Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Media Alert: I Declare WAR

I have contacted the media.

Tonight, my children and I played a modified version of that good old standby card game, war.

We played for 15 minutes, taking turns, cheering for one another. We all understood the game, and we all had fun.

Never have I experienced this as a parent. I am not sure I can really believe it happened.

My daughter will be seven next month and my son nine shortly thereafter but multiple challenges stand in the way of something as simple as playing a card game together. Tonight, we declared war on those challenges. We achieved a million miles of success.

I have no idea who won the game.

I am pretty sure we all did.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day in the Life

I share this because I welcome any suggestions. 


Dear Principal, Teacher, Aides, and Resource Teacher, and After School Teacher

Tonight, as usual, we sent Rooster into the bathroom to brush teeth. In a few minutes, we heard sobbing. We found Rooster curled up in the empty bathtub in his pajamas inconsolable. Below are some of his comments, with hesitancy about using names but I think open communication is important and honestly Rooster appears to be in a crisis:

“When I was born, I wanted to be appreciated. At my school, no one appreciates me. I hate it there! It’s not fair.”

“V tells people I’m not smart.”

“I have friends but I lose friends.”

“My aides and my classmates make rules that are not fair.”

“[My aides] are like bystanders! They don’t help me!”

“I don’t have any friends and the people at school are cruel to me! And no one cares!”

“I want to be accepted but no one will be my friend.”

“My school is full of bullies! No one will play with me! It hurts!”

"I feel so lonely and I don't get any respect from anyone!"

He has never expressed these sentiments before, and self expression has long been hard for him. Rooster tends to put on a lighthearted expression at all times at home and to keep conversations brief. This outpouring of emotion and details shocked us. We don’t simply take all the comments at face value, but we certainly respect that this is how he truly feels. We do not know what brought this on, but we are determined to support him however we can. Today is Valentine’s Day, and our son went to bed talking about being heartbroken, and how he wished he could never speak to anyone again at his school.  He used the word cruel a half dozen times, sobbing and clinging to us, which we have never seen before.

We need to meet as soon as possible. We need a plan to support our son and help him feel safe at school. We need a team of support for Rooster. We need it soon.

Please let us know the first available opportunity to meet. Also, please let us know if there is a counselor or school psychologist who could meet as well. 


Rooster's Family 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

On We Go

If you asked me this morning how I feel about the frequent news stories about what might or might not cause autism, I would have told you I don't listen to those anymore.

I have two great kids, autism is part of our deal, and on we go.

For some reason, this afternoon while driving I heard that pregnant women who take folic acid blah blah blah, and my stomach soured.

For a moment, the insidious guilt and worry and insecurity wriggled its way through the crevices around my logic and strength and did a sneak attack on my nervous system.

And then? The rest of my brain mooned it. Just took the low road and one-upped that fearful stuff. Said, "Nuh-uh, you stinkin' drama. Git. OUT."

Ask me now. Ask me how much I care that you could Google up six trillion dozen ways from Sunday how I might have invented autism.

What's that? I am sorry, I can't hear your silly question, I'm going to hang out with two great kids (kids I love and who love me, kids who have a good life and kids I wouldn't trade or change) and autism is just part of our deal, and on we go.

Thursday, February 7, 2013


I have a new job, and it frightens me how much I like it.
But before I go off on a superstitious rant about that, I have a reason for mentioning this...
Recently as part of my job I had the opportunity to lead a service learning trip to a school for children with moderate to severe autism.
I felt too many things all at one time to know how to explain it all, but some things rang out loud and clear:
I like to be around people who want to treat everyone they meet with dignity.
I like to help people.
I like to learn, to teach, to lead, to grow.
And I love to know there are others who share those passions.

One thing I've been mulling over a bit:
The people at the school we visited said that originally they saw a small population with autism and a large population with Down Syndrome, but that has dramatically flipped, and our group saw only adults with DS who worked there, only children with autism in the classes.

As I said to my group, since there are more and more kids who have autism, in the future there will more and more adults who have autism. We owe it to our entire society to do a better job making the future for ALL OF US the best it can be. We need to invest in education to make the future brighter.

And those are my inarticulate thoughts of the day.