One of my main focuses with my son has always been to give him as many positive living choices as I can.
When he was younger, he had numerous art classes, BMX bike camp, arts day camp, sleep-away camp, visits to the library and other community venues, etc. He had swimming classes and skating classes through his school. He often wasn't able to manage the entirety of the camps or classes, but he still benefitted from attending when he could.
He has gone on many many nature walks over the years as well as numerous trips to the beach (we found one that is often fairly unpopulated), has been on a few camping trips and can set up his own tent by himself, has attended music festivals and drama festivals as well as a medieval fair, has attended live theatre and live concerts, has performed with a music group on a few occasions, and has volunteered for three organizations. He used to enjoy photography. He's recently done some geocaching. Next month will be his second time being in a parade. We have a house full of books and he's become a voracious reader. This summer he is planning to create a few art pieces with the hopes of developing a small business for himself. He is part of a local walking club, which is a highlight for him. He has a support worker who spends three hours with him each week and is teaching him to skateboard. (He is also teaching him about responsibility and work ethic by taking him out to carry wood, fix fences, etc., on weeks that my son hasn't wanted to do his chores at home!)
With food issues being so prominent in his life, I started teaching my son about nutrition and cooking when he was quite young with the hopes that his focus could switch from "must eat everything possible as quickly as possible and as secretively as possible" to something along the lines of "good food feels good to prepare/enjoy with others." When he is in good space, he is presently able to independently create a nutritious and tasty gfcf breakfast, lunch, supper, or snack. He knows how to prepare eggs, potatoes, almost any kind of fresh vegetable, (real) rice, pasta, meat, salads, popcorn, etc. He knows how to make his own almond milk, and does so when he wants some. He makes his own (gfcf) smoothies. He is just starting to learn how to make gravy and puddings. He is also recently learning about garnishes and likes to use fruit slices to dress up a dinner plate. One of his possible adult goals is to become a career chef.
My son has definitely come a long way from the days when what he really wanted to do the most was sit in his room and do nothing. He's had successes. He knows he has a future, and he knows that if he works towards it, it can be a good one!
This blog was initially set up as a means of communicating with my son's team. Since then, I've heard from other parents with similar stories. If you are living with challenges or journeying alongside someone who is, you are not alone. There are many of us. I'm a single adoptive Mom (http://richesofsimplicity.blogspot.com/) of a young man who lives with many abilities and many diagnoses. We have journeyed together through many challenges and a few adventures over the years as my son has tried to find space in this world that makes him feel more comfortable, an attempt made especially difficult when living with Attachment Disorder, PDD-NOS (Autism), Developmental Coordination Disorder, ADHD, prenatal substance exposure, etc. Some of the strongest elements used in this journey have been music, visual arts, therapeutic parenting, team-connection, boundary-setting, boundary-setting, boundary-setting, communication skills, community-building, continual lifeskills training, and elements of Theraplay. (Click here for some written resources.) On this journey, there is laughter and tears and growth and hope. The greatest of these is hope.