Elizabeth: Graduating From High School!

I know that most of you know our story.

I know that most of you know that our beautiful Elizabeth has two disorders.

And I know you know that our journey has been quite winding and amazing.

But how about an update about Elizabeth?

Right now Elizabeth is 19 years old and is graduating from high school in June!

Yes, graduating from high school.

And I am having quite a few feelings about this ending of one phase and the beginning of the next. It is so hard for me to think that the very place we have known for so many years, that being our school system, will soon no longer be part of her life.

She will be in the “real world.” If you look at the wonderful young lady right now, it is very hard to think that she was non-verbal for the first five years of her life. The same goes for the fact that she loves life and is one of the happiest people I know. Her early years were the complete opposite.

So many good gains made and so many hurdles conquered.

But the truth is, she is still affected by her disorders. But it is in a much more subtle manner. It is like it kind of builds up, and builds up and then she has her overload moments. But the disorders are there and as we transition from high school to the next leg of her journey, those disorders can and will show themselves. I think that will be the biggest player in the next few months, especially as we talk and plan more for the Fall.

She loves her exercise, especially walks. She loves to cook and she helps out at a local catering business two or three times a week. She loves working with children and volunteers at one of the preschools that is housed in our elementary school. And on the other end of the age spectrum, she volunteers and bakes for the elderly at an assisted living facility. This is once a month.

I am so proud of all she is doing, so thankful for those she works with, who love her and understand how she works.

It has been hard to advocate for her throughout the years because there have been so many people who have shared their talents with her, which has been a blessing but also a challenge. I think back to the days when we sat down across the table from this year’s teacher to talk about SPD and Dyspraxia. Then working with them all throughout the year. Something that we have taught and continue to work on is “self- advocacy.” This is a tough thing for any child to do and especially so for someone with the disorders that Elizabeth has. So this is something that one needs in life and challenging as it may be it is a necessity. She is getting better and better at this self-advocacy.

Elizabeth has her supports in place wherever she goes and she knows who her “go to” person is in any situation. You know, that person she can directly go to if there is a problem or situation that she needs help with. We learned throughout the years just how hard it is for a person so affected by Dyspraxia to initiate the steps needed in some situations. Especially ones that require a quick plan or action. So teaching Elizabeth this vital concept and having her use it has been a big success for her.

So now she graduates …

So now she moves on …

One thing is for certain, we will continue to talk to her about any and all things, any and all emotions.

We just want to keep fostering her interests, teaching her each day and letting her know we believe in her as she takes this next big step.

If anyone has anything else they want me to update them on about Elizabeth, please let me know.

Also, to read more of my blog about Elizabeth’s future, please go to www.michelegianetti.com

I wish you all a peaceful month.

-Michele Gianetti

Michele writes for TalkTools Blog every month about her experience caring for Elizabeth, her daughter with Sensory Processing Disorder and Dyspraxia. Follow her story since the beginning here.

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