Guest blog by Ashley Taylor of DisabledParents.org
Parents with autism spectrum disorder face so many challenges. They may have to overcome their sensory overstimulation in order to keep up with household chores or their children. People they encounter might place the burden of stigma on the parent as they misunderstand autism disorder. However, many parents find that their autism actually has some benefits. They have insight and are more empathetic toward their children when they struggle with emotions. Or they find that while they are caring for their kids they are able to “hyperfocus” on the little ones. The point is, parents with autism have struggles and strengths just like any other parent.
To make life easier, many parents with autism spectrum disorder find that modifying the home in certain ways makes it easier to move around and get things done.
Replace the Floors - If you have carpets, replacing them with hardwood, tile or concrete is a safe bet. Not only are they easier to keep clean, but they also reduce the risk of slips and falls for both children and parents. They are also less likely to sustain damage from unruly kids because they are strong and durable. Finally, hard surface floors contribute to better indoor air quality, which means less irritating allergens and triggering odors for parents with sensory processing issues.
Install Smart Lighting - Parents with autism may have a lighting system that fits their needs now, but those needs may change with kids. Smart lighting systems have many benefits for homeowners. They allow you to turn lights on and off remotely, which can save money on electricity when you forget to turn the lamp off before heading out the door. They can also make your home more secure as lights going on and off are a clear indicator to burglars that the house is occupied and therefore shouldn’t be targeted.
Smart light bulbs also tend to live longer, which is better for the environment. But for parents with sensory issues, smart lighting means so much more than saving money on electricity and light bulbs -- it gives these parents control over the visual stimuli within their environment. Smart lighting systems make it easy to go from natural light to sensory mood lighting that calms and soothes.
Make Bathrooms Safer - The bathroom is the most dangerous room in the house. The high humidity and slick surfaces are perfect for slips and falls. It’s easy to forget about the water temperature and end up scalding yourself. Furthermore, getting up and down to bathe or use the toilet becomes more and more difficult as we age. To make the bathroom safer for kids and adults alike:
Parents with autism face many struggles, but their disorder can also give them special insight that helps them raise healthy and happy children. To make life simpler, it helps to modify the home in certain ways to create a safe and comforting atmosphere. Hard surface floors are safer and easier to maintain, but they also keep the indoor air quality purer for less irritation. Smart lighting systems are an investment, but they save money and make it easier to create sensory mood lighting. Finally, the bathroom is the most dangerous room in the house. Adding grab bars, a walk-in tub, and anti-scald valves can keep bathtime fun and safe.
Ashley Taylor, DisabledParents.org
By Lucy Wyndham, freelance writer
Neurodiversity is the idea that the neurological differences behind autism, ADHD, and many other intellectual disabilities are the result of normal variations in the human genomes and not pathologies to be cured. Autistic individuals have long found it difficult to find employment, but as the concept of neurodiversity is beginning to take root, companies have begun to recognize the benefit of hiring neurodiverse talent.
1 in 68 people has been identified on the autism spectrum in the United States. Despite the fact that it is often associated with higher than average intelligence and traits such as the ability to focus, passion, honesty, and attention to detail, individuals with autism are often seen as unemployable due to their problems with social skills.
Thanks to increased pressure to innovate, however, companies are finding that accommodations in their hiring and onboarding processes can result in significant growth for their organizations. Indeed, these new hiring initiatives are less about inclusion and more about their impact on the bottom line. In fact, two giant multinationals that have specifically created neurodiverse hiring initiatives and reported generating significant innovations as a result--in one example, innovations led to a $40 million savings.
Higher productivity, better problem solving, and more creative innovation doesn’t have to be limited to just a handful of companies. In fact, other organizations can learn from their examples and adopt one or both of the following changes to increase neurodiversity in their workforces.
1. Change the Hiring Process
Traditional hiring processes rely heavily on the interview, which is skewed towards extroverts and people with high levels of emotional intelligence. While it’s not uncommon to find autistic candidates with one or more high-level degrees in the application pools, these candidates tend to do very poorly in interviews, as they often struggle with things like eye contact and conversation tangents.
Instead of the interview, companies might consider adopting a different kind of application process. In its pilot program designed to hire people with Asperger’s, Ernst & Young ditches the interview and uses informal settings and tasks (building a robot) to assess candidates.
