Harry attends a special education school in Pennsylvania where his mother lives and spends the summers with me at my beach house in New York. He does well academically but struggles with math.
Harry has so much potential. He's shown a lot of interest in fishing. I took him out on a friend's boat over the summer, and he caught his first keeper – a seabass. Harry was happy and excited. I'd never seen that side of him. To this day, he still gloats about his catch. It just goes to show with a little extra push, we can see these kinds of results. It gave both of us the feeling of a major accomplishment.
Harry loves to play video games. For several years that's all he ever did. When he's with me in the summer, I limit his gaming time. I want him to take full advantage of the beach.
Last summer, I got Harry his first job as a dishwasher where I tend bar. I sat down with the chef and explained his situation. It was a home run. Harry learned how to earn a paycheck and did a good job in the kitchen. Yes, he was a little slow. He sat down and took breaks because of his arthritis, but he began to socialize. This was a giant step for him. I'm looking forward to this summer and continuing this progress.
"Parenting an Adult Child with Disabilities" is a series on eSpeciallyBen. As Ben approached 18, it was clear our role changed as parents. We needed to help Ben transition into adulthood. These stories are meant to assist other families who face, or will face, some of the same challenges.