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Terri Mauro

What Will Your Child Do After High School?

By January 15, 2013

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StoryI asked what you'd put on your special-needs wish list, and a recent submission describes a situation many of us fear might happen to our kids as they age out of all those special-education services we're always fighting for. Writes rastamama10:

"If I could have a wish it would be that my twenty-two-year-old be able to attend a day program that will give him a feeling of purpose in life. I have four sons with special needs, but he is the oldest and graduated from the BOCES program four years ago. Since then, he has been home with nothing to because we haven't been able to find a program that will accept him. Maybe he has too many disabilities for staff to handle? He has heart disease and has a pacemaker/defibrillator, has M.R. and is also a Schizophenic, but what he is more than right now is SAD. I am SAD for him, every day he watches his brothers go to school and he has no place to go. I take him out as much as I can, but he wants friends too. When I hear him in his room taking and singing to himself, it hurts me so bad. Every day he walks back and forth in the hallway just waiting for someone to come visit so he can have a conversatioin with. I wish my son could go to a program every day and be happy in his life."

My own kids are both out of high school now, and I've felt very lucky that they've been able to make it in community college -- if nothing else, it puts the decision on what to do with the rest of their lives off for a few years. I know of plenty of kids from my son's self-contained track, though, who have graduated to nothing much more than sitting home bored and worrying their parents. Do you know what your child will be doing when he or she graduates or ages out? If you feel like it's time to start thinking in that direction, read my article about transition to adulthood (and see if I've gotten to your state in my local information guides), and check some book reviews on future planning. And if there's something on your wish list -- short-term, long-term, about your young child or your young adult -- share it on the Readers Respond page.


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