Last night was a transitional night for our family. My son graduated. Now remember, we are homeschoolers so we do not have the traditional cap and gown service and I was the one who stood and spoke about his life. Even if he wanted to give a speech, he does not have that creative process in him. He is autistic. He will be 19 next month and still is not doing things that most normal 19 years old are doing.
For one, he doe snot drive and has no desire to do so. He knows his ability to concentrate is limited. He is easily distracted and I would not want someone like that on the roads. We have enough teenagers already and they won't admit they are easily distracted or preoccupied doing other things that they should not be doing while their hands are on the wheel or should be on the wheel. So in that aspect I respect and admire him for seeing what his capabilities are at this time in his life. Things can change, who knows what the future holds.
The evening was filled with family and friends. My sister drove up from Miami with her husband and two girls, my son was elated. My in-laws were able to make it as well as my father. Two friend attended, one he works with and one he used to work with. Both have known us since we moved to this city, and have seen him grow...and grow he has. He now stands at a nearly 5'10" and close to a 170 frame, which I need a second job to feed him with. That boy, I swear, has what, a four compartment stomach like a cow.
He was confident and sure of himself, something he wasn't 4 years ago when we joined this local support group. My speech was not intended to be about his autism, but I somehow made it about it. I do not think I made it an in your face speech, but I wanted to let everyone know how many people treat kids and then adults with disabilities. They are treated differently. People will say they treat them the same way, but trust me when I say this is not true. I don't know if it is fear or ignorance, but for whatever reason, people avoid those who are different.
now I am the complete opposite, I find them, and go right for them, for I know how it feels to sit with your child (who is now an adult) and be avoided. It hurts. And if people would just give them a chance, many of them have something to offer and can be interesting. My son is one of them. Can he banter about the latest in politics? Probably not, but there are many a things he knows his stuff about. Trust me, I have been wrong on more than one occasion.
He is polite, and well mannered, which many of his age bracket are not, so for that he is liked greatly. Plus, I would knock him silly if he did not act respectfully towards his elders.
All in all we had a wonderful evening and look forward to next year.