Sarah’s daughter has taken a huge step towards independence by applying for her first job.

I was talking to my Dad about how much my daughter had enjoyed her Prom, and that we now had to find ways to keep her occupied until college starts in September. My Dad responded with a story about someone he knows with a daughter the same age as mine. He described how the woman had ‘put her foot down’ and was insisting her daughter go out and find a job 

My daughter has lived in our family for over a decade, but sometimes I feel we’re no closer to having a shared family understanding of her capabilities and challenges than we were the day she came home. I don’t blame Dad. He loves my daughter and he has never met anyone else who can’t use money or tell the time, who is paralysed when asked a simple question by someone they don’t know, and who struggles to follow a short list of instructions. 

I might as well tell my daughter to go and stop the war in Ukraine as go out and find a job. Partly, she’s a lazy and self-indulgent teenager who’s just finished school and wants zero responsibilities. But largely, she genuinely wouldn’t know where to start.

So I wrote her a CV and applied for a job for her – a shop floor assistant at Primark, where she wouldn’t have to handle money and where she could hide out amongst the cheap t-shirts if she needed to. And where, by the way, she can earn £70 a day, which pays for a third of a pair of Air Jordan Retro Bubblegum High Tops.

Remarkably, she went along with all of this and yesterday, she had an interview. I’m a bit confused about the outcome – she doesn’t seem to know whether or not they’re going to give her a job. But watching her disappear into the bowels of the shop for her interview by herself was a huge moment.

I know we should never compare our children to other people’s children. But it's at times like this when I feel mostly keenly the difference between my daughter and my friends’ children. When it comes to navigating real life, she is often miles apart. While they are going off interrailing across Europe, she is plucking up the courage to take a train to see a friend who lives 10 miles away.

But those children didn’t live in 5 families by the time they were 5. Their parents didn’t go to prison for neglect and abuse. If my daughter can manage a real job once or twice a week between now and September, I have no doubt that she will be hugely proud of herself, and rightly so. It will do her the world of good. If she can’t, that’s fine too. The Bubblegum Jordans will still be there when she’s ready.