I'm finally back after being away for a few months.  Below is my monthly contribution to Hopeful Parents.

In the absence of posting anything new to this website or my blog, I've been busy making many life changes including to getting remarried and purchasing a new home.  This is in no way a complaint - I appreciate all of it, no matter how stressful or overwhelming it may feel in the moment.  My life's journey has involved many roadblocks, and these changes are definitely all positive.

One of the changes that has been majorly positive is Jacob.  He continues to do well at Culver City High School. I'm getting great feedback from all of his teachers, he has a few friends, and, through the school's Workability Program, he starts his new job at Best Buy on Monday.  Last year, he worked at Petco stocking and organizing and he did a great job so he's not worried about his new employment.  He's just hoping that he gets to stock and organize the merchandise in the DVD department as this is pretty much his dream job.  When Jacob has disposable income, Best Buy is one of his favorite places to shop, and he's bought a lot of his movies from the store in our neighborhood.  I'm just going to have to help him learnn to budget his money so every cent he earns is not spent before he cashes his check.

I can't remember the last stressful moment I've had with Jacob.  The days of his disruptive behavior in class ended long ago.  He is now completely independent in completing his homework, so the days of coordinating with his teachers in turning in his assignments are a distant memory.  He want to attend college after he graduates from high school next year, so he's actually planning for his future.  He even takes care of all his personal hygiene without my prompting or nagging.  Pretty much of what I had hoped Jacob would be doing at this stage of his life are actually happening.  Way to go Jacob!

Did I really think this is where Jacob was going to be at 18?  To be honest, I had no idea.  Though he was an adorable little guy, his behaviors were at times challenging.  He was never a child that could attend birthday parties on his own.  Play dates needed to be moderated and facilitated by me.  At one time, he had lots services to coordinate, so I spent hours driving Jacob to and from therapy and doctor appointments.  Now that it's nearly 15 years from the day of his diagnosis, I guess it all paid off because Jacob is now a fairly happy and confident young man.  Not that there isn't more room for growth, but at least now I'm optimistic about the future.  When Jacob was young, there were days when I feared the unknown.  At least for now, Jacob seems to be on the right path and the future isn't a big, scary question mark.

So yes, I'm truly a hopeful parent these days for Jacob's progress and this is something I truly grateful.  I know how wonderful it feels, and I wish the same for every parent with a child with an autism spectrum disorder.


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