Son Dan (18, autism) is a rising senior, and of course, his dad and I have already begun the search for an appropriate placement for him after graduation.
We have investigated College Internship Program, College Living Experience, Beacon College, Full Sail University, and Horizons School, plus several others we rejected immediately. Our dilemma is that we don’t know whether he will get a standard or modified diploma, which will set him on a particular trajectory. I have blogged about this before with “It All Boils Down To One Test,” which Dan recently came within TWO POINTS of passing on his second try. What is that, one question???? Anyway, I digress …. Jim and I have had private discussions of our preferences, and were wondering how we were going to tell him Full Sail was not an option because of the lack of on-campus residential facilities and transportation problems.
On our most recent vacation to fulfill his life-long dream of going to The Price is Right for his 18th birthday (he did not get called to “come on down”), we were talking with some friends over dessert who asked Dan what his after-high school plans were. I jumped in with “Well, it depends on this one test,” followed by a lengthy explanation, when he piped up, “I know where I want to go to college.” Wide-eyed, hubby and I looked at each other, and said “Really! Where do you want to go?” fearing an emotional debate on Full Sail right then and there. “Beacon College,” he said, OUR NUMBER ONE CHOICE! We were astonished and delighted!
Two great things came out of this. We got to explain to him that he had to pass this last state-mandated test to get a standard diploma to go to Beacon, so now he is really motivated. His wonderful public school is providing him with a summer tutor to help him pass his third retake, and we were not going to make him take it again after the third try. Dan said, “What happens if I fail again?” “Dad and I are not going to make you take this test 4 times (reading comprehension is a core deficit of autism, after all), but if you don’t pass, you can’t go to Beacon, but we will find a good place for you.” “Then I want to keep taking it until I pass.” My precious, precious boy. The second thing was the confirmation of God’s graciousness to us. I had been praying, “Father, just guide our steps. You don’t need to show me right now where he is going to go, I just know if You direct our next step, we will ultimately arrive at Your will for him. We know You have specific people You want to bless by bringing Dan into their lives. Take us there.” Of course, at this point, Beacon is not a fait accompli. He has to pass the test. He has to be accepted. But we feel better equipped for the journey because of this experience.
Full of surprises.
~ Danz Mom, Peggy