What can fly without wings?

"I will not let my disability define me, I will define my disability." Noah Goldstein, 18-year-old at high school graduation at Willow Hill School in Sudbury, MA, June 2016

True confession. Noah is my son who was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome at the age of four. As he explained last year to his graduating class of seven and their families he had been in denial about having Asperger's and had come to the conclusion of acceptance of who he is and why he sometimes behaves the way he does.

Neither his father or I put a label on him until he was asking what his diagnosis is/was. I explained it to him, but reassured him he was extremely high-functioning and would be able to live a very happy and unique life that he creates with our guidance. It took him a couple of years to fully accept this diagnosis and it was painful to watch his struggle with coming to terms with his challenges that were quite different than his two sisters.

There were a lot of ups and downs including a stint at a summer pre-college program to access "college-readiness" that ended with a failing grade. Noah simply wasn't ready to enter college "on time" so he's been studying at a local trade school for carpentry and working at Dunkin' Donuts. It's been a game-changer in his outlook and attitude.

He diligently began the process of applying to colleges in September of 2016 -- many which had a program for students on the autism spectrum. He didn't meet with success with all of the colleges he applied to, however, we worked through what a plan B might look like and low and behold -- I'm happy to say (as Noah is) he'll be attending Landmark College in Putney, VT this fall.

Although I'm sharing a story about my son, I think it's true for most of us -- we deny what we don't want to bring awareness or recognition to in our own lives. Very often though, when we finally can accept a situation, we begin the process of moving forward in a more productive manner. It may come with some heartache, trials and tribulations, but in the end -- it makes us stronger versions of ourselves. This example also illustrates that we all work at different paces at times and that's ok. There's such a rush to the next logical step -- we forget to be and live in the moment.

Is there something you're not accepting in yourself or your situation? What's the worst that could happen by doing so and making a plan to move forward? The only thing that's being wasted is time. . . and in my opinion, that's the most important thing we have.


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