Peter just completed his first week of college at Benedictine University in Mesa. Here he is with his student ID around his neck. Honestly I am speechless. Words can not begin to describe how I feel about all of this. I am not sure if he will continue all the way to graduation but I NEVER thought I would see him sitting in a Freshman orientation class at college. Everything about this experience is a miracle. From the size of the school (about 150 people) to the fact that the entire campus is in a two story building, to the fact that it is Catholic (and Peter is a devout Catholic). The list goes on and on. How about the fact that I was able to retain his aid from high school? All of it is NOTHING like I thought or should I say none of my fears have played out.
I feel overjoyed that Peter is getting the experience of college! I have some work to do such as an updated 504 plan etc. but so far things have gone smoothly. The very fact that this school was not even in the Mesa area until 2013 is a miracle! The school is filled mostly with athletes who are there on scholarship. It's a great group of kids, very diverse, and full of kindness. Peter is using Dial a Ride for his personal transportation (another step towards independence). I am trying to get to the place where if I am gone to work when he leaves it still works.
Creating a new plan for adulthood when special needs is considered is just part of the game plan. I am always striving for more with Peter. Always pushing to step out of the picture MORE. It's weird because with your typical kids you are almost a little sad to be out of the picture yet when you have special needs to consider it is a totally different game and perspective. Even one single job where I am not needed such as driving becomes a step towards independence, an achievement for him personally.
Lately I have been assisting him in making his own business calls. He is beginning to learn the importance of advocating for himself even on the phone. The other day the Dial a Ride was late to pick him up and he called the office and gave them a piece of his mind. Even little incidents such as that are good for him.
Well I am thankful for this kind of start to a new school year! I am filled with hope!