Alethea Jo is a proud mom who runs a blog called “Ben’s Writing, Running Mom.”
One of her sons, Alex, has Down syndrome. Alethea wrote on Facebook last week that she worries if her son will ever be able to achieve his goals of being independent with his disabilities working against him.
Alex wants to be independent; to live on his own, maybe with a spouse. As such, our goal has been to prepare for him to make this happen.
I sometimes (often) wonder if he can do it. I worry about the what ifs and the innumerable steps between now and then. I’m concerned that we aren’t teaching him enough or that he won’t learn it all.
However, many of Alethea’s worries fell to the wayside when she accidentally overslept one morning before school.
The mom continued on Facebook:
This morning I had just returned from a family wedding in Colorado with a cold and Mike out of town for work. The alarm went off, I shut it off and the next thing I knew it was 31 minutes later. A mere 20 minutes before we had to be out the door.
Upon realizing she only had 20 minutes to get her children out the door, she “panicked”:
I had slept in sweatpants and a tank, so I threw on my sweatshirt as I ran downstairs in a tizzy, mentally prioritizing what to do first.
But as Alethea ran into the kitchen, she saw something she never expected to see.
Her sons, Alex and Ben, getting ready for school:
With confusion, I surveyed the scene that I entered. Ben sitting at the table with his breakfast, and Alex, fully dressed and emptying the dishwasher.
Alex had gotten everything started this morning on his own. Both for himself and his brother. He knew what to do, and he rescued our morning. All I had left to do was tie up the loose ends.
What she thought would turn into a chaotic morning ended up showing Alethea just how capable her son has become.
Alex wants to be independent; to live on his own, maybe with a spouse. As such, our goal has been to prepare for him to…
There will be ups and downs along the way, but this guy is on his way to independence.
I couldn’t be more proud.
Alethea later told Dearly that their family has worked long and hard with Alex to teach him how to do different things for himself.
And while that isn’t always the easiest road to take, it’s proved to be the most effective:
We focus a lot on daily living skills. We have worked hard teaching Alex how to do things for himself. It is easier in the short run to do things for your kids, but teaching independence is better for the long run. When we find ourselves doing too much for him we try to catch ourselves and back off.
Alex perceives himself as capable of anything. Helping him attain his goals while remaining realistic about his cognitive impairment can be a tough balance.
The proud mom added, “We try to empower him while pointing him toward the next attainable aspiration.”