• Understanding Autism from the Inside

    “Academics came easily to me. The rest of life—not so much.”
  • This post may contain affiliate links and we may earn compensation when you click on the links at no additional cost to you.

My Aspie Teen Turned 18 Yesterday and I Cried Myself to Sleep–Twice.

I cannot believe he is 18; I am NOT ready.

Yesterday, my oldest became an adult and it doesn’t feel like it.  I feel like I have lost something that I can never have back and it is terrifying.  I know I am not ready for him to be an adult, and have adult responsibilities or be expected to do things that I usually do for him.  And, I know he is not prepared, he isn’t ready.  There are so many things that he doesn’t know, doesn’t understand, doesn’t … so many things that I haven’t TAUGHT him!


What do I do now? When I can’t make the decision for him? When I can’t talk to the doctor’s about his things?  When he doesn’t communicate well, but refuses help or acknowledgment that he even needs any.  We all need help, ALL OF US, no matter our status.  Is he just being a teenager?  I really don’t know–I don’t have any “typical” teenagers; I was not a typical teenager–but I was also sooo different than my eldest.

I know much of this is just Mom panic (maybe, but maybe not), and I know much of this is my emotional mess about his turning 18, but that doesn’t make it any easier, does it?

Two nights ago, when I lay down and realized it was after midnight and officially April 7, 2017; I couldn’t stop the tears, and I couldn’t really explain them either.  Then, last night, after he went to bed without even letting me sing Happy Birthday to him (because he doesn’t want to celebrate, or do anything) I received an email from our doctor’s office informing me that I no longer had access to his patient’s portal and the tears started again.

Why is this so hard?  Is it this hard for everyone?

What do I know now, that I feel like he isn’t equipped (yet) for the world?  I don’t want to make him feel like he can’t do something, but there are things that he just can’t yet, and things that he doesn’t think about in the right way.  He won’t discuss his diagnosis; doesn’t “want” it, but that will not make it go away.  Not now; not ever.  This is truly new territory for me.  I have to admit I miss my little boy already (although truthfully he has been this grumpy teen for quite sometime), but I miss the little guy who was excited to go on family vacations, and who loved to do things with us instead of being holed up in his room with his moody brooding!

Speaking of family vacations, it is spring break here now….and there it is still snowing!  We are getting ready to leave for two weeks, and although he doesn’t want to go, he is coming along. (He did say that I couldn’t make him anymore…grrrr)

So, today starts our adventure out on the road, and I fear this may be my last “family” vacation with all the boys (probably not true, but it feels that way) and I am stressed, and nervous, and worried, and over-thinking it, and tearful, and putting way more pressure on myself that is likely necessary–but that is after all what I do!


More to come…from the road.  I hope.





Jeannie Davide-Rivera

Jeannie is an award-winning author, the Answers.com Autism Category Expert, contributes to Autism Parenting Magazine, and the Thinking Person's Guide to Autism. She lives in New York with her husband and four sons, on the autism spectrum.


  1. My son turns 18 in a couple of days and I feel exactly the same. He was only diagnosed in Nov and has not taken it well, refuses to discuss it with anyone and wont acknowledge it all. I knew this would be his reaction before he was diagnosed. He’s definitely not ready to be an adult. Stays in his room most of the time, we are struggling to get him to go to school, he only has a few weeks left before his state exams, then he’s finished. Has a place on a course in Sept, but he has to do his exams, but I’m afraid the pressure will get to him and he wont manage to do them :-(. I’ve been told things will get better – hopefully it will.

  2. While my son is only 14, I am already panicking. Everything you have written in this post is sitting there in my ever churning mind simmering away.

Comments are closed

  • Autism Family Travels at Passportsandpushpins.com