Autism, hope and dreams of college

Cathy Blatnik


At one time, the hubby and I had hopes that Dominic would go to college. My husband told other people, "I think Dominic will go to college!" As the years have gone by and we have watched him get further and further behind academically, both my husband and I have come to the conclusion that our dream of him going to college will probably not happen.

We had a meeting with his teacher early last week about which "path" we thought our son will be heading down this fall when he goes to the local high school. If this was a meeting about a "typically" developing teen, we would have been discussing the classes he would be taking in ninth grade and college plans. Instead, we discussed him earning a "Certificate of Completion," and continuing to learn basic self-care and life skills.

I think in that moment, I realized the dream I had been keeping in my head for all these years was gone. My entire focus, not just parts of it, instead should be on helping him to find those skills he is the best at.

Both my husband, Dominic's teacher and I are in agreement that we would love for Dominic to have a job. Legally, in Michigan, he can be in the school system until he is 26, so he is halfway done. Last week, I told three of my close friends about the meeting with Dominic's teacher. I have to admit, the first friend I told, I got kind of choked up and could feel myself on the verge of tears. It's one thing to think it, but to verbalize it has been difficult.

One thing I've discovered though, the more people I tell, the easier it gets. When Dominic was first diagnosed at 2 1/2 with Autism, I spent two weeks coming to terms with it. I think it is important to go through that process before you can move towards full acceptance. Finally letting go of my dream that Dominic will not be going to college took about a week. Now, it's time to move on!!


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