Skip to main content

Worrying About the Future

 


Worrying About the Future.

Ryan said to me recently. "Childhood gave me Autism. My teens gave me cancer. What will adulthood bring?" Big worries for someone so young. So much pressure and conditioning are placed upon us about the importance of education and the set path that the majority of us will take through the system to university and/or the job market. What happens if you do not follow that path or miss so much education that the path is no longer open to you. How do you plan for the future? What options are there available to you? Ryan was excluded from his primary school in year 2 and I home schooled him for a year while we worked with the Educational Psychologist to find a placement that would suit his complex needs at the time. Due to his speech, language and communication difficulties the decision was made to withdraw him from Welsh-medium education and focus on English only which meant our choices were limited in the area of Wales that we call home. We finally found Ryan a place a wonderful English medium school 10 miles from home where he attended part-time, to begin with as he and I got used to the new routine and having two young boys in separate primary schools, that was difficult but we didn’t want to upset Owen who was settled and thriving. Eventually, Ryan settled well into his new primary school, made a couple of friends and by all accounts began to thrive. There were ups and downs but overall the school were excellent in their support. The move up to Secondary school was well planned with lots of transition days and preparing Ryan with social stories. Ryan settled so well that he was looking forward to choosing his GCSE options in year 9 and concentrating on the subjects he enjoyed. This choice was cruelly snatched away from him during the Summer holiday break before he was due to begin year 10 and his crucial GCSE years of education. On 26 August we received the gut-wrenching cancer diagnosis and we were promptly informed that Ryan would not be returning to school that September due to the gruelling treatment regime that lay ahead. Ryan ultimately missed years 9, 10 and 11. He did not get to sit his GCSE exams with his peer group. The school were supportive of our situation and allowed Ryan to return to the Year 13 College but attend English and Maths GCSE lessons on a part-time basis for a year. He then sat those exams and thankfully passed both with a C in English and B in Maths.

College Courses

Having only two GCSE results again limited Ryan’s options for college. With guidance and advice from the school and careers advisor, we were able to get Ryan a place at college on a vocational course studying Animal Care which is a subject Ryan enjoys. He has always talked about working with animals. He finds them less complex than people. The Animal Care course is a level 2 qualification and included a block of work experience which Ryan chose to complete at a local RSPCA rescue centre. The feedback we received was that Ryan worked hard and did everything he was asked to do and more but he was not much of a team player in that he did not initiate conversations or engage well. We do not know if they were aware of Ryan’s Asperger’s diagnosis but again it shows the difficulties young adults with autism face. Do you tell your employer? Ryan prefers not to ‘advertise’ his diagnosis but he can come across as rude. We had this issue with the hospital staff when Ryan was going through his cancer treatment and we created a communication passport for his hospital file similar to the one he had in school, but doing something similar in the workplace is not as easy.

An update: April 2020 - Ryan achieved a Distinction in his level 2 exam.

Learning to Drive

Ryan has not yet made the decision to learn to drive. I am not sure if it is the unknown or having to sit in close proximity to the instructor and having to engage with them, but Ryan is reluctant whenever I raise the possibility with him. However, as we live in such a rural area, with a limited bus service then need to drive is important if you ever want to be able to get to work.

Job Market

We have discussed at length Ryan’s options now that he has finished his college course. Self-employed as a pet care business offering to look after pets when owners are away or at work. Dog walking, house sitting etc. Trying to find paid for employment with a rescue centre, kennels, cattery, pet shop etc. Volunteering opportunities. All these options have pros and cons and I would love to hear from you if you have any thoughts on what might be the next steps for Ryan. With social anxiety and communication difficulties finding a job is more difficult than usual. Add to that ongoing treatment for cancer and those difficulties increase. Employers are going to be reluctant to take on a person that is going to need regular time off for treatment and appointments. Have you been through this uncertainty yourselves? Any tips and advice will be greatly appreciated. Either from autism or cancer perspectives. A list of people and organisations that can help you with guidance and advice can be found on our Autism and Cancer pages on the website.




