Graduation: A bittersweet milestone for the family of a student with autism
Tina Meade, Mother of Daniel Meade, Bancroft Class of 2018
It’s graduation time and our family is twice as proud: Both our son and daughter are graduating high school! No, they aren’t twins; our son has autism, so he has had a different path and a few more years of school. We are very proud of them and what they have achieved.
Our daughter is in the National Honor Society, involved in Student Government, clubs and sports and has many friends. She is planning to attend a big university in the fall and has her plan for the future. We have no doubt she will succeed! Just like most parents of high school graduates, we may be teary-eyed at graduation and when we drop her off at college, but we are genuinely happy for her.
Our son’s graduation, on the other hand, is truly bittersweet. He has accomplished more than we ever dreamed and has worked hard to get here. Every day is a struggle for him. He has to work to communicate with others and hope they understand him. He also has to deal with anxiety if his routine is changed in any way. We are proud and happy for him, yet we are terrified about his future and all the changes that are about to take place.
Unlike most parents of kids with autism, we are extremely lucky that he is in a program that provides a group home and an adult day program for him. We won’t have to worry about the constant fight to find services to keep his days busy. He will go to an adult day program where he will stay busy with activities using his skills. We don’t care if he ever gets paid a cent for his work; our only hope is that he finds something that he enjoys and gives him a sense of fulfillment.