2. Provide Support Across the Board
If the company's’ goal is to drive results, creating support teams to assist neurodiverse candidates through the hiring and onboarding processes (and beyond) is important. Companies can often work with nonprofit or government agencies (such as the Arc) to provide social skills training and make minor workplace accommodations (such as providing headphones to limit auditory overstimulation). Additionally, commercial landlords are responsible for accessibility in their properties, which ensures that those with special needs can move around comfortably within the building. It is up to employers as tenants to ensure that these regulations are up to standard.
It’s also important to engage managers and coworkers, who benefit from up front communication about accommodations needed by neurodiverse new hires, and who find themselves needing to manage for the individual, instead of managing compliance to a set of rigid standards.
Finding and accommodating neurodiverse talent might require operational changes, but its benefits far outstrip its costs. Organizations that want to actively recruit and hire employees with autism can make tremendous progress by changing how they hire and providing support across the board to coworkers and managers, as well as the employees themselves.
By Patty Pacelli
Like many people with autism, our son Trevor has always been very aware of time, and likes to stick to a schedule. He owned and used a watch from preschool on, and that attention to timeliness helped him when he had a job. Because autistic individuals thrive on routine, schedules and predictability, they will rarely, if ever, be late to work or meetings, which is a dream for employers.
Trevor's job doing nightly security lock-up at a church was perfect for him, because he never forgot to show up and do the very important job of securing a public building. His supervisor said Trevor was his "right-hand man" and he was more reliable than many of his other employees, and he could always count on him to do what he was asked. He took "literally no supervision" and he didn't have to check up on him. "As a supervisor, that's huge," he said.
For more tips on helping prepare kids with autism for the workplace, and to learn how employers can take advantage of the special skills of people with autism, check out Patty's book, Six-Word Lessons for Autism-Friendly Workplaces.
By Trevor Pacelli
I may land on the autism spectrum, I may have delayed speech development, I may be at times discomforting to talk to in person, I may get tired easily from being out a lot, but I still have proven that I’m just as capable as everybody else in working a satisfying career.
One month after I received my Bachelor of Arts in Film and Media Studies from Arizona State University, my parents offered me a position in their company to prepare me for a career. They had me start with my three primary areas of interest: photography, movie reviews, and my book I wrote at 19, Six-Word Lessons on Growing Up Autistic. Since then, these areas have grown into a website where I sell photos (trevorpacelliphotography.com), a blog where I write about autism lessons in your favorite movies (trevorsviewonhollywood.com), and talks I’ve done for schools and other groups around the Seattle suburban area to promote autism awareness.
The bad news is, not everyone understands this. A 2013 study by the Journal for the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry says that only 53.4% of adults with autism aged 21-25 have work for pay outside the home.
It’s much harder for people on the spectrum to find work that both pays them well and utilizes what they’re capable of, as those types of jobs are limiting. What makes it harder is that many corporations value team players who are excellent with interpersonal interaction; which does not align with the heavily introverted traits of autism.
The mental health website Emaxhealth.com has listed jobs best recommended for anyone on the spectrum, which includes but is not limited to computer programming, engineering, designing, photography, accounting, and journaling. Or, if the worker is nonverbal, job titles including janitor, store stocker, or landscaper work out great. They do not recommend “people” jobs such as waiter/waitress, market trader, and receptionist. While limitations exist for more popular jobs, it’s not hopeless.
In fact, accommodations are everywhere to help those with developmental disorders find the right type of employment. There are hiring programs, including those that help you after you get hired. Now, these can go a number of ways: If there is any sensitivity to bright lights, you can ask to have the fluorescent lights in your work space turned down. If you are caught off guard by sudden schedule changes, the employer can know to give more advance notice of these changes. Most people on the spectrum love a predictable work environment, and employers are always required by law to make sure each employee is comfortable in his or her work space.
Once one with autism finds an employer where both the boss and worker can mutually cooperate, then the positive skills of an autistic worker come into play. A couple of key strengths than an autistic worker can use to benefit a business includes a hawk’s eye attention to detail, a photographic memory, passionate focus on a given task, and a vivid imagination. The journey to finding the right type of job is different for everyone, and everyone gets to the position of earning regular income differently and in varying amounts of time, but everyone is capable of doing it, no matter what it may appear.
And finally, here is an article about the Soldiers of Intelligence Unit 9900, who demonstrate the skills of autism utilized in a job that actually requires them to save thousands of lives.
--By Paul Deniken, Guest Blogger from DadKnowsDIY.com.
