I was trying to have a serious talk with Kayla about what she wants for her future. Where does she see herself living - does she want to live on her own in an apartment? Does she want to go to college? Does she want to have a boyfriend and/or get married? What kind of job might she want to have?
I've heard some of Kayla's similarly-aged peers with Down syndrome express their hopes, dreams, and desires for their future ... but Kayla rarely does this. I think, for her, the future is such an abstract concept.
I have talked to her before ... mentioning getting married (she always, adamantly exclaims NO!), or going to college, but I think this is something we're going to have to keep discussing for her to grasp it; for her to realize she has a say in her future. She will be 13 this summer and I want her to realize her adult life doesn't have to be spent with her parents - although some people might tell me, "well there you go, she is telling you exactly where she sees her future!"
So we were sitting on her bed, about to read a book together, when I broached the subject of her future once again.
Most of the conversation went like this,
"Kayla where do you want to live when you're an adult?"
"I live at home!"
"But when you're an adult where do you want to live?"
"I'm not an adult, I'll be 13 on my birthday, I'll be a teenager."
"Yes you're going to be 13 on your next birthday ... but you will eventually be an adult. Do you want to have your own place?"
"No! I live with you and dad and Lucas!"
"But don't you want to move out and live on your own?"
"No! I want to live here forever!"
Ok different topic:
"Do you want to go to college?"
"No! I'll be in 7th grade, I'm in junior high!"
"But then you'll be in 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th grade. And when you're finished high school you can go to college."
"I don't want to!"
"What about a job? Where do you want to work?"
I don't think she really had an answer for this one. There was some more back and forth about what she might be interested in, what she might want to do when she is an adult ... but nothing with assurance.
She kept trying to change the subject by asking if we could go to Dairy Queen. I kept telling her no we weren't going to DQ right then. Back and forth we went, "I like DQ." "After dinner we go to DQ and get ice cream?" Around and around we went.
Finally she told me, "Just read now." She was clearly done with the conversation.
I told her, "Ok. We can read now."
But I had to get in one last word by telling her, "I just wanted to talk with you about your future you know. I just wanted to talk about where you might want to live, what kind of job you might want to have."
Kayla responded with, "I want to work at Dairy Queen! I get a job at Dairy Queen, that's where I will work!"
I guess she had the last word after all.
Well played Kayla, well played!