Will My Teen with Autism Live on their Own?
This is a question we ask ourselves for our own family, but I hear this question all of the time as an occupational therapist, from parents of teens and children with autism. We hear you and we understand the anxiety, fear, and uncertainty that you are feeling. We are constantly thinking about the future and we try to picture what that future may look for my teenage brother. Our minds are thinking and turning and trying our best to predict the future for him, but in reality we cannot figure out what the future will hold. We never know what the future will bring, but we are trying our best to help prepare him. We are trying to guess if he will be able to live on his own.
The autism spectrum is extremely variable and every person has unique strengths. Every person is unique and it is impossible to determine what the future will hold for any person. We take it day by day and help my brother learn valuable skills each day.
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Parents, you are doing the best that you can
Here are 5 statements to remember each day, especially when you are feeling overwhelmed.
1. Remember to Breathe
When you are feeling overwhelmed and anxious remember to take a step back and breathe. You may not know the answers, but you won't be better at figuring out a solution when you are all worked up and anxious.
2. Let go of what you can't control
There are so many things in our lives that we cannot control. I know I am someone that tries to control as much as I can, but I realize that I need to let go and trust the process.
3. Seek out help when you need it
You can't do it all on your own. Seek our help from family, friends, or professionals to help provide you with support and resources to help your family.
4. Love your Child/Teenager
Never forget what is most important in your life. Enjoy the moment now with your teen. Don't get caught up thinking so much about the future that you forget to savor the moment you are in now. This is still a great time in their life and you want to be able to present now as well. Love your teenager for who they are.
5. Remember to take care of yourself
If you are overworked and overwhelmed constantly, you won't be able to provide the best care for your teen. Find ways to take time for yourself and find activities that you enjoy and can recharge your own energy. The better we feel, the more we can do for our family.
We Never Know what the Future will be like for our Teens
We cannot predict the future, but we can take steps each day to help our loved one learn valuable skills. We can also be present with them and love them for who they are. I don't want you to get so caught up with wanting to “change” your teen or make them conform to what society tells us is “normal”. Embrace your teen for who they are and help embrace their strengths. Find out what motivates them and what makes them happy. We can do so much for our teens if we can help guide them to find their passions.
Finding their Passions can help guide them into their future as an adult.
Every person seeks out to find their passions and what brings them purpose in life. I want to be able to wake up every day and be happy with who I am as a person and do meaningful work each day. This idea looks so different for each of us. Helping your teen to find what makes them happy and what brings them meaning can help them as they transition into adulthood.
I would love to hear what your passions are in the comments below. What are things that make you happy each day?
If you are looking for more ideas on specific skills to help your teen as they transition into adulthood check out our list of life skills below.
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