Monday, June 6, 2016

18 and Autistic: Preparing for Life Post High School

For the past 9 years we have been using biomedical and homeopathic treatments as we traveled down the road to recovery. 

Recovery from Autism, to me, means that he is indistinguishable from his peers.

Tristen still has far to go on the road, but we have come very far, and as he graduates high school and moves on to the next chapter of his life, we are celebrating his accomplishments, recognizing the tremendous effort it took to overcome so many challenges.

We look on the future with continuing hope.  We are both grateful to leave the pressures of school-life behind and begin adulthood with an excitement of things to come. Learning doesn't stop just because you are not in school. Everyone should be a life-long-learner.  This is the motto we have adopted as we made plans for the next stage in life.

Because Autism is such a spectrum disorder, no two people are the same.  The ideas we have in place for Tristen will not work for everyone.

The limitations we face come from our environment.....the lack of appropriate programs and services in our area, not to mention we have only lived in this small town for 3 years.  With 90% of people with disabilities being sexually abused during their lifetime, we are not eager to encourage his involvement with people we do not know.

Currently, we are renting a home with an advertised "mother-in-law unit" on the property.  It has it's own water and air conditioning, bathroom and washer and dryer hookup.  Because it was once a one-car garage, it is set up studio-like with an open floor plan and there is no kitchen sink, refrigerator or stove.

Our first steps will be to remodel this room (with permission from the owner of course), to add a kitchen island, recessed lighting to give him much needed light, and some cosmetic repairs.  We also need to replace the window and doors so they are more energy efficient. Some of this will be paid for by the owner and some is our responsibility.

We want this apartment designed to give Tristen the best chance at being as independent as possible.
Using a schedule to direct his daily tasks is the foundation to making this a reality.  Because he has been using a schedule since he was two and relies on it and is comforted by it, Tristen will be able to be mostly independent AND productive.

Tristen will be doing his own cooking for breakfast and lunch.  For dinner, one night a week, he will prepare a meal for our family with little help, just supervision.  The other nights of the week, he will be a part of the meal preparation providing him the opportunity to learn a variety of culinary skills.  Eating dinner together as a family gives him a consistent form of social interaction as well as allowing us to check on his health and well-being.  Plus, we just love to be together as a family!

Sundays we will all continue to attend church.  Sunday afternoons, Tristen will visit members to make sure they are doing well.

Monday nights, we will have family night, where he will come to our house and practice party etiquette.  We will have treats and play games.

Tuesday nights, Tristen will attend a church scripture discussion class with his peers.

Friday afternoons, he will volunteer at the local Bountiful Baskets program unloading the truck, carrying heavy boxes and sorting fruit and vegetables.

Saturdays mornings in the summer will be for mowing the lawn and doing other yard work.

Tristen's daily routine will include the following:  Showering, shaving, exercise, scripture study, IonCleanse by AMD detoxing footbaths, brain teasers and puzzles, book reading, creative writing, journal entries, meal making and eating, and gardening, feeding and caring for his cat and doing household chores.

Once a week routines are as follows:  Grocery shopping, laundry and the library.  (I will also do a deep clean of his apartment once a week)

Once a month, we will plan an educational outing and a just for fun outing.

To fill in our afternoons, we will look into the following options:
-art classes
-karate lessons
-volunteering at the humane society
-community functions for young adults in our church
-community functions for autistic adults
-creating crafts to sell at Polly's Place
-opportunities to work from home for the autism community

My boy has a plan for a well-rounded future full of fun and learning!  I am excited to have a place for us to start as well, and the flexibility to expand as he learns and grows!

If you would like to help us get Tristen's apartment furnished you can check out his college registry at  and search "Tristen Davidson" or find us on PayPal using

*UPDATE!  We are desperately trying to encourage Tristen's independence by completing remodeling on his apartment and supplying him with the essentials needed to carry out this plan.  Despite doing our best, we are running into some snags trying to make this happen. Please if you can send a few dollars towards this project or send a household item from his registry, I know we can make his dreams come true!  Thank you so much!