school has some very tight student expectations regarding grades, attendance and behavioral issues. While Weston does well in these areas, there is still a chance he may not be accepted. As bad as it sounds, this is a very real possibility since he carries a mild Asperger's diagnosis.

Within the last few months, Weston has explained to me that he is ready to quit school and enter the working world. He is anxious to get out of the classroom and get his hands dirty. There is no doubt about it, he told me, he wants to work. He has talked about becoming an electrician, a fireman or a Lamborghini salesman. I explained that he might want to wait at least until he has secured a driver's license especially if he is interested in selling fast and colorful cars.

Hubby and I have tried to explain to our eager hard laborer that more education can sometimes lead to higher paying jobs and that finishing high school is a very important first step to securing any job.

"Why do I need more money?" Weston asked at the dinner table one evening.

"Well, hubby explained, "you will need to have enough money to pay your bills. Also, if you want things like fast cars and four-wheelers, they also cost money and you will need to ensure you make enough money to buy them."

Weston thought very hard for a moment.

"Mom, may I be excused for a second? I need to get a paper and pencil."

He quickly returned with his writing implements and began making a list.

"What are you doing?" Hubby asked.

"I am making a list of all the things I want." Weston replied. "Then I can find out just how much money I will need to make.

So he created this list.

Now although his transportation costs are awfully high and his utility bills steep, I am very proud of my 13 year-old son. He may struggle with social immaturity but in many ways he is ahead of others his age especially when it comes to working hard. He is a conscientious young man who wants to believe he is ready already!