Friday, November 7, 2008

Parents of Autism Harbor Hope, Fear (ABCNews on Susan Senator Family)

Parents of Autism Harbor Hope, Fear
Autism in America: Prospects Hazy for Future Diagnosis, Treatment
By LARA SALAHI
ABC News Medical Unit
Nov. 7, 2008

In some ways, Susan Senator of Brookline, Mass., was no different than any other parent who was worried about her 18-year-old child leaving the nest.

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Nat Batchelder and his mother Susan Senator view a family photo album. Senator says she spends a great deal of time worrying abuot her son's future.
(Handout)

But in fact her situation was vastly different. She spent many nights awake wondering if sending her autistic son to a specialized residential school program was the best option.

Senator said she was so afraid that she could not tell her son, Nat Batchelder, who was 18 at the time, that he would be moving out of his family's home.

"If we tell him too soon, he'll just get anxious," she said. "But the time is passing, and Nat is getting older, and we want to see him succeed."

Senator said she became sick to her stomach wondering whether her son would be able to adapt to change in his everyday routine -- a difficult task for many individuals on the autism spectrum.

Fortunately, it appears that Batchelder, now 19, has adjusted to his new schedule at the residential program. But for Senator, the worrying continues; she now fears what her son's life will be like in three years, when he ages out of a specialized school system.

[FULL STORY AT ABCNEWS.COM]

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