I have to tell you readers, my brain is spinning a bit lately.
You see, my son, my beautiful severely autistic son, turned fourteen this spring, which means his next IEP meeting is a “transition” meeting. In an effort to prepare I googled “transition,” and it means “the process or period of changing from one state or condition to another.”
I know it is a process his mama will have to go through too.
To be honest, my quest for transition information is a bit of a first world autism problem for Justin. There are so many resources out there, numerous agencies with websites and webinars dedicated to just this very process that I should be able to access the information I need pretty easily, for which I am grateful. I can’t imagine going through this twenty years ago.
Hell, I can’t imagine doing any of this twenty years ago.
But still, it’s overwhelming. I recently printed out information from the DDD website about all the issues I will need to address. I have to make sure he’s eligible for DDD and Medicaid. I will have to apply for guardianship (it somewhat amuses me that I will have to pay several thousand dollars to make sure he remains mine). There is a potential job (?) to consider. Housing. Legal planning.
Also there’s who will love him when I’m gone, but I don’t think that will be on the IEP agenda.
It turns out Justin’s school is planning an information fair that will take place hours after my IEP meeting, so in typical “awesomeness” fashion his principal agreed to meet with me a few weeks beforehand so I’m not walking into this meeting blind about what options await my boy. Planner that I am I need to know my choices, and trust me, I’m grateful that with his school there will probably be choices for him. He’s doing really well there; perhaps a small job will be in store for him, perhaps not.
I would really enjoy telling his little brother that Justin is earning his keep.
I don’t know what will happen at his IEP meeting, but I’m already creating my list of questions (it will be long), and I’m feeling rather positive about future changes, which from a woman who’s not big on change is a huge step. It helps immeasurably to know he’s in good hands, that his last seven years of educational entitlement will have a variety of possibilities to engage my boy.
It helps stave off my other worries. Where will he live? Will he get into a day program? Will he deign to stay in said day program? Will I become his nanny when he turns twenty-one and graduates with me sobbing my guts out noisily on graduation day (trust me it’s coming). Will he be safe? Will I ever get some “Kim time” again (I have my priorities).
Will he like his adult life even a fraction of how much he loves his childhood?
See, the thing is, I want it all to be good for him. I remember mentioning his “remaining eighty years” once at an IEP meeting years ago (I think he was five) and getting some incredulous looks around the table, but yes people, I think about this on a daily basis. He’s worked so hard all these years. He’s in the least behavioral and most academic of the classrooms for his age group at his school. He can’t go an hour without hugging me for no reason. He laughs often.
And I’m going to do the best I can to make things stay that way.
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