As I approach the spring with my clients on the Autism Spectrum, we are already starting to formulate plans and ideas for the summer and even the upcoming school year. As we all know, planning and pre-teaching are essential components for people living with Autism. This is especially true for the young adults who are preparing to graduate from high school and getting ready to launch into the next phase of life. Some of my clients are freshman or sophomores in high school and just starting to think of their future and all the possibilities, while some are just a few months away from graduation! It is an exciting and scary time for everyone, Moms and Dads included. It’s important to try to remember that there are many skill domains beyond academics that are essential to focus on as our kids start to move towards adulthood. Pulling back from your children and allowing them to stumble a bit is nerve-wracking but necessary. I often remind parents that it is better for your child to learn some hard lessons while they are still home and have you close by for support than they learn these lessons once they are out in the “real” world. Here are some small ways you can start making big strides:
· Allow them to choose simple ways to help out around the house
· Set them up with access to small amounts of money that they can budget and spend on occasion
· Encourage them to pitch in when preferred meals or snacks are being prepared
· Take a step back, LITERALLY, in the community and allow them to navigate their surrounding without you too close by
There are increasingly more educational and living opportunities for people with Autism. I am lucky to be a part of an incredible program on Long Island that provides multifaceted support to young adults on the Autism Spectrum. Check out this great article highlighting the Gersh Experience, in Patchogue, NY.