Gaduating and then?

tinkslite

Mouseketeer
Joined
May 13, 2008
[/GALLERY]DD is now about to graduate from hs for students with autism (private school, k-12, wide spectrum).
She is definitely a person with an INVISIBLE disability,to strangers, who usually assume she is several years younger than she is.
Her autism and Intellectual Disability co morbidity make logic and the connections between cause and effect very difficult for her. her diploma will be adjusted due to the fact that she was excused from taking our states high school proficiency exams. Her dietary and exercise habits are her weakest areas. She did not get early interventions, partly because the professionals didn't diagnose correctly, until nearly her teens.

The good news: She has participated, successfully, as a cheerleader on a year round all star special athletes team for two seasons, and all stars allows special athletes to continue and not "age out."
She has swum at the state special Olympics games twice and medaled both times.
She was recently honored with the title of Teen Miss Amazing for our state and will go on to the National Miss Amazing Pageant in LA, this July! (We plan to go to Disney for 4 days, after the pageant).

Why am I posting all this? because she has had a HUGE return of some old negative behaviors as her hs graduation grows closer! It's making me crazy! the lying, stealing from family members, junk food binges, HUGE HOURS LONG meltdowns are all back......sigh.

We have been considering life after hs. She has been very interested in animals for a long time, and is rather good with them. Our beloved dog died last June. We are thinking that volunteering to train a service puppy might be a good start. has anyone else tried something like that? She seems to do so well when she can lean into a routine, and has a responsibility (like big sis to a younger less able cheerleader on her team).
Her last IEP meeting is this coming Tuesday, and transition plans will be discussed (yeah, finally, like 5 weeks before she leaves).

Any thoughts?
Supportive comments only, please. I have enough criticism without inviting it from strangers.
 

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lanejudy

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Oct 27, 2011
She sounds like a busy girl! I'm thinking possibly her negative behaviors and escalating meltdowns are how she's coping (or not coping) with "senioritis" -- both the excitement of the upcoming milestone as well as the fear or frustration of what the future brings. For high school kids, school has been a steady routine for them for so very many years (basically the majority of life they are able to remember); I can certainly understand how kids who really thrive on routine might struggle with fear of losing that stability upon graduation. I think it's quite disappointing that her team has not worked on any transition plans until now; they have truly failed the student in that regard.

But...we can't gain back the past several months... so moving ahead...
Have you chatted with her about what she'd like to do next? I like your ideas about getting her involved with animals. Our local animal shelter loves to have dependable volunteers who go in regularly to play with and exercise the animals. She might be able to start learning a little more responsibility after volunteering there for a while. Does she know anyone in college? It may be too late for a college visit with an acquaintance, but maybe a chat with someone she knows who graduated last year. Is Community College an option, maybe for one or two basic courses? I know our CC has a couple of courses actually geared at high school seniors to help them prepare for post-secondary; I'm sure they could be taken post graduation as well.

Good luck at Tuesday's meeting!
 

bookwormde

<font color=darkorchid>Heading out now, another ad
Joined
Mar 16, 2008
Transitions are always stressful for our kids, so make sure to keep an close eye on her anxiety since that is the primary trigger for most of our kids behaviors.

The sooner she maps out her path forward and she get familiar with it the better.
 
  • barkley

    DIS Veteran<br><font color=orange>If I ever have a
    Joined
    Apr 6, 2004
    i suspect part of the behavioral issues are b/c of the impending graduation. it's scary for allot of kids (asd or not) to be facing life after high school, and it seems like our asd kids also view it as losing allot of the supports, routine and social aspects which is VERY scary for them. i think some initiate regressing behaviors b/c they believe (even if they logically know otherwise) that it will allow them to remain at school.

    just curious-is she aging out of the school (21) or is there the possibility she could 'super senior' (as we call it here) and stay in school to work on those transitional skills (at least in the public schools it's required that transition planning begin at 16, NO-WAY it should be at the IEP (should have been IEP/ITP since your dd turned 16) at the end of their senior year (we are dealing w/this right now w/ds b/c it's been lacking greatly in our opinion).

    as for the issues w/post high school-have you looked into DVR (department of vocational rehabilitation) to see what services they offer? they do assessments and can offer guidance/support into programs in your area. DDA (developmental disabilities administration) also offers services (some are age dependent) w/post high school programs. we're looking at things for ds in anticipation of his senior year (next year) and we've found-see if any community colleges offer special programs to help kids (w/some it's asd specific) transition from high school. at ours it's a mix of remedial academics, job/career assessment along w/life skills classes (and set up VERY much like high school w/classes back to back on a routine set number of days a week schedule). if she likes animals-see if any of your local animal societies offer volunteer opportunities. some will that once a special needs person succeeds at the entry level will provide opportunities to be trained to take on more challenging and varied opportunities. one of the kids in ds's asd teen group volunteered last summer at one of our local shelters-he loves animals and the staff quickly realized that a great fit for him initially was working with the kittens to socialize them for adoption (he would pet them, play with them, get them used to being handled). he loved this, and as time went on he moved on to working w/other animals in socializing them. parents reported (at our parents group) that they saw a big improvement w/him in a lot of areas as he continued w/this work-it seemed like where he previously didn't get 'cause and effect' when applied to his own behaviors he got it when it came to the animals which over time he started applying to his own actions/reactions.

    the only thing i would caution on w/service dog training-is your dd going to be able to deal w/letting go of that dog once training is completed? i have completely neuro typical family members who are HUGE animal lovers/volunteer at all levels-but draw the line at training service animals b/c they KNOW they absolutely that they could not handle emotionally the severing of the relationship w/the dogs they would be training. you might want to consider that before pursing this.

    best wishes to you/dd-congrats to her on graduating!!!!!!!
     

    tinkslite

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    May 13, 2008
    UPDATE!
    Graduation went well, and she even received an academic achievement awRd from the faculty.
    She has been hired by a small family company that makes cheerleading bows and bling ( she loves crafting so this is a great start).
    She has also begun sewing and tennis lessons.
    I just wanted those who made suggestions to know we've had a good start.
    The behaviors seemed to subside as we eased into Summer. graduation was obviously triggering a great deal of anxiety.
     

    lanejudy

    Moderator
    Moderator
    Joined
    Oct 27, 2011
    Yeah! :cheer2: I'm glad she's settling into a post-high school routine that fits her well! Thanks for sharing a follow-up.
     

    Goddesstree

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jun 24, 2013
    That's great news! What are your plans for her for the future? Do you think she'd like to be in assisted living/group home in the near future? Just asking because my cousin had to get her daughter on the list the day she turned 18, and it took almost a year to find a suitable place for her. Not sure if that's a goal for your family, or if that is possible for your daughter even, but it's the one thing I remember my cousin struggling with after her daughter aged out of her school program.
     
  • tinkslite

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    May 13, 2008
    She may be able to do that, but no we aren't looking at that right now. I don't expect her neurotypical brother to live without parental assistance at 18 or 19 so I would not expect it of her, either.
     

    DisneyOma

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 27, 2015
    She may be able to do that, but no we aren't looking at that right now. I don't expect her neurotypical brother to live without parental assistance at 18 or 19 so I would not expect it of her, either.
    Why not? Wouldn't he be in college or working full time?
     


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