It’s not overwhelming enough to prepare for the graduation that Tommy was never supposed to have. Now, we have to figure out what comes next. Without help, Tommy picked out the college and major that he wants for himself. I realized he wants to live the life of a normal college student and my stomach turned inside out. It’s not a comfortable feeling. It seemed stupid to write Aspergers on his initial applications to college. “Oh look, a student who will need an unusual support system. We want him here.” The college application and admission process was like a snowball rolling down a mountain. The faster it happened, the bigger it became and there just didn’t seem to be a “right” place or time to mention that Tommy is wired differently than most students. The longer I didn’t say something, the more I felt like I was hiding a skeleton in the closet that would pop out at the worst possible moment. Then, we went to the campus open house over the weekend.
Everything went smoothly until it was time to tour the dorms. Tommy’s entire body language changed so rapidly that my mom alarm bells were echoing in my head. One open bathroom for an entire floor of residents breaks several dozen of Tommy’s rules. We have spent Tommy’s entire life pushing his buttons and deliberately trying to loosen the grip his rules have on his life. Living away from home for the first time without parents nearby is an adjustment for NT teens. It’s much bigger for Tommy. When Sarah has a problem with dorms or any aspect of college life, I will not be calling or visiting anyone. She has to and will be responsible for herself. Normal 18-year-olds don’t need their parents talking to the dorm RAs. Tommy is different. I am trying very hard not to be a crutch to Tommy, but he needs a safety net his first time on the trapeze. It’s time to get that label slapped on his file in the college administration offices. I’m not sure how to do this. I am certain that college professors should not have to talk to parents. Ever. I have to talk to support services and let them be an intermediary. I step tenderly onto the ice, hoping I do not make cracks.