Summer is almost over!

And that my friends is so hard to believe.

An event in our town, that signifies the end of summer, just happened this past weekend.

It is the Championship swim meet. Held every year at alternating local swim clubs.

It was just this past weekend. And as a former competitive swimmer, I love to go when it is held at our local club.

As I thought about the big meet this weekend, I started thinking about the meet a few years ago when all of us learned a big lesson about the number 18.

I rode to the swim meet with Michael, on our bikes. (parking is a big mess at these events) and we watched the meet and rode home.

To find Elizabeth’s swing broken in the back yard and Elizabeth sitting in a contorted position on the couch. And unable to walk without crying.

Her swing broke

She fell hard

And she couldn’t walk.

So off we go to the emergency room.

Where we are greeted by the intake person who takes down Elizabeth’s basic info, name, address and date of birth. And that is where the trouble begins because you see it was determined that she was 18 years old.

An adult in the eyes of the state of Ohio, meaning SHE was the one who had to sign papers and agree to treatment. NOT US!

And they were serious that she had to sign the papers.

She did and with a bit of blessing, we knew the one nurse working there who helped smooth the way for us. But what if that nurse hadn’t been there.

What if things were different and Elizabeth could not handle the situation, didn’t sign, or …..?

This brought home to us the need for guardianship for her. Now we had already laid the initial first steps to those plans but thought she had to turn 18 BEFORE we sat with a lawyer to begin the official process.

Wrong we were.

This needed done so that it was in order WHEN she turned 18. This way she would be part of her own plan of care but with us legally able to help her. Legally able to ask questions on her behalf!

So I share this story because so many times we as parents of these beautiful people with special needs are unaware of just what that magic number of 18 can mean for our children and us.

And not always is this topic covered by the school and the transition program offered.

So I think as the new school year begins, know that maybe this is something that should be put on your radar for the new year. Maybe starting to look at or investigate what your options are for your young adult who is turning that magic age soon.

Don’ t wait as we did, make your plans early.

I am not saying guardianship is the right way for everyone, as there are other options out there. Only that the options should go on your to do list so that you stay “just that much ahead” of the game for your child.

It all did turn out well that day, I mean she got the needed X-rays and the needed treatment and thank God there was no break. And she was able to walk without pain 2 days later.

But as you can see, the event stuck with us.

And I hope reading this helps save someone else the experience.

I wish everyone a peaceful week.

Michele Gianetti author of I Believe In You

I have so much to say in the area of working with the school and one of the biggest things that I need to say is be ready to advocate for your child.

Be ready to do it from day one and be ready to KEEP doing it each and everyday each and every year.

I wish someone had told me that when I first began my journey with Elizabeth! I think I thought that once things seemed in order then all was okay, but your really cannot feel that way. Yes things may indeed be in order but you have to be alert and watchful and involved.

Your child may come home from school upset, something may be bothering them and if they are like Elizabeth and non-verbal or limited in their verbal abilities, then you will need to find out what is happening. For those who don’t already know, Elizabeth is my daughter who has special needs. She has SPD(Sensory Processing Disorder) and Global Dyspraxia. She was non verbal until the age of 5.

You will need to be involved… this job is a non-stop one. I have learned so much as time has passed, I have learned that it is so important to be a part of your child’s school life and also that it is comforting in a way also, because you know that by being involved you will notice a problem and be able to address it in a shorter fashion than if you had to wait for someone to let you know or even wait for the beloved time called “conference night”

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