Facing the Future

It’s dangerous to try to see into the future. No one knows this better than parents of children with special needs. One day at a time. Whatever you do, don’t think too far ahead.

I tend to go along on the presumption that my child is just like any other child, that he blends, that his foibles are not that different from those of his peers. And for the most part, that’s true: his teachers tell me that while he still needs organizational support, he’s well on his way to becoming a mature and responsible student. To quote from one of my books on Asperger’s: “Quirky, yes–hopeless, no.”

So I often think he’s just like everyone else. I also like to pretend that the world is just like it was when I was growing up, when almost every kid mowed lawns and delivered newspapers, couldn’t wait to learn to drive, and had a part-time job by age 15.

Granted, my child is only 10. But my breath catches in my throat whenever I think about where he’ll be five years from now. Will this boy who can be so rigid in his thinking ever learn the ebb and flow of driving in traffic? Will a kid who can barely chop a carrot ever cook an entire meal? Will a guy who has trouble with eye contact and who takes language so literally ever make it through a job interview?

None of us has a crystal ball, but I have to believe he’ll be fine. Five years is an eternity in a child’s development. And five years ago, when he was first diagnosed, I would not have believed we would get to a place where he plays team sports, gets invited to play dates and sleepovers, and walks to school by himself.

So anything can happen. Deep breaths. We can do this.