The Next Chapter

It’s time. It’s time to start writing the next chapter of the book. It’s called Transitioning into Adulthood. I have watched my daughter transition at other times on this journey but this one is going to be big. All of a sudden things are starting to get real. What we knew would happen some day is happening now. The truth is, I’m not so sure if I’m ready for now. How then am I supposed to get my daughter ready?

There are transitions in our children’s lives that tug at our heartstrings. Their first day of kindergarten, starting high school, high school graduation, turning 16, and then 18, and 21 are a few. These transitions hold true for all parents regardless if your child is typical or not.

Watching your child turn 22 however and transition from public school into adult services is a transition that only special needs parents share. The day your child turns 22 they are no longer eligible to receive special education services provided by their school. It is up to the child’s parents to figure out what their child is going to do that day and every day after.

And that is where we are now. We have taken the steps to get where we are. We have filled out the endless paperwork, the forms, the questionnaires and we have contacted who we needed to. And now we have to take the next step and find a place that is the right fit.

Our search started last week. We visited a program that offered adult day services. The director greeted us at the door and gave us a tour. As we went from room to room I was totally thrown off guard. This was not like the schools and programs that have become our saving grace for the past 16 years. It was not like the place that my daughter has become so used to. I was reminded of trying to find a nursing home for my parents and filled with great sadness. Making big decisions for the people we love the most is a very hard thing to do.

I am sure, however, we will eventually find a place and program that is the right fit. Just as we have made it through so many other transitions along this journey we will make it through this one. It’s taking the steps and walking the unfamiliar road to get there however that keeps me awake at night.

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