Why My Daughter With Autism Will One Day Take Over the World


Every year as part of the IEP process, we, as Caroline’s parents, are asked to write a future planning statement. This is just a couple of sentences speaking to our aspirations for Caroline. I look at the future planning statement as an opportunity to tell the IEP committee we, in no uncertain terms, have exceedingly high expectations for Caroline, and thus for the members of her IEP committee.

Caroline puts in the hours. She attends school for 31 hours a week and then receives an additional eight to 12 hours of therapy on top of that — which means most weeks she works more than 40 hours. I can count on one hand the number of times Caroline has not been diligent and engaged during therapy. Given the hours Caroline spends learning whether her voice needs to be on or off for a particular sound, developing a motor plan to put on her shoes and gaining the hand strength necessary for pre-writing skills, I think she deserves my confidence that she will achieve great things in her life. I have high expectations for Caroline.

Anyone who works as hard as she does earns success, and that will not be different for Caroline. I will not let anyone tell her, her hard work should be less valued than that of any of her peers. Thus Caroline’s future planning statement reflects not our hopes and aspirations for Caroline, but our expectations for her. She deserves nothing less than for her parents, family, teachers, therapists and friends to have the highest of expectations of her, because anything less would be devaluing all of her hard work.

Caroline’s future planning statement:

Caroline will ultimately be a well-adjusted, contributing member of her community. To us, this means Caroline will obtain a college education that will allow her to establish herself as a professional. To do this, Caroline must continue to improve her communication skills, gain a greater degree of self-regulation and be able to develop meaningful relationships with peers. In the short term, Caroline must become fully potty-trained, be able to follow routines with minimal assistance, and develop the reading and mathematical skills and knowledge necessary for future academic success.

It might take a little longer to develop some of the foundational skills necessary for success, but with Caroline’s work ethic, her potential will know no limits. In other words, Caroline will one day take over the world, because we as her parents expect nothing less of her.

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