As always, holidays give us the time to reflect on how he has matured.Long gone are the physical outbursts of anger, the kicking of doors and throwing of chairs.What we have now is a very tall, handsome teenager whose voice has dropped to deep base and who has a sense of identity and a conviction about his own strong views and opinions.
He couldn't give a fig if people think his views or actions are 'strange'.He is just who he is and he's happy with that.
School doesn't prepare you for life.I read this week about a study that confirmed it. Dr. Gerard Hoefling, of the autism support program, Drexel University, Philadelphia:has said,
"We make the erroneous assumption that high schools are getting students ready for college, and they're not really.
That's not their primary task. High schools do a wonderful job
of getting students ready to graduate from high school."
I firmly believe that. How many children know how bank rates work, how to use a credit card, about the electoral system and democracy and communism and dictatorships for example?
As I watched my son I realised that he wasn't wearing his ear defenders, he checked out a menu on-line before going to a restaurant so he could choose his meal in advance without being overwhelmed by the choice. He paid for a DVD over the counter without support. Suggested to his sister that they go to the local park on holiday,then went out the door and set off to the park with her struggling to get her shoes on and follow him.Despite having no wifi on holiday he happily joined in family discussions and played board games ( with only the slightest mutter about the benefits of digital technology) He went to bed at a fairly reasonable time for him (and slept!) and he even managed a trip to the Metro centre in Newcastle where we had a Chinese buffet and then a short shop for his sister to buy a birthday present.Whilst he indicated that he did find that uncomfortable, he patiently sat it out without a meltdown and I realised that he had grown up substantially.
He is able to communicate his needs far better now.When he had blisters from walking, he told me that so I could offer thicker socks to cushion them.He told me he gets a bad back from sitting at the computer so long (something which I suspected but he has never told me) so we have discussed the benefits of more fresh air and exercise and a better computer desk and chair.
Now that he is 15 I have suggested that our aim for the year is to enable him to support himself more by making meals ( and ensuring he doesn't forget to eat) and also we need to start looking at ways he can start to learn to bring in an income (possibly a computer based income which would make complete sense for someone with autism)
Who knows where we will be this time next year? We will just have to see!