The final school year for Hillary began last week, and her 21st birthday is coming in a few days. It’s the beginning of the end of life as we know it.
I’m glad for me that this is the last year I will have to fight with the school system to give my daughter the services she needs. I’m so sad for her that in just 10 short months she will move on to a place that is not filled with young people and lots of hub bub. Things will be different for both of us, as I will be unable to work the hours that I do now since the day program I hope she will attend runs 2 hours less per day than school does. Change is hard, even when it’s expected! There are so many things up in the air and I find the unknown to be unnerving to say the least.
Once a developmentally disabled person becomes an “adult” at the age of 21, they are no longer eligible for public school. They may finish out the school year in which they turn 21 but then they graduate. They are then at loose ends, out into the great abyss of the world where no school bus comes to pick them up, and no staff waits to greet them and help them through their day. My daughter is “lucky” because she is so disabled as to be eligible for a medical day program. At least there will be something for her to go to so she doesn’t have to just stay at home with me, bored out of her skull, days broken up only by trips to the mall or supermarket or library. What kind of life is that? Although it’s not about me, I am affected by it all. I will need to find a new job, a prospect I don’t look forward to at all.
In the meantime, I’m determined to try and enjoy this final school year, and my final year at this job with people I so love working with.