A Tenet of Special Needs: Every parent of a special needs child fears “lack of structure”. You begin to hear that term as soon as your child is identified. I assume you work at it for the rest of your functioning parental life. Because, the warning goes, if your child does not have “structure”, they will regress! That is why special needs youngsters qualify for academic summer programing; the god of regression threatens that while other children may be free to swim or play tennis, your child has to learn or forfeit gains earned in the past ten months.
Filling in The Blanks: Regression isn’t only academic. It is social, emotional and vocational. How true will this be for our daughter during the first month or months of her return home before funding sources set up residential and vocational programming? That’s where her parents step in to fill the blanks until that time. After the phone call yesterday morning I emailed two great souls who have given our daughter volunteer opportunities in the past. More emails will follow.
Here’s What I Know: Boredom, social isolation and loneliness are major dangers for all our kids transitioning to “adulthood”, typical or otherwise. I will do my best but I take some comfort in our daughter’s impressive ability to find stimulation on her own. Though this involves “screens”, and not much movement. She uses social networking for “connectedness” to friends, and surfs the internet in search of historical facts and bios of famous people of interest. She is always learning!
24/7 Peers: Her skills are pretty well-integrated, now a part of her DNA. What will be missed deeply are 24/7 peers and activities dovetailed to meet her needs. We can fill in some blanks, but it takes a “village” to fill in the rest.
Fingers Crossed: Just need to plan on a lot of time driving.
©Jill Edelman, M.S.W., L.C.S.W. 2011