My 27 year old son has Asperger’s Syndrome. If you’re familiar with the disorder, you know that many adults with Asperger’s still live at home or in group home settings. It isn’t that they aren’t intelligent or capable of taking care of themselves most of the time. It’s that they can’t navigate the neurotypical world very well and often find themselves overwhelmed by it.
My son has done well, considering the fact that he wasn’t diagnosed until he was 19 and away at college. He didn’t fare well in college, but I suspect that the real problem was being 6 hours away from home without the day to day support he needed. So he never finished college.
But he has had a full time job for over a year now (part time and Social Security Disability before that). He is able to drive and get around (thanks in no small part to Mapquest).
A week ago he passed another milestone – he signed a lease on his own apartment. It was the perfect space for him – an in-law apartment. He has a bedroom, living room and small kitchen.
It seemed to take forever for him to pack up his room. He may have had only one room, but it was filled with books, CD’s, DVD’s, video games and other things. Clothing was in the distinct minority. But it finally got done with just a small bit of prodding.
Then the room was empty . . . . and I wondered how I could miss someone so much when I hardly heard from him when he was here. He may have lived in that room, but he wasn’t very noticeable. He was always reading, listening to things with headphones or on his computer. He came out of his room for bathroom trips and to eat. Recently there had been a few trips out just to converse — very surprising and delightful. It was one of the ways we knew he was ready to live on his own.
So he is gone and I miss him fiercely. But I rejoice that he had been able to do this and I pray that this will help him survive on his own when we are gone. That’s always a fear in the back of the mind of any parent who has a child who is different in some way. What will happen to my child when I die?
Today he had to get his car to the mechanic — he had no brakes. He just called to tell me what the mechanic said. Basically, they wonder if he wants to put money into it – it has some other problems he didn’t even know about. So I sent my husband to pick him up and together they are going to the mechanic to see what is really the problem.
While my husband is stressed about the finances of this considering the lease has been signed for a year, I know he will come up with a solution. He is a financial wizard. He has also been an incredible father figure in my son’s life – far better than my son’s biological dad was or could have been. We have both been blessed to have this man in our lives.
So cross your fingers and say your prayers. We either need simple problems with the car he has or an extremely inexpensive car that is sound for him to buy.
Either way, he’s on his own with support nearby. That’s a good thing.