This May, my son graduates from college with his B.F.A. degree. Like most mothers, I am so very proud. Yet, my story is a journey through the highs and lows of having a son who has learning issues on the Autism Spectrum.
When my son began college, I became his school aide. Having great difficulty with executive functions, I became his organizer and planner. He was sharp with his work , but needed help to navigate the process. We worked side by side, setting up weekly and even daily meetings to discuss the projects due . I developed a homework plan that compensated for his challenges with learning. The planning worked very well and he excelled with his projects. He worked at his own pace, taking three classes at a time . Focusing on less, helped him to handle the workload . The classes were six hours long in his specialty, so he had to have some modifications.
I always told him to run his own race!!! This piece of advice helped him to see that each one of us has a method that works toward success! So he paced himself and worked towards his B.F.A. over the course of 9 years, taking 2 years off in between his associate and bachelor degree.
His grades reflected A’s and B’s which gave him great confidence in his accomplishments. His journey took longer than most but with less pressure he was able to perform at his best level.Sometimes , it is not how fast you are but how steady and determined you are that truly matters. He never thought of quitting for a moment.
I stood by him and got him through all the challenges, the planning, the late night courses I drove him to because his medication would make him very sleepy at the end of the day. The pep talks, the conversation around the table after the long day. He knew he had a support system. That is so key for students that are on the spectrum. What is most important is to have the support and love of parents and siblings. We were a village for him and because of his drive and our loving support, he made it!!
On May 18, 2017, he graduates!!! I am beyond words!!! He has taught me more valuable lessons about being the best mom I could be.
This moment is my gift for Mother’s day. I am truly very blessed!