Hallee’s been diagnosed with autism since she was very small. Before she was two she was receiving OT, PT, speech…you name it. I was very lucky to have an RN mother who saw some very early red flags and convinced me to get her evaluated. So here we are, with Hallee approaching 18. Autism is nothing new to me, it’s just a part of who Hallee is and I very rarely let myself get down about it. And then one day this week, I got this in the mail.
A notice for the upcoming junior’s parent night and college fair. It really threw me for a loop for a little while. Hallee as a 17 year old does work at an elementary level. She can read and write, and do simple math. I get so caught up in our own little insular world, what she can do at her own level (all of which I am screamingly proud of, by the way) that I’ve never really thought about what’s going on for her typically developing peers at this stage of their lives. They’re preparing for college, working part-time jobs, they may have girlfriends or boyfriends..they are becoming young adults. If Hal were NT, (neuro-typical) we’d be looking at colleges, talking to guidance counselors and going to this college fair.
I’m not gonna lie, gang. This made my heart hurt. Just for a little bit, I grieved again for what and who I thought Hallee would be when she was a baby. All the dreams about drivers tests, team sports, first dates, proms and college visits. So I was sad for a while…and that’s OK. It’s alright to be sad now and again for the dreams that just….aren’t.