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Autism and the Teenager March 17, 2015

Posted by hopeauthority in Autism, autism activities, autism diet, autism teen, humor, Parenting, special needs, specific carbohydrate diet.
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He turned 13 this week. A teenager now.

Oh My God. How did this happen?

On one hand, I feel like it was yesterday when he was born, then diagnosed at almost 2. Maybe the fact that his autism had us locked into the “terrible twos” for ten years has something to do with my disbelief that my little man is now a teen. Yet on the other hand, I feel like I’m 102 and I can’t remember life before autism.

I had to laugh at all the Facebook friends who saw the birthday post that I have a teen… and started warning me to go out and buy hair color now. Hello? “Now”? “Now”, you say? Where have you been? Honey, I’ve been Clairol’s best customer for this whole 11 year ride. (Of course, I’ve been known to sport that gray “skunk stripe” more times than I’d like to recall when I didn’t have the time to get to the salon.)

Anyway, autism has grayed me, and aged me. And the teenage years to come scare me.

The hormones kicked in about a year ago, along with the teenage angst and the mustache. How is it that the kid has a mustache at 12 anyway? Seventh grade seems young to me for that. My boy. He is so gorgeous with his green eyes, slim build, long hair and ready smile. He could model…if only he could sit still and focus long enough.

I worry about his attraction to girls and their attraction to him. I see heartbreak and frustration coming. He isn’t “typical” enough for a relationship yet. Maybe someday. But he desperately wants to make connections and is trying so hard, though he lacks the conversational skills. His life-long desire to hug everyone, once cute, is getting awkward now as he grows to an already 5’4′ tall. Language is the one thing, no, the biggest thing, that prevents him from the breakthrough we all feel is right on the other side of that invisible wall.

He’s come so far though. I never thought he’d talk when he was first diagnosed. And while I can’t really yet imagine it, I am hopeful he will live a somewhat independent life someday. He takes dance and piano and acting lessons. He plays basketball, baseball and lacrosse on special needs teams. And in one of the greatest feats ever: He sang a two minute song…Do you Hear the People Sing from Les Miserables!…all alone with only an instrumental accompaniment while competing in a suit and tie in a local pageant on the stage of a large community theater. Massive accomplishment. Yet, he can’t hold a conversation.

You know what? Conversation is overrated. Today is a day to celebrate how far my wonderful teenager has come. And how bright his future will be. How bright all their futures will be.

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Brag on: What has your child accomplished that you never thought he/she would? Or what do you fear your child will never accomplish?