In recognition of autism awareness month, we wanted to share some of our staff’s personal experiences with their children’s lives with autism. In this post, Kelly shares her son Taylor’s transition into adulthood and his autism effects it.
For the first five years of his life, Taylor had developed typically. He talked earlier than most, he was social and generally a happy baby. “The only thing we noticed was that when we’d put Taylor down on a blanket, he wouldn’t leave it, even after he learned how to crawl”, reminisces Kelly, Taylor’s mom. “I just thought it was brilliant but looking back, it was probably all related.”
The first indication of an autism diagnosis didn’t happen until Kindergarten when a teacher indicated that there might be a possibility. The teacher had shared that Taylor couldn’t stand the sound of the florescent lights in the room. Kelly remembers, “I remember the teacher stating that they had to keep the lights off if he was in the room and how that was a problem.”
“I was extremely involved with his team at school, I have many books on the subject and I know every autism website.”
This event, coupled with a few others, led to Taylor’s diagnosis and Kelly’s drive to know as much about autism as possible. “I did a ton of research as his mom to make sure that I understood the diagnosis and was advocating for him appropriately. I was extremely involved with his team at school, I have many books on the subject and I know every autism website.”
For Taylor, now 19, autism awareness hadn’t been as prevalent and understood as it is now. “He was right on the cusp of the big burst in autism awareness so his help at school got gradually better through the years. Elementary school was not great—in fact, I homeschooled him for 2 years; middle school was better and high school even more so.”
“…I know if we could find something that he loves to do, he would do it well. I will not stop until that is done!”
Taylor, right on the edge of the spectrum, has a hard time during his current transitional phase between graduating high school and what happens next. “He can stay with our [school] district until he is 21 in a transition program, but it just is not a good fit for Taylor. The downside of autism spectrum disorders is that kids with all disabilities are often kept together. The higher functioning kids abilities go unnoticed because attention is most often paid to those more challenged. He is gifted on some levels but this was not addressed because autism came before giftedness.Taylor has reached an age where he does not want to be affiliated with anything that labels him.”
Kelly and her husband are working to help Taylor build a great future. “We want to enroll him in a computer class this fall to see if we can find his niche. The way he looks at the world, he just has to see why and understand how it all works. Taylor is a very kind, loving and smart boy; I know if we could find something that he loves to do, he would do it well. I will not stop until that is done!”
How do you, as a parent, handle the transitional phase in your young adult’s life? Provide tips, advice and suggestion in our comments section below.