As much attention as I place on my own academic progress, it’s not hard to imagine that I want my children to have the opportunity to go to college or to pursue whatever other vocational and educational advancements they may choose for themselves.
Right now, Willy’s artistic abilities along with his interest in space and his eye for dimensions make architecture a promising field for him to pursue. He also wants to make movies someday. Alex’s interests tend to lean more towards drawing and manipulating letters, so his horizon is full of its own artistic potential, whether it is as a visual artist or a writer. Whereas, Ben tends to lean more towards drama—he’s a showman and loves reciting stories.
Any and all of these interests could be furthered with advanced training. Some careers in these areas require college degrees. Others could be pursued professionally without a degree, but training is still required.
Yet sometimes it seems like these opportunities will be outside my boys’ reach. Will seems the most likely to go to college, because he is, thus far, the most of adaptive of my boys. But even finding an art teacher who can communicate artistic techniques in a way Alex can understand and duplicate seems unattainable, let alone engaging in the kind of study many artists find invaluable when developing their craft.
Now there seems to be a bright spot on the horizon. Recent articles have drawn my attention to the possibility that, perhaps, our society is ready to adapt better to the needs of our special students sufficiently well to give my children the opportunities they deserve.
For example, Lessons on Living with Autism is an article that, while pretentiously named, discusses a “College Internship Program” that prepares students with “high-functioning autism and Asperger’s disorder” for a better collegiate experience.
Some things in this article I find disagreeable. Others seem very promising. It’s too soon to know whether such a program can gain the kind of widespread support it needs to be both a success and widely accessible. I would also like to see if it can be expanded to include as many autistics as want to participate—instead of singling out those regarded as “high-functioning”.
It’s a step in the right direction that makes me just a little bit more at ease regarding the opportunities that will be available to my children.