It’s important to accept that a normal home might not be safe or comfortable for a child with special needs. Most of the time, modifications must be made that ensure the child has the opportunity to be mobile and self-sufficient. “Home Modification” may sound like a scary, expensive task - but in reality there are plenty of reasonable, economical, and even eco-friendly ways to fit your house for someone with special needs.
Sensory modifications - Some children with special needs such as autism spectrum disorders have more sensory issues than true mobility, but can also require some unique home modifications. Some great tips for this include the removal of fluorescent lighting (you can replace them with the far more eco-friendly LED lights) and the use of soundproof materials for floors and walls. Colors are also important.
“Notice the colors your child pays the most attention to, and use those colors when you really want your child to pay attention to something. For example, you could decorate your home with very neutral colors, but use plates in their favorite color to make eating more interesting. Use learning toys with bright colors. Or pick a more exciting color for a comforting blanket or special stuffed animal,” according to NavigateLifeTexas.org. “Think about using sound-reducing materials in places where you spend a lot of time.”
Ramps and flooring - Many special needs are of the physical variety, and stairs can be a challenge for children with movement disorders, injury, or visual impairment. Even if your special needs child isn’t in a wheelchair, ramps might be essential to their improved mobility. Portable ramps are a great product because of their versatility.
A cool alternative to the large, sometimes expensive metal ramps used with wheelchairs to navigate living spaces, are lightweight mobility aids like the ones made by Adaptive Design. The company also specializes in art, recreation, self-care, and other products for children with impairments - all made with eco-friendly products like recycled cardboard.
If you have the resources and your special needs child needs access to different levels of your home, you can look into installing a stair glide mechanism or even a small elevator.
When it comes to flooring, it’s important to think about the material. According to Michael Sledd of Expertise.com, “Cork flooring is often very stylish looking and easy to clean, and while it is firm and level, it is more forgiving to falls than many of the other flooring types mentioned above. However, due to its soft nature, it is typically not recommended for wheelchairs due to wear issues from the amount of pressure exerted by the wheels.
Vinyl and linoleum are the cheapest and somewhat accessible. For homes that need to accommodate wheelchairs, you may want to avoid deep grooved tile.
Modified knobs, handles, and railings - Replacing traditional doorknobs, cabinet, and drawer handles with easier-to-pull levers can help with accessibility around the home. Providing extra grips, handrails, and bars around stairs, bathrooms, and kitchens can also help those with a disability better navigate the home.
Trackers - Though it might be a controversial topic for some, many parents of children with special needs employ GPS trackers to make sure they always know what their child is up to and where they are. Here’s a good write-up on some of the best services available.
Accessibility Technology - Check out the Accessible Technology Coalition’s archives for a list of assistive technologies organized by age, type of disability, and more. There are so many products for the home that can make life easier for kids with disabilities and their caretakers.
For more ideas on how to make your home safe for all children, and to find great home projects, visit DadKnowsDIY.com.
By Patty Pacelli
Our son Trevor was diagnosed with a high functioning form of autism in kindergarten. From very early on, we noticed some things about Trevor that were not typical in other children his age. His ability to focus on tasks was extraordinary. He was (and still is) very schedule-oriented. His reliability in doing household chores without being reminded was a thing most parents only dream of. Now a junior in college, Trevor continues to learn to leverage his strengths to help him build relationships, get good grades, and prepare himself as a functioning member of society.
The autism statistics are staggering. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that one in 68 children in America is somewhere on the autism spectrum, with autism being five times more likely to exist in boys than girls. Yet only 53 percent of young adults with autism are gainfully employed. Those with autism have some amazing gifts, talents and ideas that can materially contribute to a more effective and successful workplace. Unfortunately, many leaders don’t know how to create an environment where an autistic employee can thrive and drive real bottom-line results. That’s why I wrote Six-Word Lessons for Autism Friendly Workplaces.
As leaders, it is imperative that you not only create a work environment that fosters creativity and diversity but you also create an environment that delivers results. Key to achieving both of these goals is the idea of employers making their workplaces “friendly” to employees with autism so the employee can in turn deliver results. It’s not about giving them simple jobs because they feel sorry for them or to meet some diversity goal, it’s about hiring them because they truly meet a need in their business and possess the skills needed to excel in their job. We’ve seen first-hand how an autism-friendly workplace contributes to a more effective and balanced workplace. It’s incumbent on today’s leaders to create an environment where employers and autistic employees not just survive, but thrive.
