It has been a very busy week. I went to a transition fair and a few nights later an Autism gala. The transition fair was not something I was looking forward to. In all honesty I would have preferred to stay home. Since my daughter will be turning 22 next year and aging out of the system I knew I had to go. This is a new place for us and I have many questions. As an advocate for my daughter it was my obligation to get up off of my couch and go.
The thought of helping my daughter transition into adult services scares the heck out of me. I went into the fair rather terrified. I did my job however and went from table to table and asked my questions. What I found out is that it’s not as terrifying as I thought. The more I educate myself the more assured I am of what the future holds for my daughter. This journey is bringing us to an unfamiliar place but when we get there we will be prepared as we can be.
The same holds true when your child is first diagnosed with a disability. You educate yourself and learn as much as you can. The more you know about your child’s disability and how to navigate your way through the special education system the better off he or she will be. It’s time to turn off Netflix and start reading everything you can. Get up off of the couch and learn about the disability, the programs available to your child and what to expect at IEP meetings.
With the transition fair behind me it was time to look forward to the gala. The Autism gala has become a yearly tradition for us. It’s a much needed night to let loose but it’s also a time of reflection. From one year to the next I look out into the crowd of people and think about all of the things my daughter has accomplished in the past year and the village of people we have relied on to keep us moving forward. This past year has been a good one and the accomplishments have been many.
As I stood there gazing at the crowd however, my mind wandered ahead to next year. My daughter will have just a few months left before she will make the big transition. I’m sure I will have much to reflect on. I might not know what the accomplishments will be but I do know we will be well prepared and we will have our village f people with us.