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I think I have done pretty well so far, but now that my son is 13, the appropriate things for him to start working on doing independently are just seeming too scary to me.

 

He walked to CVS by himself today to buy candy, and I would not have said yes.  My husband and daughter thought it was fine, and it was fine.

 

I am just unsure how to let him do things by himself where anything could happen.  
 

I expect for him to want to do more things like this, and it’s not like I would see myself preventing him.  
 

I just do not know how other people handle not knowing if their kids are going to be okay if something comes up.  

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It's hard.  We are in the process of having a new eval done for DS13.  He has an ADHD diagnosis but I think it is likely he is on the spectrum also (It was a serious consideration at his first eval - but they were most confident in just saying ADHD when he was 7).  When we had a 1 hr pre-eval intake appointment, the psych seemed to have "eyebrows raised" a bit in asking if DS13 ever did anything or went anywhere independently when I said that he really didn't.  Between my nervousness that he would get distracted along the way and not make it to his destination and the fact that almost all of his activities are done with a sibling involved as well so there is little motivation for him to need to ride a bike or walk to an activity himself...it just hasn't happened.  But I know we need to start trying him out on things like this! Next year he will be walking to the neighborhood middle school a few blocks away for a daily class.  It will be good, but yeah, I am still worried about him getting distracted and being late for class. 

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My son is a little hard to understand when he talks.  It’s not too bad but it’s noticeable.

 

Well I told some relatives — and *nobody* expressed any worry or concern about him walking to CVS by himself and paying by himself.  
 

That really surprised me — I was expecting for people to wonder if he would be okay, but nobody did.  
 

It’s only in the past few months that I’ve stopped walking him to his Sunday School class at church (from the sanctuary to the youth area, in a small church where everyone who attends the early service knows who he is).  I worried about that, and walking to CVS is a huge step up from that!  Even though it’s less than a 10 minute walk from our house and only crosses one street that is at-all busy.  And it’s not a “hard” street to cross, you might need to let a few cars go by and then it will be easy to go when there are no cars at all.  
 

I think I need to work on this.


My son can start DRS stuff here next year (9th grade) and I think they expect a lot more, or take a lot more for granted.  
 

I am also used to him going together with a sibling, which really makes a big difference.  I am very comfortable with him doing things with a sibling, but I am finding out it’s different when it’s just him, as far as how I think about it.

 

I don’t feel like I have anybody very good to ask right now, for things like this.  I think the people I could ask would say “yes, do it, of course,” but my trust is not there.  I think it’s very easy to say when it’s not your child.  

 

 

 

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By the way he carried my husband’s phone with him today.  
 

We don’t think he needs a phone right now in general and I don’t think a phone would help me feel less worried.

 

But I think in a year we are likely to get him a phone.  Not sure yet, though.  
 

 

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4 hours ago, Lecka said:

I am just unsure how to let him do things by himself where anything could happen.  

Because anything could happen anyway.

(((hugs))

 

Look at the skills involved in going to buy lollies at the shop.
He knows how to walk.
He knows how to cross the street.
He knows he has to pay for stuff.
He knows how to pay for stuff.
He knows his people will go looking for him if he's not home in a reasonable amount of time.
And probably he knows if that happens, he won't be allowed out alone again any time soon.

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9 hours ago, Lecka said:

 

I just do not know how other people handle not knowing if their kids are going to be okay if something comes up.  

My brother is not street smart even now. My parents could only hope for the best and pray. He started taking public transportation to and from school in 7th grade (Asia). No one was free to take the public bus with him so he did it himself. One of us would still accompany him to take public transport to places other than school until he was 16 years old. Many of us were taking public transportation to and from school from 1st grade.

5 hours ago, Lecka said:

My son is a little hard to understand when he talks.  It’s not too bad but it’s noticeable.

 

Well I told some relatives — and *nobody* expressed any worry or concern about him walking to CVS by himself and paying by himself.  

My brother was hard to understand until he had braces for 7th to 9th grade. As long as he doesn’t need to talk he was okay. So buying something from CVS would be easy since he could shake his head if ask “need a bag” and just wait for his change. Or he could use self checkouts.

