I have a dilemma.
Part of my job as a parent - and especially as an autism parent - is to make absolutely sure that my son will be able to live as independent a life as possible when he reaches adulthood.
David needs to learn a skill. His sister has been making college visits and college is a topic of conversation in the house on a nearly daily basis right now. David is caught up in the excitement and of course he thinks this is going to be him in a few years. I've had to have some gentle but firm conversations reminding him that college isn't for everybody and some people just like to go to work. So in keeping with that I've been looking at the local vocational school that works with our school district and they happen to have an excellent culinary program.
David is currently in a cooking class and loves it to death. David's father is also quite an accomplished cook and comes from a family full of chefs and kitchen managers. David and Anna have grown up cooking with both me and their father, and David has expressed some interest in going into hospitality work. There's just one problem.
In order for David to begin culinary classes at the vocational school next year (his sophomore year) the curriculum calls for him to drop all electives. He will have his core educational classes in one half of the day and Vo-Tech in the second half of the day. That means David will no longer be allowed to take chorus.
David loves to sing. David loves chorus very, very, much. He's actually told me that he's going to take chorus along with vo-tech next year and I have to talk to them and make them change their mind. I've let him know that that's just not an option and his answer is "Well then, I'm choosing chorus."
And I have to insist that he takes the vo-tech classes. David has to learn a skill, and the program starts in 10th Grade and last two years through his senior year.So in order to see that David is prepared for an independent life, I have to rip away something that he absolutely loves and believe me, I'm not happy about this.
I've actually been looking around to see if I can find a local singing group for him. I haven't had any luck so far - we live in a very rural area and there's not a lot going on out here. And before you suggest church choir - we are not religous people. David has never been to church and I'd have to seriously weigh that option and carefully vet the church - it is definitely not my first choice in options. The singing groups I have found closer into the city in the suburban areas would be quite a drive for me and difficult to couch in after the end of a work day. I'm not sure I'm going to be able to do it. I'm going to keep looking at this though, because I can't bear the thought of him not having music.
Just another one of those difficult choices that I have to make, keeping his long-term in mind because he can't look that far ahead. Parenting is never easy. Autism parenting can break your heart. It is what it is, and I won't stop searching for a way for him to have everything he wants and everything I know he needs.