"You want a job?"
Having a child with autism, or any other special need, can be difficult at times. There are many things that you are prepared for because you know that your child will most likely not fall into the traps or categories that typical kids do. God spared me the stress of worrying if my son would be killed in a car accident because he was texting while driving because he will never get a driver's license. I don't have to worry about getting a call that my son is drunk at a house party, or a bar because he isn't surrounded by typical kids that experiment with alcohol or drugs. There are just so many things we don't have to worry about because they just don't apply to our child with special needs. So when Max started talking about wanting to get a job, it took us off guard. "What could he even do for a job?" As I pondered that question, it also made me think of all the questions that came with such thoughts. How long could he actually focus on a task? Would they provide a job coach to would look after him and, not only keep him on task, but also keep him from wandering off or leaving with a stranger. There is also the fact that there are some people in this world that do not understand the quirks and actions of a child/adult with special needs, nor do they want to try to understand; this ignorance brings on teasing and bullying. It has always been my biggest fear that our son would be working with the public and someone would poke fun at him! Since our son does not have the innate ability to fear dangerous situations or people. Since Max was a toddler, we have been teaching him to look out for dangerous situations - look both ways when you cross the street, don't talk to strangers ("stranger danger"), don't open the door unless you know who it is, etc. When Max is with us, we know his personality and can predict his moves and actions in public; when he starts his job, no one will be there with our knowledge of our son, so they won't be able to predict his moves or actions - this is a terrifying thought. The amount of hours he will be working was another concern. I almost laughed when they told us how many hours per day they wanted him to work! My son can't focus for more than 15 minutes on anything except video games and you want him to work 6 hour shifts with minimal supervision, raking leaves in a park next to a river; are you nuts? IT'S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN! We have since asked them to modify his hours and expressed our concerns with supervision. We are told that there will be a job coach there to assist with Max and a few other special needs employees. We are trying to have faith that it will all work out, but guaranteed I will be doing a few "drop ins" while he is working just to be sure.