Welcome to all our new followers and friends!
As our original followers can tell, I’ve taken a slight writing sabbatical these past couple of years. I’ve focused more on social media and building our audience. I’ve also started on book #2, coming out hopefully in the next year or so.
I’ll admit it – I hit a wall — a complete burnout on the subject of autism.
It had to happen sometime. It’s been a part of our lives for 21 years now.
Towards the end of 2014 we were consumed with my youngest son’s senior year in high school and his senior football season. What a joy it was! My Mom came to help watch Tony for every single game so I could attend. Every. Single. Game. What a blessing she is! It’s funny because Dave had been a football coach since 2000 when my older son started playing, I believe. So everyone knew him! I was the “mystery wife” because I was home with Tony the whole time. So THIS season was incredible because I was every game and event!!!
As the season ended and the holidays kicked in, amazing things started to happen. My older son got engaged and wedding planning had begun. That kept me busy until the wedding — which was on January 2nd of this year. (See post Tony’s Bestman #1 Speech)
So 2015 brought an engagement party, a spring break trip to Puerto Vallarta with my youngest and a group of his friends and parents, prom, graduation, graduation party, college selection, birthday month, Joey moving away to college (sniff, sniff), wedding planning, holidays, wedding planning, grooms dinner and — did I mention? — a wedding!
Needless to say many things took me away from writing and it was a huge blessing to be able to concentrate on other things for a while.
Tony had a great year of growing, tested his boundaries a bit, and worked at this original job (see post Workin for a Living) for 8 months. After he mastered his work, it was getting increasingly difficult for him to stay focused and challenged, so he took a “leave of absence” to be a “wedding planner” with Mom. And he really did help! He’s a master list maker and loves to check things off as they are completed. He totally kept me in line.
So that brings me to present day. Tony has been home with me full-time since last July. It has had it’s challenges, but I try to keep a positive attitude. We strive for good balance of getting enough social activities in for myself and for Tony, while keeping him occupied and entertained. We introduced a new med, with weight gain side effects but major behavior improvements. We have daily activities and exercise plans. Beau Becker II gets a ton of attention (see original post about our dog in our book and here: Beau Becker II) Our main focus was working on independent life skills — planning our day, cooking, shaving and personal hygiene, laundry, exercising, communication and language skills, computer skills, reading, field trips, good behavior rewards and incentives, trips to Goodwill, baking, etc.
And in that arena we’ve won! Now that Tony has learned to text, it has literally opened his world and others get to see his personality — including me and my husband — complete with selfies (more on that later) 🙂
We have been looking for opportunities for Tony to work and have started the project of future housing. It’s daunting and overwhelming. But we’re taking it one step at a time.
The main thing that has struck me about Tony at age 23, is that there are minimal opportunities for him. Minimal. Most he’s either not high functioning enough or he’s too high functioning, or he’s aged out of available programs. He’s unique — as most young adults with autism are — and he needs to be challenged. He’ll most likely need a job coach, if the noise level is high and he gets overstimulated. He’ll need breaks. He’ll need snacks. He’ll need routine.
So we’re searching. We’re praying. We’re networking. And in the meantime, we’ll continue to work on life skills that will take him to the next level.
Everyone needs a purpose. We’ll never stop fighting for him.
As always, keep the faith,