Comments

Popular Posts

Missing Education due to Illness

The Importance of Attendance If you read any news articles on education, correspondence from your child’s school, or are simply clued up on parenting then you will know the importance of school attendance. Schools place a great deal of focus on targets and will often offer incentives and competitions to encourage and increase attendance figures, but what if your child has a serious illness. What happens if they really are not well enough to attend school. What happens then? Attendance targets at Ryan's school are currently set at 95% attendance for the school year. Therefore realistically your child can only miss 10 school days due to illness. Medical appointments such as GP or Dentist do not count, but you are encouraged to make these appointments outside of the school day where feasibly possible. If your child consistently misses school, even if it is only one day a week, that equates to 39 days over the school year. Even missing one day in a week results in pressure on the

Questions to ask after Cancer diagnosis

Cancer Sucks I have shared with you Ryan's lymphoma journey where we have talked about the ups, the downs, the protocols for drugs, the side effects, but I realised recently I have never shared the questions. This post is all about what to ask when you receive a diagnosis of cancer. Receiving a cancer diagnosis is never ever going to be seen as good news. It can never be dressed up or made pretty. It is devastating, it is gut-wrenching, it is life-changing. There is so much information to process you will not think of the questions you need to ask or you will have hundreds of questions you want to ask all at once. These are just some of the questions you can ask once you have processed the news, in order to gain a better understanding of your fight ahead. General Information What type of cancer do I have? Where is it located? What are the risk factors for this disease? Is this type of cancer caused by genetic factors? Are other members of my family at risk? What lifestyle c

3 Years in Remission

  3 Years in Remission In May 2017 Ryan finished his 6 gruelling cycles of Chemotherapy and was in remission for 3 months before his cancer returned in September 2017. I wrote about our first 3 month cancer free milestone in our blog post here . In August 2020 Ryan once again finished treatment. This time he completed 3 years of Immunotherapy treatment and in November 2020 Ryan had tests done to confirm he is once again in remission. This is, of course, outstanding news but we were muted in any celebrations as it was such early days and we had been here once before. Ryan has been having regular check-ups every 3 months and in May 2021 we were able to confirm he has reached the 9-month milestone which was phenomenal news. Massive Scare - Relapse #3, ALMOST. Tuesday 4 October 2022. Ryan mentioned to me about an Ulcer on the roof of his mouth. I took photos and monitored for a couple of weeks before we start to panic too much.😳 Thursday 27 October 2022. Sadly Ryan has had to have yet a

Swansea Community Farm

Swansea Community Farm In April 2021 Ryan began volunteering at Swansea Community Farm (Welsh - Fferm Gymunedol Abertawe). For now, he attends one day a week on a Tuesday from 10 am to 4 pm but there is a possibility that he could also volunteer on Thursdays as well also 10 am to 4 pm. About the Farm Swansea Community Farm is the only city farm in Wales set in 3.5 acres of land with a variety of animals, an allotment, wildlife habitats, beehives and a café. The animals include donkeys, goats, sheep, ducks, geese and chickens. The farm aims to improve wellbeing, build skills and create a sense of community engagement by caring for the animals, producing local food and caring for the local environment. Duties Ryan has enjoyed a variety of different duties so far. He has walked the Donkeys, Sheep and Geese from their barns out to their fields and pond. Collected eggs from the Chickens, and has mucked out the donkey sheds. He has also cleaned out the chicken coops, cleaned and refilled all

Photograblog

By Ryan I like photos. Well the detail and how realistic you can get them. Instead of going out and looking at them yourself you can easily just find them, but doing photography you do that yourself. In a good picture I look for detail and how good it looks, which comes under detail actually, lighting, depth, what’s in the background, what’s the main focus of the picture that type of stuff. Possibly my autism has helped me to see the detail in making a good photograph. I looked at it a bit more. I can see deeper into the picture. I get the meaning of it. I can see why somebody took it either for the beauty of it or just for fun maybe. With my photography I am not having to interact with people or do the social thing that I find difficult. It’s a project I can do by myself in my own time.  My photos don’t involve people. I prefer wildlife and landscape photography instead. I don’t take photos of animals even though I like them because well fi