I missed a coffee. It happens about once a year. Ok, maybe twice. My synapses just short out and even if I’m looking at my calendar, it doesn’t translate that Tuesday, March 12 at 9:30 is today, in fact right now, and that my desk is not Cafe Linger in College Park, even though my calendar is sending me notifications that that’s where I should be.
Transition is challenging for all of us, and if you don’t believe me, spend quality time with someone with autism in transition. It will reveal to you how your system actually responds to change. How I wish I could just sit down and say NO. How I WANT to have a meltdown a day, but instead I smile through grit teeth, carb load, and forget coffee dates. Possibly Henry’s method is a clearer approach to change aversion.
Step-by-Step is my mantra for seasons of change. In Arabic it is the much lovelier Sch-why-a Sch-why-a. I started saying that Arabic phrase a lot right after Henry’s graduation last May. I’m using it to soothe me when the step I’m taking is a step back, or to the side rather than the envisioned straight line.
I realized I needed to slow it down in the fall, when the post graduation plan of taking the bus to the Adult Vocational Program at OCA was met with projectile vomit. A lofty goal for sure but one we talked about and prepared for the last three years. Every time I tried to re-introduce the plan, hurling happened.
So we backed it out. Step-by-Step. Schwya, Schwya.
Step one — go back to your after school program at OCA. Even though you don’t go to school anymore. After school programs start at 2:30 p.m. midway through my work day — a series of driving schedules for myself, Mimi, Granddad, my husband, my boss, his dad and the HR department at work followed.
Check! He’s attended and was participating.
Step two — carry a plastic bag with a change of shirt and wipes. Vomiting gets you out of nothing, friend.
Check! No vomiting in anyone’s car or at OCA for over a month.
Step three — practice Access Lynx, Orlando’s disability bus service.
Check! We went through the application, the evaluation and approval process. We took our first bus ride last week with Mom as the companion. I was very nervous based on the six months of vomiting. When I tried to teach Henry how to use the app for tickets he looked at me with disdain and said in quite the neuro-typical teen voice, “Mom. It’s like at the airport.” Oh. Right.
I’m exhausted and I really needed that coffee date that I spaced. Schwya, Schwya though. Henry’s doing well. So much better than his summer of retirement. His language is back up to conversation, his focus and eye contact improved, and his lovely countenance and joyful nature returned.
In the last four weeks, The OCA show came back from hiatus (granted, a hiatus brought on by his refusal to go to OCA) and they even added a band. He started a paid internship as a greeter at the performing arts center where I work. He started the Adult program at OCA. He turned 23 this month. He rode the bus by himself (see victory pose above.) Schwya Schwya is the way to go.