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Grown and Flown

...because parenting never ends.

Dear Mom of High School Sophomore,

If Freshman year was for finding their feet, Sophomore year is for finding themselves.

There is something so nice about going back to high school Sophomore year. Our students are no longer the new kids on the block trying to figure out both the academic and social landscape.

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Advice for High School Sophomore Year:

Top of the list is still DO NOT TALK ABOUT COLLEGE. The one exception would be if your child is in an athletic recruiting process. But otherwise the mantra is grades, activities, friends and enjoy high school. High school is a seminal moment in life, it is a crime to turn it into one long application process. The minute we start talking about college the focus shifts away from high school and onto one of the most stressful parts of our child’s youth. Don’t rush it!

In many ways, Sophomore year feels like the first real year. The experimentation with clubs and activities may have given way to genuine interests. Our kids might have new friends. For the first time in their lives we may not know some of these friends. Small changes like this give us the feeling that our life with our kid is truly changing.

Welcome to a whole new world of worry. The light sockets, stair gates and bicycle helmets were all just preparation for driving, the biggest safety challenge that teens and parents face.

If your teen’s birthday allows for it, start Alex camouflagejacquard cap APC GSy2YLia
in Sophomore year. Many things get rushed junior year and proper driving instruction, with adequate time, is all important. It is worth taking the time to do some careful research into driving instruction and providing additional lessons if necessary. Driving will be one of the biggest emotional hurdles of 10th grade. Driving is a confluence of very real worry and huge leap in our kid’s independence. It is, I believe the first step on the road to the empty nest and it may very well feel that way.

Watch your child closely, see how their time management is progressing. Junior year is, for many, the most difficult year in high school. This is a good moment to help teach any of those planning skills that a younger, more immature student was unable to master. On top of the academic load many juniors take on more demanding activities, a varsity sport, a leading role or a leadership position. Good time management can be the difference between a happy teen and one struggling with stress next year.

Like every year, focus on teaching them about sleep. For many boys, 15 is a big year for physical growth making sleep even more important. It becomes harder to impose a bedtime on a high school kid, but do it anyway. Sleep is what fuels a young body, aiding them emotionally, intellectually and physically so make sure they know its value long before setting off to college. Tell them how crucial sleep is to every aspect of their lives. When they ignore you, show them the scientific evidence. If they ignore that, turn off the wi-fi at 10:00pm.

The point is, by saying that some autistic adults are labeled “low-functioning” because we still cannot care for ourselves is denying that we can think. Or should we stop listening to Stephen Hawking’s brilliance and start pitying him?

There are more problems with functioning labels and they start at home. If parents or family members refer to autistic children as “low-functioning” because doctors and other “experts” labeled the children as “severe”, expectations for those children will be always low. My question to parents is: wouldn’t you prefer that your children be treated with respect and have equal opportunities in life? Because YOU set the tone for how your children will be treated. I say “no” to pity and “yes” to presumption of competence.

And there should not be a need to apologize for what might be seen as a flaw in a child’s way of being. Instead of accepting the word of some “experts” that there is an urgent need to “modify” behaviors, work with your children to explore their Silk Square Scarf Abstract Petals by VIDA VIDA uGfhEiY
and improve what really matters to each one of them (and being indistinguishable from peers matters only to the ones who don’t matter: the “experts”)

Note: one needs to know what is autism and what is not. Co-occurrences like GI problems and seizures are not autism and need to be treated (but not with dubious “medicine”, like bleach enemas and the such)

If parents and family members refer to autistic children as “high-functioning”, this can create a big obstacle if those children ever need accommodations, especially when they grow up. They might be dismissed as just quirky or lazy, when in reality they need some Beret in 100 new milled wool Seeberger black Seeberger ifeyDJ
to succeed. Think Temple Grandin not being allowed to use her squeeze machine.

Some children who grow up hearing that they are “so high-functioning” will believe that they are better than other autistics. Not only this is something impossible to measure, it also means a member of a minority group stigmatizing other members of the same group.

But the worst is when parents insist on using “high-functioning” for their children to elevate their status among other autistics. Besides being disrespectful of our accomplishments and our resolve to succeed against many odds, it is disrespectful of their own children’s existence. It is like saying that they love and believe in their children because they are not like “those very low-functioning, pitiful ones”. It disrespects their own children’s right to experience a perceived high need, not dignified of a “high-functioning” autistic. It disrespects their challenges and their hard work to succeed.

Using “high-functioning” is a need of a parent’s affirmation, not an autistic child’s choice, and it does not show acceptance.

There are many more reasons not to use Womens 2143 0DG2143 02/6G 57 Rectangular Sunglasses 57 Gold/Petroleum/Lightbrownmirrordarkgold Dolce amp; Gabbana z1Baw6VN
. If we want better services for all of us we must recognize that we all have abilities and disabilities, we are all autistic. And we are all human beings. We need to end the stigma of needing supports, or the false assumption that we are less worthy than others because we need life long care.

Still have questions?
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