Yesterday, Brandon experienced yet another grand mal seizure. This time, the paramedics needed to take him to the hospital to care for the cuts and scratches they found on his face, head and hands. Brandon remained at the hospital for over five hours waiting for someone to attend to his wounds. When he was released, he rode the bus home.
Brandon has many limitations and struggles with everyday life, but he is a survivor. People ask me if he has always been that way or if it is something new. Brandon went into survivor mode when he began to live on his own, thirteen years ago. Brandon has been learning life, one step at a time by living it. I have learned over the years, how to teach Brandon the basic tools of survival for an adult with autism and special needs.
Several days a week I teach Brandon a new life lesson. When Brandon is experiencing confusion, indecision, and uncertainty, or he is upset we are able to talk about it over the phone to get him over the hurdles. Brandon knows that no matter what he tells me, that I am there for him. I make sure to speak with a positive tone and without being judgmental.
I have spent the last thirteen years helping Brandon to build his self-esteem, improve negative behaviors, and self- acceptance. He is growing and changing in ways no one expected. A solid foundation for our kids is a must. In order to develop and grow, they need to know you are there for them, no matter what. They need to be treated with respect, dignity and most of all they must be accepted for who they are.
It is projected that in the next 15 years 500,000 autistic children will become adults. How does a parent prepare a child with an autism spectrum disorder to become independent?
It is best to begin right now no matter what your child’s age and give him/her the foundation of trust, love and acceptance. Sometimes this is much easier said than done and I am aware of that. Start with baby steps and learn as much as you can about your child’s condition, while working on yourself to be the best you can be.
Brandon is an extremely complex individual with numerous limitations, which at one time were his weakness, but now they are his strengths. No one knows better than a mom how to work best with their child. You have everything you need inside you. You must find the courage to forge ahead, no matter what comes you way.
I am in the process of making up a list of the life lessons I have taught Brandon, as I believe they are universal and can help other parents along the path. I have created a new organization to help autistic adults to move towards independence with dignity and respect, and I will tell you more about that next time.
Thirty-seven years ago when my son, Brandon, was born, I had no one to talk to and now it is my time to give back to parents something I wished I had. I am offering a free phone consultation to help get you started.