Post in collaboration with breakthru
A series of recent events have served to remind me, quite forcibly, that time is not slowing down (even though I desperately want it to!)
Obviously, being December, we’re coming to the end of another year. But, for me, it truly only seems like yesterday that we were preparing an anxious Gilbert for his first day of high school. This week, we’ll prepare him for the end of Year 7 and look to the opportunities that Year 8 will bring.
My boy on his first day of Year 7 2017
Personally, I’m still trying to come to terms with the fact he’s in high school at all, let alone the reality he’ll be taking on electives next year!
I was also taken aback at our recent IEP review for the year, when the Learning Support Coordinator stated that it’s never too early to start thinking about the HSC.
Excuse me? He’s still in Year 7!
But, when I took a moment to deal with my wild panic, I could see her point. He now has only 2 years before Year 10, which heralds a series of decisions that will have a bearing on his future study and employment prospects. She’s right, it’s never too early to start identifying his strengths and encourage him to pursue study in areas of true interest to him.
Just to ram home the relentless march of time, last week a receptionist commented that my son will be nearly 14 when he comes in for his next specialist appointment. After quickly doing the maths (just to check because, surely, she couldn’t be right about that?), I realised she WAS right.
Just look at how big they ALL are now!
I then came to another troubling conclusion.
That means that by December 2018 (the end of next year), my son will be legally able to apply for part-time employment. And, it’s this realisation that’s rocked me to my core.
Getting that first part-time job is a major milestone for any teenager. The chance to take on responsibility, become more independent and start earning their own, hard-earned cash. I’m sure many of Gilbert’s classmates will be keen to take that step, as soon as they’re able.
However, I know my son will need more assistance when it comes time for him to commence employment. With various diagnoses, including autism and a significant vision impairment, we’ll need to seek an accommodating employer who will be willing to support Gilbert with the tools, technology and practical assistance he’ll require, to succeed.
I know we’ll need specialist help and support to help us identify the right employment opportunities for Gilbert. It’s a daunting prospect, but at least I know one place where we’ll be able to get the help we’ll need.
breakthru is a national not-for-profit organisation committed to empowering people to create their own futures. They provide a range of services to those most in need, assisting people to gain employment, navigate the NDIS, access training, look after their emotional wellbeing and obtain funding.
breakthru provides a range of employment services, assisting people in all stages of their employment journey, from putting together their resume, to preparing for interview and dealing with their employer. Their individualised support service can help with getting ready for work, actively looking for a job and maintaining employment.
With my new-found realisation that employment is no longer a far-off, mythical, hypothetical situation for us, I searched breakthru’s website to see how they’ll be able to support Gilbert and help us support him too.
It was a big relief to find a short video detailing Tayla’s successful journey from school to work, with the help of breakthru and her employer, McDonald’s. It gives me hope that Gilbert will be able to find an understanding and supported way into employment too.
Every individual deserves their chance to succeed. It gives me hope that breakthru is helping so many people find opportunities to succeed through their employment support services. As a parent to kids with additional needs, it’s a relief to know there are organisations, like breakthru, making connections with potential employers and building a path so my kids can have a chance to show what they can really do.
Tell me, are you also freaking out, belatedly realising it’s time to start preparing for the future?
Disclaimer: I have received monetary compensation for this post, however the views and fears expressed here are 100% my own – especially my fears (I’m SO not ready for the future!)