If you have a child on the higher end of the autism spectrum (or if you are without an official diagnosis but suspect that your child fits the criteria) you will definitely want to read The Loving Push: How Parents and Professionals can help spectrum kids become successful adults. Temple Grandin, Ph.D., who has autism and is a popular lecturer on autism, teams up with psychologist Debra Moore, Ph.D. to offer a how-to guide to helping your child learn how to be an adult.
The authors acknowledge that the definition of a successful adulthood will vary from person to person given the child’s natural abilities and the severity of the autism, however “the common denominator is a life lived to one’s own unique, full capacity.” Parents need to help their children overcome their fear and be aware of their choices. Unlike neurotypical children who are usually chomping at the bit for independence, those with autism “are going to move forward only when you are behind them pushing! And they probably won’t go willingly.”
Grandin and Moore tackle many practical topics such as dealing with obsessive gaming, training children to do household chores, resisting habitual negative thinking, dealing with anxiety, finding mentors, the value of volunteering or paid work, helping your child stretch beyond their comfort zone, and how to teach driving. That last one is particularly relevant in my life as teaching my Aspie to drive is on my to-do list for this coming year. (Prayers are definitely welcome for the success and safety of that task!)
The Loving Push is essential reading for parents or educators of teenagers or young adults on the spectrum. It will help you help your child make the most of their life as an adult.