When Scott has a firm goal, he can be a bulldog, as you will soon learn…..

“When I went to high school, I was late out of the starting gate. Because I didn’t talk until I was six years old, I didn’t start high school until I was sixteen. I was in a combination regular/special ed program with help to stay organized. I was getting good grades, running track and cross country, and I loved high school.

A lot of people told me I looked young, but looks can be deceiving. I could fake my friends out, but my birth certificate didn’t lie. That caused problems, because school districts have rules. I loved track and cross country, and ran when I was in middle school, but they wouldn’t let me run all four years in high school. The district said I couldn’t compete for the team after I turned nineteen. That made the coach unhappy, because I was a good runner and he needed the points.

I didn’t have problems just with athletics. They also said I couldn’t go to high school past the age of 20!! That made me extremely unhappy my junior year in high school, because I wanted a high school diploma and could not understand why they were telling me I couldn’t have it. It didn’t seem fair.

During my junior year, I was going half the day to the Wayne/Westland Skills Center, which was a job training program for people with disabilities. The rest of the day I went to Livonia Churchill High School. The school bus took me to both places. I was happy, because I liked them both.

About that time, the people at both the Skills Center and Churchill started grumbling about how I didn’t need to attend both schools. They said I didn’t need a high school diploma. I could go to the Skills Center until I was 26, then graduate and get a job. But that wasn’t my goal! I wanted to get my diploma, then go to college. I wanted to show everybody that I could do it, because they didn’t believe me and I wanted to prove them wrong.

They kept telling me I couldn’t go to high school past the age of 20, and I kept saying “why not?” It was my life, and I was not happy about their rules. They said if I got my high school diploma, I couldn’t go to the Skill Center anymore. I don’t think even my parents were sure about my plan, but they knew how stubborn I could be, so they waited to see what would happen.

I had a ally in my corner. Her name was Evelyn Wolff. She was the director of my program, pretty high up, and she believed I should be able to do it. She didn’t seem to care much about their rules, just smiled very nicely and told my counselor that rules could be broken! It also helped that my counselor was my cross country coach!

I’ll never forget the day of the IEP. Mom and Dad told me to dress nicely, because it might help me to get what I wanted after all. I got dressed up, and did not complain once. That was rare for me, because I hate getting dressed up. I am a jeans and tshirt/sweatshirt person to the core. Getting what I wanted was more important to me than wearing what I wanted.

During the IEP (yearly Individualized Education Plan), they were still arguing with me. All the bigwigs were there. It was like the battle between David and Goliath, except I had my coach, Mrs. Wolff, and my parents on my side. I just kept listening to them talk. My parents listened too, but for once they didn’t say anything. They told me beforehand that they wanted me to fight my own battle. If I wanted it that badly, I had to fight for it.

I did what I’m really good at – pestering people until I get what I want. I just kept repeating that I wanted my diploma. I was nice about it, but firm. It didn’t matter what they said. I wasn’t willing to back down, and I think they knew it. I think they were aggravated with me, but respected the fact that I was standing firm. Months later, I was standing on that podium, graduating with everyone else. They all said I couldn’t do it, but I proved them wrong. Again. It was one of the happiest days of my life.” Scott Howse

You might also like:

Get a Sample
Chapter for FREE.

Get exclusive access to some of our best autism tips and a FREE chapter of our new book: Unlocking The Autism Code: A Parent's Guide to Understanding and Coping With Autism!

100% privacy. We will never spam you!

Speak Your Mind