Getting your kid ready for college is very emotional. College is like the finish line for parenting. Your job is done. When your life has revolved around soccer games and the school calendar for years, it’s a major change. I mean the change will be good in some ways. I mean, fuck the school calendar. I’m sick of it. But it did give us some organization to life.
And, of course, we’ll miss the kid, too. He’ll be gone for 28 weeks out of the year. He’ll be absent from the dinner table. I won’t stumble into him sleeping on the sofa in the morning after a late-night, video game battle. Jonah’s been my sidekick for so long that it will be very strange to have him gone.
I’m also pretty sure that this will be our last time around at the college tours. We took Ian to Yale for an evaluation last January. Ian’s a very smart guy. His lowest IQ scores were in the average range. The subtests in nonverbal areas put him in the superior range. His pattern recognition scores were in the 97th percentile. But Yale also told us that his social-emotional intelligence and his ability to hold conversations were very low. Probably too low for independent living.
Sometimes, we get huge strides of improvement. Like after this trip with all the attention and activity, Ian was talking normally. Honestly, you wouldn’t even guess that he’s autistic. But that level of attention and activity is hard to maintain in real life. Schools refuse to do that. So, then he slips back again.
Ian’s high and low problem means that he doesn’t fit into special ed classes very well, but he also can’t handle a large traditional classroom. So, that’s why I spent most of the spring looking for a new school for him. We picked something. I hope it works out.
Colleges are starting to create programs for kids like Ian. The public schools are responsible for him until he’s 21. Maybe in seven years, there will be more college opportunities. But even so, I suspect that college isn’t the right thing for Ian. He needs to go straight into a computer training class and go to work immediately at some place where they’re cool about a little weirdness. Those programs don’t really exist yet. But in seven years, maybe.