Zoom Autism Magazine ZOOM Autism Issue 5 | Page 44

Releasing Gifted Kids into the Wild RETOUCH BY DAVID FINCH F or all they knew, my parents had raised a well-adjusted young man. Bright, funny, ambitious—at the age of eighteen, it seemed as though I possessed all of the adjectives a person might need in order to be successful in life. I, too, had thought I had my act together, having soared through all the requisite developmental milestones of a Gen X-er at age-appropriate intervals: nized as the step that necessarily followed high school. The coursework wasn’t the problem; it was living independently that seemed to be the issue. I just wasn’t prepared for the demands of real life. Of all the things I’d learned in my honors and advanced-placement classes, none of it had to do with functioning like an adult. Laundry, for instance, was just something that everyone else seemed to know how to do. Sure, I had vague recollections of my mom cranking dials and pressing d buttons on the machines e arn e l ’d I s g at home. Detergents were e thin Age 7: Stopped pred Of all th n a s r added, and there was no tending to be a Duke in my ho ment classes, some screen thingy that -place of Hazzard d e c h n t i a v gathered lint, but this ad do w had to t i f . Age 8: Began preo t constituted the entirety e l non adu n a e k i l tending to be GI Joe of my knowledge of ing unction f laundry processes. For Age 12: Began recitthis reason, I avoided ing entire episodes of doing any laundry my entire first week and ALF—girls were not a half at the University of Miami. I’d pass the impressed by this remarkable skill dormitory laundry room