June 23, 2011
It's another robe 'n reading day for Chef.
I did a room check this morning and found that Chef has been slowly removing more of the metal bits (nails/screws) from his desk, and found two safety pins tucked between a baseboard and the carpet.
We had a lot of discussions today about the upcoming retreat and Chef has only made positive comments - mostly focused on the food since I read him the menu I received in an email and used that information to hopefully help motivate him towards wanting to be there, or at least be willing to be there.
Chef has continued working on "his paperwork" as he calls it, which is a potential step-by-step cookbook as well as step-by-step visual lists for individuals to use for daily living. He hopes to sell these items as part of his business plan this summer.
While he was doing his paperwork, we talked and talked and talked again about future.
Chef would like to be a Navy Seal, and has often talked about this the last few months (in addition to wanting to go to university to study Greek Mythology), so I read him the information found on various websites regarding the Navy Seals as well as Canadian special ops. We talked about the risks involved, and about Chef's desire to protect his country and "do really cool stuff" as well as how special ops may or may not be a good fit for all people. Some of the websites had specific preparatory items listed so I read those and we discussed them. We also reviewed other areas that are of interest to Chef (L.A.R.P., eating, cooking, video games) as well as some of Chef's present skills and talked about what could be developed into reasonable career goals. Chef worked very hard at trying to figure out how he could make a living with eating contests and larping and testing video games. We also reviewed work experiences that Chef has thus far (has played with kids and carried a flag as a volunteer with the local immigration services office, has pulled weeds and worked the canteen and admission table for an event with the local organization working with adults with disabilities, has handed out flyers at The Forks for our music organization, has set up chairs for events, has moved furniture at home and as a volunteer for others, shopped for groceries with family and as a volunteer for others, etc.) and discussed how he is going to add to that this summer and into next year (look into volunteering at the local thrift shop, possibly take a babysitting course, create a resume and distribute copies around town this summer). Chef and I then explored some of the career possibilities that might be of interest to him and would provide a reasonable income (daycare provider, cook, military cook, furniture mover) as well as explored a number of possibilities for Chef to be financially self-sufficient, either partially or completely, by doing various things that might be possible for him in his own home business. Chef's focus often switched over to comments such as, "I'll go on assistance though, right? I'm buying a tv and a game unit with my first cheque." Each time, Chef was strongly reminded that assistance does not provide much money at all and that he had other responsibilities such as debt repayment, rent, utilities, groceries, then we'd review the financial reality of a realistic budget he'd have on assistance. Chef seemed to understand - until he would again shift the conversation back and make a similar comment further along in the discussion.
For now, he's working on his cookbook and visual prompts. He's initiated discussion on doing painting this year ("cuz I saw that you make money selling your paintings so I should do that too" - Excellent!), then went downstairs and brought up a ripped/folded/bent-up pastel picture he'd made and said he could sell that. I smiled and suggested he consider making more similar pieces and I'd gladly do up a website for him.
At the moment, Chef is singing in the kitchen while he prepares supper. All is well with the world.
One of our discussions earlier today was about businesses that do well because they have a specialty that no one else has. This evening, Chef has been working on "secret sauces" from scratch that he hopes to sell in the future. My eyes have been watering a bit upstairs from the experimenting taking place in the kitchen downstairs. I'm not much for BBQ-style sauces, but his first batch was quite good and is definitely a unique blend of ingredients. His second sauce smells wonderful; heavenly with a hint of fruit - or something like that. Of course, I can't share the recipe - it's a secret ;-)
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.