I'll meet you after work

Updated: Aug 2, 2019

Who would have thought? After I texted 'I'll meet you after work', I sent a second text 'A working man. So proud!' Today is his first day of work - ever!

Recently he was offered a position with Piranha Mowing. He's wanted this for quite some time now, but he wasn't ready. It would have set him up to fail if we'd jumped in and got going too early. There is no way of expressing how much a job represents the 'impossible dream' in this young man's life (YM). The milestones YM has achieved since we first met him, back when he was 17, are amazing.

He's 24 now. A couple of months back he moved out of home into a share house, supported by GSL. His dream is to one day move away from Cairns and live independently. In his mind this means looking after himself at home, and working so he has income. I know this is what every other 24 year old takes for granted. It's something YM has to work at, and he's doing just that.

Last week there was a discussion betwee the house mates about become a foster house for abandoned kittens. All the love, adoration and dependency of the kitten comes with cost and responsibility. These were being discussed and each house mate was asked whether they were 'in' or 'out'. YM said, 'I'm out' with the explanation that 'I'm not very good at looking after myself yet'.

So where has he come from? What are those milestones? YM has autism with intellectual impairment, so when I say learning to manage emotions, I feel I'm making an understatement. It's all the confusion that leads to the emotions that is really the issue. How does one make sense of the world, particularly through that phase of leaving school, wanting friends and wanting girlfriends? The confusion is, well, confusing. YM has more public nuisance charges than you can count on all your fingers and toes, he's visited the watch house on many occasions and had three stints in jail. He understands the legal boundaries of societal tolerances, but that doesn't mean he understands the social world.

In years gone by he was terrible with money. He understood the value and he understood that on pension day he could attract 'friends' if he shared his money. His fortnights used to revolve around being king for a day and pauper for the rest. He learned that if he shared anything he owned or could acquire, with girls, they would become his girlfriend. He was heart broken each time he was shunned when the money or items ran out. Understanding the adult social world has been difficult for YM, and it continues to be.

So here we are; YM starts work today. He's ready. I might tell him I'm proud, and I know his mum will be ecstatic, but I really don't think this will be anything in comparison to how he feels about himself.

Welcome to the crew!

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