A few months ago, my older son George turned ten. I felt a sense of wonderment at the fact that I had actually succeeded in keeping a human being alive for an entire decade. To put this into perspective, let me just say that as a kid I ripped the limbs off my dolls. I was not exactly a poster child for parenting potential. I know more than a few people who might legitimately be surprised that I’ve been more-or-less successful as a mother.
As George blew out his birthday candles, though, I also felt a jolt of terror. These ten years have gone so quickly, and in just eight more short years, my firstborn child will be nominally (although probably not academically) ready to graduate high school.
But wait! Before that even happens, before we have to make scary decisions about adulthood and post-school life, we have to navigate the stormy teenage years – a period that I don’t think any parent looks forward to, never mind the parent of a child with autism. (more…)