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I understand. It's hard. One thing I evaluate with this kind of thing is, are there other people around? On the walk to CVS, is it pretty out in the open or is he secluded? I also feel more comfortable when my kids are together or in groups but generally I'm ok with it when they are in public. I definitely want them to have a phone, though. 

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On 8/11/2022 at 2:49 PM, Lecka said:

I am just unsure how to let him do things by himself where anything could happen.  

There's the question of not being sure and there's the question of who takes responsibilty for the decision. If someone else makes the decision (like your dh), then you go out for coffee, shop, and decide they've got it. Sometimes it was too soon, sometimes not. But sometimes we need a coping plan for what to do with our anxiety about the thing that actually IS a bit on the edge.

Is this a small town? I don't live where one could walk to CVS, never have, lol. Has he walked there with other people? He has the skills and experience to do the task safely? It's always appropriate to make sure the task was adequately set up. I wouldn't expect success necessarily on a new task for which he has no experience or preparation. 

We do things sort of inbetween, at a distance. Like here's the target task, go do it, and we'll be watching from the car. 

Edited by PeterPan
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20 hours ago, Lecka said:

He’s actually very dependable.  
 

 

People think I'm crazy traveling with ds and cruising, but it gives us a chance to target some of these independence skills in a very controlled setting. There are cameras everywhere, security, people to help, so you get some "city" type freedom without too too much that could go wrong. They won't let him off the ship alone, but I can even let him walk back from the beach to the ship early. He's done that successfully and that's sorta like going to CVS. 😄 So you know, maybe take a cruise. Lets you relax and him build skills. 🙂

That dependability is something to harness btw. My dh will give ds tasks to do, like go to xyz location and water plants, go to this or that spot and do such and such. So it doesn't always have to be CVS, kwim? At that point you're building work skills and taking advantage of what he already has. You can even stretch EF doing it, like when you wake up or when you come home from school you need to go to ... and do ... 

Edited by PeterPan
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Fwiw I don't think it's overprotective to be concerned. There's anxiety and there's appropriately cautious. Sometimes they merge. We have anxiety so we're making sure we're appropriately cautious. Once we know the task is set up safely, we deal with our anxiety.

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We’re in a suburb and we are on the edge of a development that meets into a corner.  We can go down our street and cross the street that leads into the development, and the CVS is there.  Then there’s a major intersection with a bank and a shopping area with a Starbucks, some restaraunts, a dog groomer, etc.  

 

He’s gone to CVS with his sister and she has been allowed to go alone for a little while.  
 

He is very pleased with himself.

 

He earned money to be able to go by helping my older son with yard work at my parents’ house, so I think it’s good, really.  
 

I feel like this is the tip of the iceberg and there is just going to be more and more things like this coming up.  It’s hard but this success will be a foundation for the future, which is what I need to tell myself.  

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We do a lot of this at work with students.  We do a lot of fading prompts where we go with the student , then follow behind them, then let them go with a peer, then meet them there, then alone and they text or we watch from afar, etc.

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Have you seen the Netflix show "Old Enough"? Japanese toddlers in rural Japan going on errands. Before I watched it I thought it would just make me feel bad about how much I wouldn't/couldn't let my kids do this sort of thing, but then when I watched the actual show I realized how much the parents scaffolded the kids to be able to (sort of) do the tasks. Parents made signs, special bags, recruited neighbors to spy on the kids along the way, etc. Also the parents would sit at home nervous and anxious for their kids. Definitely gave me some ideas on how to set up independent tasks for my kids, but also keep them safe enough. 

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It looks like my son is going to change classes and have 7 different teachers this year for 8th grade.

 

He has been having the same teacher for 4 classes and then having homeroom and two electives where he changes classes.

 

I am feeling optimistic, he has done well with his electives, and 4 teachers are teachers he has had in a previous year.  
 

And he did go to CVS by himself!!!!!!!!

 

We also met the teacher and saw the room he would be in if he had the alternate schedule and I liked it but we don’t think it’s the right choice for what to try.  

 

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