Six-Word Lessons for Autism Friendly Workplaces discusses specific qualities that autistic individuals bring to workplaces, and how businesses benefit from these qualities. The book’s 100 lessons cover a wide range of topics including interview practices for the employer, being aware of unique autistic traits, accommodations and social expectations for workers with autism. Following is a sampling of some of the lessons included:
Lesson 69. They work when nobody is watching.
When Trevor worked in maintenance, his coworkers commented that they always saw him doing heavy landscape work outside in the heat. Trevor didn’t know anyone saw him, but he nevertheless worked hard when alone, never slacking or resting. It was that focus and commitment to do whatever he was asked that made him a model employee.
Lesson 75. Autistic individuals can bring enormous creativity.
Autistic people’s minds are wired differently, and their imaginations can be extreme. Managers should take advantage of this when looking for creative ideas or new ways to solve problems. If they give autistic team members opportunities to share their ideas, those ideas can lead to brilliant new concepts.
Not only should employers be aware of autistic employees’ strengths, they should also learn about some of their challenges, and what to expect and how to accommodate them for better productivity.
Lesson 37. Let the applicant demonstrate his skills.
Offering a practice activity at the interview, such as proofing a sample document for an editing position, may be the best way for someone with autism to demonstrate his abilities, and can help employers make a more accurate hiring decision. It can be hard for autistic people to “sell themselves” and put their skills and attributes into words, even if they are excellent candidates.
Lesson 43. Accommodations help employer and employee succeed.
In the ideal scenario, giving autistic employees accommodations would help the company run more effectively while enabling autistic employees to be productive, leading to better products and services and more profit. All parties should work together to allow autistic employees to be productive without sacrificing the work environment for others.
Lesson 44. Options for accommodations make a difference.
Specifically, give all onboarding employees a survey or menu of options, asking their preferences for things like sound, light, physical work space, type of communication desired, methods for performance appraisals and more. This allows autistic employees to simply state their preferences along with everyone else, without feeling different or singled out.
As leaders, creating an environment where high-functioning autistic employees can thrive is more than demonstrating social responsibility and diversity. It also yields the business results that leaders need to not just survive, but thrive.
For additional information about the author or to purchase the book, visit www.autismfriendlyworkplace.com.
About the Author
Patty Pacelli is an editor, author, entrepreneur, wife and mother of two adult children, one with an autism spectrum disorder. She promotes autism awareness by serving on the board of directors of the Seattle Children’s Autism Guild. She wrote this book to help adults with autism, like her son Trevor, achieve their career dreams and contribute their exceptional talents to the workforce. Patty is also the author of Six-Word Lessons to Look Your Best.
By Patty Pacelli
Trevor is flying home from college this weekend, and it will be his first time flying by himself. As his mom, I'm not too worried about him, because he has flown at least once a year during his life, but never alone. I wanted to write some tips about flying alone to help others who might be flying by themselves this season, with or without autism.
Preparation: If you are packing and preparing on your own, first decide whether to carry on your bag, or whether to check a bag. Anything you carry on cannot have liquids packed in it, and must fit in the overhead bins. Wheeled luggage is the best choice because you might have to walk a long way, and don't want to worry about a duffel getting too heavy or awkward. Any liquids and gels carried on must be in a quart size Ziploc bag and be 3 ounces or less each. Pack these in a backpack, tote bag or purse so they are easily accessible for Security. You are only allowed to carry on one small suitcase (for the overhead bins) and one other backpack or tote to put under the seat in front of you. Put your name, e-mail address and phone number on all your bags.
If your airline allows, you can check in on your computer, 24 hours in advance, and print your boarding pass. This is a good idea and will save you a step at the airport.
Checking In: Whether someone is dropping you off, or you are taking a taxi or public transportation, enter the airport near your airline. There should be signs above the curb/sidewalk area with the airline names, i.e., Southwest, USAir, etc. Once inside, take a moment to look at your surroundings. There will be a lot of sights and sounds, so don't feel pressured or in a hurry. By the way, try to get to the airport extra early--2 hours or more before your flight time--so you don't have to hurry.
If you have printed your boarding pass ahead of time, and not checking a bag, check the overhead monitors that list all the flights. Look for the city you are flying to and it will list the gate and departure time. This is where you will find out if your flight is delayed or on time.
