Imagine, someone tells you your child will only reach an intelligence of a middle schooler. Imagine how much this makes a parent feel. Just yesterday, a parent of a young child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder asked me a about his child’s future.
All parents have hopes, dreams, and goals for their children. They want what is best for them. They want their child to grow up to be healthy, happy and successful.
You may be wondering, why did this parent ask me for advice? Well, I am a young adult who has PDD-NOS, which is on the autism spectrum. So this parent wanted to know what I had to say on this specific topic. I am very glad that this parent felt comfortable enough to ask me this question, as it triggered lots of thoughts in my brain, which is a good thing!
My first thought was, how does a doctor know that the child, at such a young age will only reach a certain intelligence level. In my mind, this is something that is so hard to predict. In elementary school, I was 1-2 grade levels behind my typical peers. But, I learned and caught up, by the time I was in middle school, I was at the same grade level as my typical peers. This continued in high school, I earned all of the credits I needed to graduate, and passed the graduation state test.
It is hard to think that your child or children may not have a typical future. But, what is typical or normal anyway? And who decides what a so called typical future is? For some reason society seems to feel that a typical future, is going to college, living independently, and getting married. But really, in my mind all that is important is happiness and success. If your child is happy, and successful, that is what is most important.
I have learned to live life as it comes, the future doesn’t always have to be a scary thought. Because I know, as long as I am happy, and feel successful, it doesn’t matter which direction life takes me in, because everything is going to be alright.
Chloe Rothschild. is a 20 year-old, self-advocate who is passionate about educating others about autism. She is a young leader for the Autistic Global Initiative, a program through the Autism Research Institute. She writes about sensory issues and differences, communication difficulties, meltdowns and debunking autism myths. In her free time she enjoys drawing and painting monsters, both on paper, and on the computer.