Moving Along

Posted: July 1st, 2010 under communication, education, life on the spectrum, parenting.
Tags: , , , , ,

M- is now in his sixth week of living on his own in an apartment in the city.   I haven’t been to his apartment since week four;  R- has picked him up on Friday to come  up here for Friday night through Sunday morning, then R- takes him to church, and then ice-skating.   (The Sunday bus schedule makes it impossible for him to navigate apartment to church, or even count on a bus home from ice-skating.)  Last week, M- managed both legs of the afterschool trip to the ice rink and then home to his apartment.

Last week, M- told us he’d made a 90 on a test (whoopee!)  and we heard from people at church that he’s been telling them about his apartment.    The church office called this week and asked for his new address; I suggested that he email them with it instead of doing it myself.   So I sent him the church email address, and he emailed in his address.  Today it was his social worker in this county…I did the same, and he emailed me when he’d done it.

This week also, storms knocked the power out to his apartment for several hours (he told me by email afterwards)…but he was fine, though (from the tone of the email) annoyed.   I remember the years when he panicked when the power went off…and how, finally, he began to understand that power goes off…and comes back on.    Now it’s not a terror anymore, or even an “adventure”…just the kind of annoyance most of  us think it is.

His emails are shorter and farther apart…and I’m delighted, though I’d like more communication (what mother wouldn’t?) especially about grades.  But his independence is more important than my comfort level with uncertainty.


  • Comment by Andrea — July 11, 2010 @ 12:12 pm


    I just found this blog. I read the book when it came out because I have a son on the spectrum who is 24 now. I plan to read backwards here and see your family’s story.

  • Comment by Elizabeth — July 19, 2010 @ 7:29 am


    Andrea, most of this blog isn’t about our family’s story, but about autism and disability issues in general. I started posting about M-‘s progress in college and towards living on his own this spring because I thought it would be of general interest.

  • Comment by susanna eve — July 25, 2010 @ 4:49 am


    I am a big fan of your fiction:) But I read this blog because I have a daughter with severe developmental delays and learning disabilities. She is only 13 but your blog gives me hope that she will continue to learn more skills and have increases in independence even well into her 20s. Thanks for sharing so much.

  • Comment by Elizabeth — July 25, 2010 @ 7:54 am


    In Clara Park’s second book about her autistic daughter, Exiting Nirvana, she says that her daughter was still learning skills in her forties. I think the tendency is still to quit trying with disabled people once they reach 18 or 22, on the grounds that that’s as far as they’ll go…but it’s not true, even though many non-disabled people seem to freeze at that age. When our son was twelve, there was no real sign of his being able to live independently some day, though I clung to that hope. So I’m convinced that many more kids would continue to learn and develop new skills than most people think.

    Though I do know what an additional burden that puts on parents…when other parents can expect a release from total responsibility, there we are, still plodding along.

  • Comment by susanna eve — July 30, 2010 @ 10:00 am


    I continue to hope too. I am trying to find a copy of Clara Park’s book, it sounds like one i should read.

  • Comment by Elizabeth — July 30, 2010 @ 10:36 am


    By the time she wrote _Exiting Nirvana_, she was more willing to disclose about her daughter; she was understandably very protective in the first book (using a pseudonym for her daughter, for instance) because she was only eight or nine when the book was written. The amount of help and support that she and her husband were able to provide would be astonishing even now, but was downright miraculous for the time.

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