There was a meeting at the school yesterday for my oldest son, who is 13 and mildly autistic. He was the first of my children to be diagnosed with a learning disability, with his 8-yr old brother being labeled with autism just a couple of years after him, and the 6-yr old simply was labeled, delayed learning. But this was many years ago since we discovered this. My oldest is in a middle school now and this meeting was with the guidance counselor for career planning. I'm thinking, what does a 13-yr old know about what he wants for a career?
Well, what it really was is college planning, to see how to have his classes planned out. Turns out the kid is pretty darn smart, which I already knew, but his test scores are so high, that he can get into the special program. He is in the honors classes now, which is the highest of the regular classes. If he keeps up the high scores and grades, he can get into the advanced placement classes. Then, if his SAT scores are high enough, he can get into the dual enrollment college program, where he takes high scool classes and college classes at the same time. He would just have to keep up high scores and grades (3.5 and up average) and do 7 months of community service, and his college fees and tuition would be entirely paid for, meaning we would only have to buy the books.
His first report card of the year was out a couple of weeks ago, he had 4 Bs and 3 As. Not bad for a kid who only had a vocabulary of about 15-20 words at age 3 and couldn't even hold a pencil in kindergarten. Being autistic, he has no interest in friends, socialization, or many other things teens spend their time on. He wants to do his homework as soon as he gets home. He did start out in EX ED classes, and has worked his way up to mainstream classes. Not every autistic, or perhaps not many at all, are able to transition to mainstream classes, and rather than seeing myself as unlucky to have disabled children, I consider myself lucky to have them as wonderful as they are.
Some people you may have heard of such as Jenny McCarthy and Dan Marino have autistic sons. Dan and his wife Claire founded the Dan Marino Foundation and have put much time and money into several facilities and research, you can find info on this on the web too. It is never too much to hope for more, and many of these children can improve--my son used to score in the range of retardation on tests, and now he can get in the high range on FCAT and perfect scores on several standard math tests. He has come a long way. Yes, I am very lucky indeed to have such a smart, loving, caring, and autistic child.
Tags: Autism College Children