Monday, October 5, 2015
Why Do We Send Teens With Autism To School?
Before you read this I am going to ask a favor, stay calm. You might even want to put your hand under your chin to catch it when it drops, in the event these comments shock you.
I just heard this "Your son is never going to be independent, so why are you so concerned about him working? He's never going to be able to hold down a job. I mean he can't get seem to get by without one to one support. Are you sure it isn't a waste of time and you're not just pushing to have him learn things he will never really use, and maybe doesn't even care about?. I mean I understand your wanting the best for him, and that's great, but how do you know you're just not wasting both of your time chasing a life he will never live?"
I was frozen for what seemed like forever, and I fought to push away the tremendous greif I felt hearing her words. I didn't feel angry because I really did hear this persons compassion, albeit misguided and uninformed.
Finally I said, because he deserves as much opportunity to live his best life as anyone else!!. Then I just starting rambling and it went something like this. From the day our kids are born we start thinking about school. Why do we send our kids to school? To learn, and why do we want them to learn? So they can get a job. And, why do we want them to get a job or have a career? We want them to be able to survive, care for themselves, make friends, take pride in accomplishment and have purpose, both of which society tells us will bring happiness. We want the best for our kids. I want the same for my son and he deserves the same. There are many people who are not living quote "Successful" lives in this world who no one questioned their right to have access to learning all they could, and exposure to opportunities. Nick is a unique person, with skills and talents and he deserves the opportunity to build the most independent life he can. So that's what I am fighting for. And if he is never able to do it alone, so be it. At the same time everything he learns to do, everything that makes him more independent, gives him an opportunity to contribute to society and reduces how much financial support he will need from me and state and federal resources.
In a nutshell, Nick being given the opportunity to be his best is the right thing to do on a human level, and it's the right thing to do on a financial level.