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.




Sunday, October 18, 2015

The Grease Monkey

OK, so enough about me and my complaining.
 I can only take so much of my "woe is me" mentality,
and then it's time to move on.
We have a lot to catch up on.

If you are a long time reader of our blog, 
perhaps you recall my son Weston's fascination with motorized vehicles.
 
 
In fact, when he was a small child,
we would forgo trips to the playground in favor of places like this.


He enjoys the sights, sounds and smell
of mud slinging tires
 and gas chugging engines

He loves vehicles so much,
that one Christmas,
Jolly Old Saint Nicholas brought him this
 miniature monster machine


and aided the dwarfed driver
 into becoming a master maneuverer,
capable of operating the battery-powered Jeepster
with the same finesse as a professional race car driver
 
 
Yup Richard Petty had nothing on him
 
 
He happily offered joy rides to his little brother and neighborhood friends
 negotiating hair pin turns or screeching halts
with amazing speed and agility
 
Yes, I guess it is safe to say that Weston knows a thing or two about vehicles.
 

 
Even now, the allure of anything shiny and metal and motorized is tough to resist
 
 
I have found more than a few of these vrooming vehicles
in the pants pocket of his favorite jeans
 or under the back seat of our family car.
 
But over the years, his tastes have changed.
Those faithful sturdy yellow construction contraptions
have been left well-behind
in favor of a more fast-moving kind of flashiness. 

 
 He is now an expert in the identification of
fabulous foreign cars whose names end with the letter "i"
 
You can read more about his new obsession here.
 
Where is all this leading you ask?
Well dear readers, I am happy to report that the time has come
 for Weston to begin transitioning into the real world.
 
You may recall I had Nick's pit bull
(his advocate/attorney)
 
 
working on finding an appropriate technical school for Weston.
One that would recognize his disability
and provide the appropriate supports for him.
 
We were able to find one last year in the neighboring town
 but much like our progress with Nicholas,
our ferocious pit bull turned into a pussycat
and was unsuccessful at negotiating this transition.
 
Seems the only one she had any luck bullying after all,
was me.
So, I fired her.
 
And negotiated (on my own)
several new school programs for Weston.
 
The first was transportation to and from school with Nicholas.
Thus freeing me up to handle my increased responsibilities caring for Mom.
Both boys are happy to be sharing the ride.
 
  
The second program was designing a work/study arrangement for Weston.
Where the first half of his day would be devoted to school work,
the next half working with a job coach
 to secure employment opportunities for him in town.
 
What is his first job you ask?
 
 
Perhaps not surprisingly, he has become a grease monkey.
 
He will be working at the local garage changing oil and transmission fluids.
 
Pretty cool, right?
 
This weekend we bought him the prerequisite blue Dickies and some steel-toed boots.
 
 
For a young adult diagnosed with ADHD,
 job success is directly proportional to personal enjoyment.
In other words, like his father,
Weston needs to love what he is doing.
If not,
you can forget about his ability to focus,
pay attention and successfully complete his tasks.
 
The job coach at the school worked with Weston
to identify his passions
and design a resume, 
geared toward companies where he would enjoy working
Together they set up interviews.
and found this new opportunity.
 
 
We are hoping this experience
will help him to relate to others in a professional setting
and to find fulfillment
in the idea of working at what you love for a living.
 
 
I am very proud of Weston
and will keep y'all posted on his progress.