Mrs. K. recently sent this note to VGS after her son, Jake, met an important goal.
Even though it was 20 years ago, I still vividly remember when Jake was diagnosed with autism.
He could barely sit, he seemed deaf, he didn’t speak, he didn’t point, he didn’t laugh. He was just a quiet and still boy. All the signs were there, but I guess I tried not to see them.
Then when we started moving forward after that diagnosis, my mind was endless with worry. What is life going to be like? How will he communicate to me? Will he ever say momma? What kind of future will he have? Endless worry. But thanks to wonderful doctors, teachers, and therapists, we slowly made our way. Eye contact came, words finally came, and smiles made our days.
But a child with autism is so different than an adult with autism. The worry returns. And this time its worse. Ask any aging parent, worry about the future can be paralyzing. Hoping and praying for acceptance in what is now a sometimes unkind world, future goals, planning, and oh the expenses.
Again I find myself with worried filled nights, and feelings of regret that I have failed to do enough for my son. But today, today we had a victory. Its a small thing for most, but for us, its huge.
For the past year, Jake has been working at a shop in Fairport Harbor 8 hours a week. This week, they asked him to try a full day just to see how he would do. He did great, and they asked to have him for full days next week too. Then today, when dropping him off, I met with the managers; they shared that they love him, are proud of him, and are going to find as much as they can to keep him productive and busy as much as they can each day.
We are excited to announce, Jake is now employed and not just part time!!!
Today we had acceptance. Today we met a goal. Today we made new exciting goals. Today felt “normal” to us when our normal is so very different. And tonight, I will go to bed less worried, and so very thankful.
Please, don’t just be aware of autism, be accepting. ALWAYS choose your words and actions kindly.
We are so proud of Jacob.