Tara and her sons, Wyatt and Rye.

Tara and her sons, Wyatt and Rye.

Today I’m having one of those days when you are forced to think about something extremely difficult, stressful and hard simply because your time is up in delaying thinking about it.

I have to admit I hesitated in sharing what I am about to share, but I do so knowing that by sharing it maybe I can help another parent dealing with the same thing.  That is after all the reason I write these tips every month, so here goes nothing…

Today I needed to finally respond to several emails regarding my opinion on the future plans for my son Rye. As most of you know, at least if you’ve read any previous tips I’ve written, that Rye is my twelve-year-old son who is differently-abled.

Rye is an amazing kid who happens to be on the autism spectrum. Rye is in sixth grade. It would be accurate to say that Rye’s transition to middle school has been pretty challenging for him.

Today, after spending the past few days thinking about what I’ve learned professionally over the past twenty-five years and feeling extremely thankful for all the professionals I’ve worked with, I finally responded to the question, “what are my thoughts concerning next school year?”  Here is what I said after discussing my thoughts on Rye’s current academic level and after outlining Rye’s opinion on the matter:

I don’t really know what all the options are but I want what I’ve always want for Rye.  I want him to feel happy and good about trying his best.  I want him to learn and be a good learner.  I want him to be prepared for a world as an adult that I eventually won’t be a part of and that is what is very scary for me (and every parent I know).  

I want him to be able to work in a job that promotes his full potential as a person.  I want more than sheltered employment. I want more than stocking shelves or cleaning off a table in the food court.  I want him to start working on what he needs to know if he wants to go to cooking school, or become a construction worker, or maybe even a day care provider.  He has many wonderful skills.  He has talent.  I worry very much he is not working on what he needs to work on now to be able to do any or all of these things in just 6 and a half more years.  

I know that is all A LOT of big goals and dreams and hope for him discovering his full potential as a person.  So… how do we get all of that into the IEP? 

I know I’m hard and expect a lot but thanks for continuing to support Rye’s dreams and ours!   I do think all of this is possible if we find a way to help him make it happen!”  

Today I ask all of you who work with, teach, or who parent somebody who is differently-abled to keep your dreams big, shoot for the moon.

Everybody’s journey is different.

Everybody learns differently.

Being different doesn’t make anything impossible, it just makes the path to all the possibilities different.

Let’s all make some new paths!