Facebook Friends: A tremendous resource for special needs young adults is Facebook. Often the circle for these young people is limited by their cognitive difference, their inability to travel on their own and a host of other challenges. Communicating with former schoolmates and family friends, siblings’ buddies, cousins, and friends of friends, is easy and equalizing. In this arena they are like everyone else. If they can spell pretty well, type and scroll, open a link and maybe post a photo, they are in.
Some Reservations: Our daughter connected up with a young man who formerly attended her school. They found each other on Facebook. I don’t know him. She knows him just a bit. She is excited and spoke with him on the phone. He asked to go out with her. They are currently in different states and even when in the same state next month, an hour and a half ride from each other.
Dating? I asked my daughter what was meant by going out, given that they barely know each other and are not likely to spend much time together in the near future. She couldn’t answer that question. But she did tell him “I will think about it.”
Fun and Fear: In her five years at boarding school, our daughter’s social life has been rich and tightly monitored. Now we are entering a new phase of “social”, though she will remain carefully supervised. Perhaps going out means chatting on Facebook but never really meeting up “face to face.” Perhaps it means phone calls and emails, safe contact and few fears. I am happy for her. She is having fun. There is no script for this chapter yet. Just the same old one, careful monitoring, and a mom sharing in the fun of a daughter’s new flirtation.
Dreams of a Mother: I use to dream that someday our daughter would marry a fellow who excelled in all the areas she didn’t. We came somewhat closer to that dream with her old boyfriend whose prowess with time, numbers and independent travel filled in some significant gaps. Now I am wiser and my dreams for her less edged in magical thinking. But you never know. Love is in the air. Perhaps.
©Jill Edelman, M.S.W., L.C.S.W. 2011