AUTISM AWARENESS: The Ghost of Christmas Future

These stories don’t usually have ‘happy endings’.

That’s what they don’t tell you in blog articles. Or Lifetime movies. Or short YouTube viral videos.

Someone commented on my post the other day — ‘for these kids, there is no 3rd act’.

First acts in stories are when you set up a problem. 2nd acts are when you face obstacles. You struggle. Things get tough. Tension gets high. 3rd acts are when you turn the tables. Fix your problems. Win the day.

Not to generalize, many kids do develop to the point where they can be good/strong citizens with minimal assistance. Some overcome their challenges and go on to productive lives. Some so-called ‘higher-functioning’ really do have great productive futures.

Many others don’t.

Some get worse. Or maybe their symptoms get less appropriate. Yelling, grunting, biting is less tolerable in a 250 pound 20 year old then a 4 year old.

Some kids end up in group-homes. Many kids live with their parents all their lives. Then when their parents pass, well…they’re forced into a new life.

It might be one of the biggest differences between some special needs parents and typical parents. Generally, the optimism for the future isn’t strong. The future doesn’t hold the hope of a future adult that becomes a rocket-scientist and is a star athlete…or even someone that gets a good job, settles down, has kids off their own.

Thinking about the future brings a large set of worries and dark thoughts.

The reality is sobering. This might be as good as it gets. Things might get worse.

As a generally optimistic person, it’s a mindset that’s new to me. Otherwise foreign.

Even the near future can be worrisome. What happens next year, what happens in 3rd grade, or middle school. What happens when we’re gone? How can this guy who doesn’t adjust to new things adjust to new people? A new home?

There’s not a lot of strong programs for these kids right now post high-school.

But here’s where I get optimistic.

Awareness/Inclusion is happening.

I see stories of communities built for kids, of better programs, of big companies picking up the ball and giving jobs with support. I see parents starting businesses tailored made for kids to do meaningful work.

Medicine gets better…but to be honest I don’t hold out much hope for a ‘cure’ or even a ‘small fix’…but I do think the world might provide a place or some role for these guys and girls.

I just hope it comes soon enough.

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