Pace Orientation and Peter’s Future

Peter headed down to Orientation at Pace University today. Last night he went to see THE GREEN LANTERN with his friend, Matt, at midnight. This morning he got himself up, fed and dressed and I dropped him at the train. He didn’t want or need me to go with him to Orientation. He knew how to get to Pace on his own and he was clear about his scheduled meetings.

For many parents of teenagers, this may seem like a string of amazing accomplishments. For the parent of someone on the spectrum, this is an example of the truly inspiring growth which Peter has achieved in the past year.

I can’t quite believe that Peter will be heading off to college in the fall. This is such an exciting, and heartbreaking, achievement. Heartbreaking in that I will truly miss having him around on a daily basis. He isn’t always the easiest person in the world, especially when communication is called for, but he is a great housemate. Peter has no problem pitching in to clean the kitchen, take out the garbage and generally be useful. He loves to go to the grocery store and does an excellent job of getting the items we need and not purchasing anything not on the list–for someone with impulse issues, this, too, is an accomplishment. Peter is good company and loves to watch NCIS with me when his dad is off at class. He is also ready to give and receive hugs at a moments notice.

Peter is currently taking Calculus 2 at Westchester Community College. He has made a group of friends both at WCC and at the Devereux Foundation where he was taking some evening classes earlier. It is great to see him making plans to do things with his friends. He loves to travel into Manhattan and explore the city and go to clubs. In my life I have never had a desire to go to a club, but Peter is exploring all sorts of activities. I don’t think he dances, he is more the wallflower type, but it is an exotic and foreign experience for him. His friends seem like nice kids and they, too, are all following their own paths to adulthood. Peter may not be your prototypical teenager from an upper middle class suburb, but he has found a social circle that fits his own personality.

At Pace Peter will live in a three bedroom apartment with two baths and a kitchen. Not many people can make that claim in Manhattan. It sounds like a terrific living arrangement and he knows three of the other kids with whom he’ll be living. He will participate in a program called the Oasis Program. While he will be a matriculated student at Pace, and was accepted on his own merits, the Oasis Program will provide extra support with executive function and organization skills. Peter is plenty intelligent to do his work, he just has a little trouble getting going and carrying a full load of courses will be extra challenging. A lot of the kids in the Oasis Program have not developed the life skills Peter has. They will be away from home for the first time, don’t know how to use mass transit, set their alarm clocks, do their laundry, etc. Peter has mastered these skills. I know that if Peter can find something he loves as a vocation, he will have little trouble living an independent adult life.

Every parent wants that for their child. Every parent wants their son or daughter to grow up and find fulfillment, satisfaction and love. It wasn’t always clear that this would happen for Peter and seeing that this is indeed possible for him is an unending source of happiness and joy. I am so incredibly proud of this young man who is unafraid to head down to Orientation on his own and has come so far in mastering the daily challenges of life.

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2 Comments to “Pace Orientation and Peter’s Future”

  1. Oh Jenny,
    Peter;s news brightened my day! I’ll be saying prayers of thanks and holding thoughts of the wonderful future for all of you. 🙂
    Oh your mom would be so pleased. I think she knows. 🙂
    Love
    Dawn

  2. Such wonderful news! So glad Peter (and all of you) are doing so well!
    We are very proud!!! 🙂

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