I have been writing about Elizabeth and our journey for many years. My hope in sharing our story is that our words would fit someone’s needs at the time, to help someone on their journey.
With that in mind, I will tell you about what is going on as we enter summer this year.
Elizabeth is now 21, actually almost 22 years old and is completing her second year of her college program. It is for those who have special needs. I have loved how the years there have fostered her independence and better yet, her WANT for independence.
I know with her disorders of global dyspraxia and sensory processing disorder (SPD), the “moment to moment” thinking and adjusting that one needs to do to be independent can be so challenging for her. But everyone is helping her to gain more and more independence.
It will be added to the list of the things we are “working on”.
I am very sure I am not alone when I tell you that Elizabeth will always do better for others than for me. She will be way more independent away from home and me than when she is here.
I always say that to any and all people who have and will be working with her. I love hearing her successes from the buddies she has on campus or from those who work with her on her internships.
All great stuff but now it is summertime.
And summer means more time at home.
Her and I.
I did some thinking about my goals for her this summer and made some time to have a nice conversation with Elizabeth about just that, her goals and my goals.
I told here about wanting to continue to foster her independence and why. She told me she wanted this too and I told her I would make that my number one goal. She told me her number one goal was to relax and have fun. So! A slight difference noted but nothing we can’t work with!
We wrote all the goals down, made some fun plans for summer and agreed which calendar to use for her daily and weekly schedules. Good stuff!
Each day, I am taking my own advice to follow the plan made and I am thinking the following words: TEACH AND TALK.
The words I think will help me see each thing or skill as a teachable move toward the independence she wants. I also need to sit on my hands when she is struggling with a skill until she asks for help or glue my mouth shut when I want to provide the words for her when she is “hunting” for them and give her the time she needs to find them.
TEACH AND TALK
My new mantra for the next part of our lives.
I wish everyone a peaceful start to summer!
Michele Gianetti author of “I Believe In You: A Mother and Daughter’s Special Journey” and “Emily’s Sister”