Pervasive Parenting by Kodey Toney
Function At The Junction if you want to know what you really look like ask a person on the autism spectrum. This is because they are usually brutally honest and concrete thinkers. With this in mind I wanted to share some things I’ve learned in the past couple weeks from working with young-adults on the spectrum.
The Pervasive Parenting Center began a social group this summer for young adults on the spectrum. This is to help them prepare for “The Real World” as they start to think about education, jobs, living on their own, etc. My wife, Jennifer, and I are working with them a couple times a week, and we have four participants. It has been a great experience. The thing is, I’m learning as much, if not more, from them as they are from me.
I wanted to share a few of the, what I thought were, brilliant observations I’ve heard in the groups.
When we began talking about self-advocacy, we began on the subject of politics. This is something nobody really wants to cover. However, one of the group members described it in a way I feel most of us probably can relate. He summed it up by saying, “When I try to understand politics I feel like I’m walking out of a Michael Bay movie.”
I agree! We can usually come out of a conversation with someone about politics feeling confused, bitter, angry, and/or disappointed.
When we discussed moving into the “real world” the conversation went from living arrangements to getting a job, and finding friends. One of the members described real life like this: “After high school graduation I thought, ‘Great I will get away from all the drama,’ but I just graduated to the drama of life.”
So true. There is drama everywhere you turn.
We talked a little about disabilities and what that might mean. We kicked around the thoughts of the use of special needs, or disorders. I explained how Kruz said his brother has special abilities. One of the group members said that disability does not describe anyone, or who they really are as a person. This is what I try to explain to everyone in my trainings. However, another said that she feels like she just has an “alternate function”. I felt this was a great way to explain it.
I’ve reinforced some of the things that I already knew. One of these things is that people on the spectrum want jobs, friends, happiness, and to live meaningful lives. What a crazy concept. And with the help of society, they can.
More than anything they all explained that they want to be productive members of society. To be honest that is more than some people in society without an alternate function.