If you have not checked in at home, look for the check-in counters for your airline, which should be nearby if you entered at your airline's overhead sign. There will be kiosks and/or airline agents behind counters, and a waiting line, depending on how busy the airport is. Get in line and start getting your credit card or "locator number" ready. At the kiosk, you will swipe your credit card or type in your number and follow the instructions on the monitor to check yourself in. Again, take your time and read everything carefully. There are airline employees behind the counter to help if you have questions. This is where you will get your boarding pass, which will have your seat number, boarding group and gate number, and you will need it to get onto the plane.
If you are checking a bag, you will do that in the same location, or possibly a nearby separate location. When your bag is checked, the agent will give you a small claim ticket. Save this in case there is any problem identifying or getting your bag when you get to your destination.
Security: On your way to your gate, you will go through a Security Checkpoint. There might be different types of lines, such as ones for experienced travelers, travelers with children, or other categories. Choose the one you feel comfortable with. There is no requirement to choose a specific line. While waiting in line, get your boarding pass and driver's license or i.d., ready to show. The first step will be to show both of these to a security agent at a podium. As soon as you have shown them, you can put them safely away in your wallet and carry-ons so they don't get lost. At this point, stop, take a breath, and remember you don't have to hurry.
Remember, it's always ok to let others go ahead of you if they are in a hurry. Your flight is still probably over an hour away, so you have plenty of time. Next, take off your belt, and shoes, empty your pockets of any change, cell phone or metals, and put them into a plastic bin that will go on the belt. Take your Ziploc bag of liquids out and put it in the bin. If you have a laptop computer, take it out of its case and put it in a bin. Use as many bins as you need to hold everything. Put your rolling bag or duffel, backpack or tote bag directly on the belt and make sure it is pushed onto the moving part that goes through the screening section.
Once everything is on the belt, wait at the entrance to the body screening area for someone to motion you to walk through. You will either walk through it or stop and put your arms over your head to be screened. After you have walked through, an agent may ask you to stop and they might ask you a question, have you wait somewhere, or check something else on your body. Try to pay attention to the security agents so you will notice if they ask you anything.
After you have walked through Security, gather your belongings out of your bins and get your bags off of the belt. Be extra careful that you don't leave anything. There is usually an area with chairs where you can put on your belt and shoes and get everything ready to take with you to the gate. Now you can walk to your gate and wait for your flight to leave. Check the time and if you'd like, check again for overhead monitors to see if your flight is still on time. Depending on how much time you have, you can go directly to your gate, or stop at the restroom, have a snack, or look in some of the shops. Your boarding pass will give a "boarding time" so make sure you are at your gate a little before that.
Boarding: While you're at the gate, keep listening for instructions about when your group should board. There is a counter with your city and departure time and an agent in case you have questions. When you board, you will give the agent your boarding pass as you get on the plane. He will either scan it and give it back to you (if you have an assigned seat) or keep it and you will sit wherever you'd like (Southwest Airlines). As you are finding your seat, look for overhead space if you need it. You can use any space, as close to your seat as possible.
Once you are seated, listen to any instructions from the flight crew and enjoy your flight! When you land, be careful about leaving anything behind. Get your bag from the overhead compartment and exit the plane. When you land, look for signs that say "Baggage Claim." That is where you will get your bags if you checked them, and will meet anyone who came to pick you up from the airport.
Remember, there might be things that are unexpected, like delayed flights, longer flights, being stuck sitting on the plane at the gate, spills, sitting next to difficult people, and more. There are always people who can and will help you or answer questions, and if you prepare and plan ahead, you won't put yourself in a position to be stressed or in a hurry. Have a nice flight!
By Trevor Pacelli
If you're like me, every few years growing up you would spend a good amount of time at a Disney theme park with your family, friends, sweetheart, or siblings.
You would always enjoy getting wet on Splash Mountain, singing "Yo-ho
yo-ho a pirate's life for me," on Pirates of the Caribbean, flying over London in Peter Pan's Flight, watching singing parrots in The Enchanted Tiki Room, and getting your picture taken with Mickey and Minnie. But of course, every time, you would either drag someone or get dragged by someone else to be subjected to fifteen minutes of riding in a slow-moving boat and watching a bunch of dolls in an abstract, colorful atmosphere singing the exact same song over and over again. Yup, you guessed it. It's a Small World.
Today, you could ask anybody over the age of nine about that ride, and a lot of them would admit to a fairly passionate hatred toward the classic Disney gem. "Why do so many people hate It's a Small World?" The most common reason is the horribly catchy song that's endlessly repeated and stays stuck when the ride is over, others say it's the creepy looking animatronic dolls that all look the same, Some would even argue that compared to other Disney gems such as Pirates of the Caribbean and The Haunted Mansion, its level of texture and architecture is not nearly authentic enough. The list can go on for the reasons people dislike this ride, but the question I really want to answer is, "Why do I like It's a Small World when a majority of others hate it?"
