Since April is National Autism Awareness Month, I decided to update you on the status of my 17-year-old son, Jack.

We got some unfortunate news recently regarding Jack. He is a junior in high school, so we went to a conference on the rights of special-needs students in college, because it was my hope that he could attend a four-year school and live some semblance of a typical life as. He gets pretty good grades (and most of his classes are Gen Ed).

Subsequently, Jack had his neural evaluation by the school district psychiatrist and the news was not good. She told us we should probably not plan on Jack going to a four-year college, or even ever living on his own. For me, it was the death of hope. I had hoped he could live as close to a somewhat typical life with some modifications, but that now seems like a pipe dream.

The psychiatrist also urged us to start the process of establishing legal guardianship of Jack before he turns 18 in June. It was a hard blow to me and my wife, and navigating the legal process is a pain. How Jack would live as an adult has been in the back of our minds since he was diagnosed when he was 3. Now we have to abandon most of our dreams for him.

The psychiatrist said he could probably attend a community college with some assistance, but she also said Jack will probably never drive. I don’t mind the fact that he will always live with me, because I enjoy his company (even though his social skills are waning: he rarely looks me in the eye and he is not affectionate, which breaks my heart), but I had hoped for better for him.

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