Happy end of summer, friends. How was your three months? Ours was so - s0. Gianna finished school forever. She turned 22 in July. By all rights, she should be working in a full time job after having graduated from a good college, like her Mom 3 decades before her. Instead, I had to have her tested OUT OF EMPLOYMENT by a Connecticut agency so that she could get into a day program. Miss G is smart, funny and in our house, the shining star in terms of her speech, skills, self-care, etc. But outside of our home, Miss G is fully autistic and frankly unable to work at this time.
Imagine being GRATEFUL for a letter that says your child is too disabled to work? I was. It meant she had a safe, meaningful start in her day program. I sent her with her older sister Mia. It's not ideal for G, from this I know. She is not as impaired as the other consumers. For the first time in her life, SHE is the most typical person in the room. How about that. I wanted her to have this opportunity to show her stuff. She keeps the calendar (if you know her, I know you're smiling) and organizes the day, while she earns time on her iPhone to watch The Wonder Pets - or at least to look at a photo of the Nick Jr. schedule. Her team is smart, creative and I really respect and admire every one of them.
Labor Day here isn't the end of summer. It's not the end of anything. We don't have seasons or breaks or times that are easier or harder. Every day is work for my girls. Unpaid work. Communicating a simple need for Bella. Managing her worry for Gianna. Making sure her outfit is black or pink, based on time of day, for Mia.
We understand in our community. Those outside? Blissfully and willfully unaware.
It's the last day of Summer. Until next summer.
Kim Rossi is Managing Editor for Age of Autism and author of the memoir All I Can Handle I'm No Mother Teresa. If you'd like to hire her for your conference, fund raiser, event to entertain, speak, rant, maybe rave, about life raising three girls with autism, divorce and other charming events - contact Jamie Brickhouse at The Red Brick Agency in New York. No, really. LOL!