You probably wouldn't expect a nearly 21-year old male to say he loves It's a Small World, a ride that mainly appeals to little kids and their parents, or even more so that I actually enjoy the song within the ride. For one, I actually understand the context behind the ride: Every country in the world is presented with representations of their people and culture, and
the lyrics combine with them to deliver the powerful message that all people and nations are equal, everyone experiences love, hatred, disappointment, depression, hopes, dreams, and desires, but our differences made us oblivious to that. I also like the ride because of the artistry and detail throughout. Sure, it doesn't have Pirates' ability to transport you to another time and place, or the Mansion's highly detailed technicality through special effects, but it still has the vibrant, colorful artistry of Mary Blair that inspires the young and the young at heart.
But I think the most significant reason I never grew to despise this ride is because it's one of those rides that accommodates for my sensory issues. A trip to a theme park can be both a thrill and a nightmare for someone like me on the autism spectrum--lots of people everywhere, loud noises all around, waiting in long lines only so the ride can break down, it can really be tough for anyone sensitive to sound, touch, or atmosphere. As I was growing up, I would avoid several rides such as The Matterhorn Bobsleds, Space Mountain, Tower of Terror, or even The Haunted Mansion because there were many fast, sudden changes or unsettling moments that would overwhelm my senses. Therefore, I would always go on other rides such as The Jungle Cruise, Pirates of the Caribbean, or Buzz
Lightyear Astro Blasters, where I always knew what was about to happen. As for It's a Small World, it not only felt like a safe haven for me, but the many creative little scenes within the ride, along with all of the beautiful art and designs inspired me and made me felt like I was three years old again.
Could this be called a guilty pleasure of mine? Am I really too old for this ride? I actually doubt this very much. I only consider something a guilty pleasure if it's of very poor quality and not deserving of any recognition as something positive. To me, It's a Small World is a beautiful declaration by Disney that all people are essentially the same and if we were to open our eyes a bit more, the world would be a happier place. The same goes for anyone on the autism spectrum. Why can't people open their eyes a bit and see that those with sensory issues or verbal communication difficulties are really not different from them? For "there's so much that we share that it's time we're aware it's a small world after all."
By Patty Pacelli
This is Patty, Trevor's mom. Trevor spent the two years after high school living at home and attending our local community college. He received his AA, and we all decided Trevor was ready to go away to a university and get his Bachelor's degree. In March of 2013, after creating extensive charts and mathematical rating systems to aid in his decision, he chose Arizona State University in Tempe. Thus began the preparations, like any student would make, plus a few additional concerns due to the autism factor. His dad and I spent a lot of time discussing everything we could think of with Trevor, and he was full of questions.
We knew that a single dorm room was an option at this university, because we had asked about it on our campus tour earlier that year. Trevor had also applied to ASU's Disability Resource Center (DRC) so that he could receive any accommodations needed. He was assigned a counselor and asked if he would like to attend the university's Early Start Program, which would give him more time to adjust to campus with fewer students around. We all agreed that would be a great help to him, so we booked our flights for August 1.
We stayed with family members for a few days and moved Trevor into his room on August 4. We stayed in town a few days and left on August 7. We took him out to dinner the night before we left and gave him our last bits of advice, then dropped him off at his dorm room and said goodbye. It was a little sad, and Trevor was watching me closely to see if I was going to cry. I got a little watery, but was OK.
After coming home to Seattle, his dad and I were thrilled to see photos of Trevor on Facebook, and new Facebook friends added. We talked to him about a week after he had been there, and he said he didn't really miss home because, "I just love being on my own so much." I was not surprised by this, because on the day we were helping him move in, I could tell he was very anxious for us to leave him alone in his new home.
He has been calling us once a week, and has had some loneliness, but overall is having no trouble living on his own and handling college life. He has started attending a church, taken the bus to a shopping center, tried several clubs, and eaten out with a few people. Friendships will be the most difficult thing for him, so we hope he meets some students with whom he can form a bond. It's going well so far!
Inspiration for Life with Autism
This blog has a variety of articles about people living life with autism, and topics and ideas that can help in the journey. Guest bloggers are welcome. Inspired by Trevor, a young adult film critic, photographer and college graduate on the autism spectrum.