1. Erna
    June 18, 2018 @ 10:43 am

    Have a party, and rent a tent, and make a HUGE deal of it. Its HIS life, and take pride in what he can and will accomplish. Yes- it is different, but its HIS different, and that’s okay. Just as there are lots of parents of neuro-typical kids who also aren’t the “medal-getters” and “award-getters” who also need to take pride in what their kid that was great/cool/wonderful. As the mom of two special needs kiddos- we all need to stop and take a breath, and remember that there are a lot of kids who do need recognition for their individual milestones, whether big or small.


  2. Jennifer
    June 18, 2018 @ 11:20 am

    Have a party. I will come and I will wear his favorite color and drive my Mini Cooper. I will come and celebrate who Jack is, how much he has accomplished, and support him in navigating his hopes and dreams. Rent the tent. We all want to celebrate him:)


  3. Mary Beth Danielson
    June 18, 2018 @ 11:46 am

    There is a 22-year old young woman in my church who has issues that are not autism, but she has them and it will affect her and her moms all their lives. When she told me last summer she was getting her GED that week, my husband and I turned coffee hour into a Graduation Party. Nope, not the Big Deal other kids get, but in our community, there were SO many hugs and congratulations and love. This is not to console you, because you are making your own path. But just to say there were FIFTY people who know her, know her story, and were super happy to celebrate with her that she accomplished this. In the past year she has worked 6 hours per day, 5 days per week, as a kitchen tech helper in a school kitchen.

    And BTW, I started seeing her and talking to her and liking her so much – because i have been reading your website so long that I see people I didn’t used to see so well.


  4. ihavefoodissues
    June 18, 2018 @ 11:50 am

    Hi Carrie,

    I have a son with autism – high-functioning as well. When he was 12 he insisted on burning his homework in the pellet stove. I’m not sure I remember much at 14, but by 16 he planned his own birthday party with a movie and pizza and invited his autistic friends over. His autistic girlfriend asked him out that night. He is now 20. He got his GED through a special program with vocational rehab and is learning to build houses. He even goes to the local college and this year got his driver’s license. These are all things that I never thought he’d do when he was 14. You never know when something will click.

    Keep reaching for the stars.



  5. Tabitha O’Connor
    June 18, 2018 @ 11:55 am

    We had a party when Will got his GED. The program he participated in to prepare for the test even did a graduation ceremony. He walked the stage in cap and gown, even received a tassel to keep. A GED is absolutely worthy of a celebration! Balloons, cake, and all! You’re doing a great job, Mama! The struggle is real, but you and Jack are going to make it together. ❤️


  6. Cheryl
    June 18, 2018 @ 12:11 pm

    My son has asperger’s. 19 years on this journey. Biggest heart ever, fewest friends ever. I have 4 boys. He is my youngest. Your blogs help me to see him thru different glasses but do i feel alone, most of the time. It gets so much harder as they get older because of the socialization and ackwardness. What about his future? What about his employment? What anout mine? Such a tough journey, thank you for your blogs that help us to feel not so alone


  7. GP
    June 18, 2018 @ 12:22 pm

    He is only 14…This is just the beginning!

    It took us lots of trial and error to find the right activities. And they don’t tend to last forever, but they usually provide a source of enjoyment and learning for a while.

    How about Special Olympics, an adaptive gymnastics class, or an adaptive dance class like Hip Hop? A lot of counties have buddy sports as well. Or how about chorus?

    Of course there are the Boy Scouts, or Scouts BSA as they are now known since they started admitting girls. Girl scouts were very flexible, and one can always start their own troop and invite siblings and classmates to join. It’s nice to be the scout leader because that way, one can structure the meetings and prepare one’s child well in advance. The activities are extremely wide-ranging and each completed activity leads to earning a badge.

    Last but not least, maybe you could advocate and work with your son’s school to have a small performance at school during the year and an end-of-the year ceremony. At my daughter’s school, they have three performances per year (usually they sing a group song, perform a brief, heavily adapted play, and then there is another chorus performance at the end of the year. At the end of the year, they also have an award ceremony. Awards are based on an individual’s strength or achievement demonstrated during the school year. Afterwards, they have a party for the students and their families.

    Every so often, I catch myself thinking that maybe my child should be “mainstreamed” and wondering if we are holding her back by not mainstreaming. But, this kind if thinking is so very tricky and sneaky because it is paralyzing. It tries to suck us in to preoccupy our minds with worries and fears and leaves no room for living in the moment and planning activities for the present.

    And it is ableist thinking. I don’t want to be ableist. That’s why I ask myself, why should my child be at a mainstream school where they don’t have the time and resources to really focus on my child’s needs? Why should she go to a mainstream school where few, if any, have a vested interest in helping my child find happiness and fulfillment? And why should jobs requiring higher education automatically be associated with more prestige than jobs that require no college, but that allow someone to earn a paycheck and to find some happiness and fulfillment?

    Awards and special days and college are what we have been taught to strive for, but my child is teaching me to reexamine all of it. She is also teaching me not to get caught up in my own fears and to think outside the box instead. Not easy, but it gradually does get easier.

    Wishing you all the best, and thank you for your blog!


  8. Merceda
    June 18, 2018 @ 2:33 pm

    Wow, this week was even more thought-provoking for me than normal. 1.) High-functioning Momma needs a party for navigating life with a high-functioning son, AND four other children and all you have achieved, too! My chest tightens just reading this and having to navigate life with only one high-functioning daughter. 2.) Every. Single. Achievement … I try to focus on the interesting and beautiful. Otherwise, the different complicated exhausting mysterious sometimes frustrating all the time real gets too overwhelming, and to what end – other than a shortened lifespan for me due to the stress. 3.) Depending upon how Jack deals with parties, tents, and cake with blue writing … I’m not saying don’t celebrate and honor his extraordinary achievements; he definitely earned it. I just wouldn’t want him stressed as a result of all the hubbub … having the exact opposite intended effect. You’ve got this either way. Hugs!


  9. Audrey Bueno
    June 19, 2018 @ 6:45 pm

    Great article. Autism is a double-edged sword, indeed. This analogy couldn’t have been more precise. Our everyday lives become this way, everything feels like it is split in a half, we end up split like that, half-here, half-there, but never whole again.


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