Pounding the Pavement

Last week, I had the opportunity to go to MANSEF Advocacy Day in Annapolis, the first time I’ve ever availed myself of the opportunity.

MANSEF – the Maryland Association of Nonpublic Special Education Facilities – is the umbrella group for schools like the Monster’s, private schools that take students from the public school system who need more resources than the schools themselves can provide.  (This is a key distinction that I constantly have to emphasize when I’m at various meetings.  Yes, it’s a private school… but the city schools pay the tuition to send the Monster there, and he’s still legally a city school student.)  Nonpublic special education facilities help the public education system fulfill their FAPE obligations under IDEA. Continue reading

Something Positive

Both kids on the ice, October 2016I figured that everyone could use something less controversial than the big news of the day that’s doubtless dominating everyone’s Twitter and Facebook feeds today.

Curling.  Specifically, with the kids.

It’s actually been a while since I talked about taking both R and the Monster curling, so I thought that I’d give everyone an update as to how our little adventure into athletic endeavors is going. Continue reading

Nopeward Mobility

When I was seven, my family moved from one town to another, at least partially to move us to a better school district.  It’s not that strange in America really – the idea that consumers can vote with their feet, and if they think the schools in the neighboring school district (or, indeed, in a neighboring or non-neighboring state) are better, you can sell your house and move.

It’s not so easy when you’re a parent of a child with special-needs who has an IEP. Continue reading

On the Road: Crayola Experience, Easton, PA

img_2217One of the worst parts of the holiday season is the annual holiday break – it means that we’ve planning to do about keeping the children busy, and dealing with the fact that the Monster is quite, quite used to his regular routine.  While he did spend a couple of days at Schools Out at the JCC (which I still absolutely love), we elected not to send him on the days that they were doing field trips, just to not torture their staff.

So instead, we tortured ourselves, and decided to plan a field trip to the Crayola Experience. Continue reading

Curl On This

It’s been a while since I last posted – I got distracted with a few very packed weeks at work and in my personal life (largely the latter, almost entirely for good, and just the nature of life sometimes).  But now that things are quieting down a bit…

This weekend was another outing to the curling rink with both boys.  R is slowly getting it… but the news is that I had an epiphany about the Monster on the ice. Continue reading

Slip Sliding Away…

Curling, October 2016So, it’s happened.

R started curling three weeks ago, and… well, is doing as well as you’d imagine a four year old doing on his first time out.  He’s watched enough to have an idea of what it looks like, but putting that into practice is a wholly different thing.  But the idea of getting curling has been motivating him since, and that makes me quite, quite happy.  We took a week off for an ASBC social, and then… we went again last Sunday, this time with the Monster.

So it’s official – my Monster is now a curler. Continue reading

Time to Begin Again

Monster at shul, Simchat Torah, 2016As I mentioned a few weeks ago, we’ve started the Monster with Hebrew school at our shul.  He’s had some basic “religious school” through an after-school program at his regular school, but this year was time for us to get a little more serious with it.  He’s not had any objections to it so far, and the teachers have been telling us that he’s doing alright.

But part of the goal is also getting him more comfortable with coming to the building and being around celebrations, and… well, Simchat Torah is one of the easier times for him to be involved. Continue reading

Through the Cracks

Out of sight, out of mind.

At one point, I thought that the idea of mainstreaming the Monster was the dream we should be reaching for – that he’d do better with his normally-abled peers and that they’d get a better idea of how to live with children with special needs like him.  That was before the disastrous wake-up call that we got, in the form of a year wasted, which ended up with his being sent to a “non-public placement”, a private school paid for by the city school system, where he’s doing far better.

The problem?  The Monster and children like him are all but invisible to the school district. Continue reading

Home Not-Alone

monsteroncouchI’m very fortunate to have a flexible job that lets me work from home when need-be.  Even as a manager, since my teammates also can work from home (which they often do on Fridays), I can settle in at the dining room table with my laptop and get my work done, which frees me up to watch the kids if they’re home from school, and frees my wife up to get things done.

It also gives me interesting insight sometimes into the Monster. Continue reading

Flying Semi-Solo

Me, the wife and R, JCC ECE Color Run, September 2016It’s hard to be the sibling of a child with special needs, methinks.

Most of the time, just because of their ages and the nature of things, R and the Monster end up doing the same things (outside of school).  If we plan an activity, it’s set up for all of us to go together and… there are advantages and disadvantages. Continue reading