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

Changes with Age

Monster at the Salisbury Zoo, August 2016We’re back from a week-plus away from home, first at a family event and then for a week down the Shore.  (As anyone with children will remind you – when you have kids, it’s not a vacation but a trip.)  Which means it’s time for me to get back into the swing of things, especially as the Monster returns to school this morning.

But having ten straight days with the Monster gives me a different view into his life and how he experiences the world.

Continue reading

Appropriate Play

R and Monster playing, Aug 2016It’s almost a given, perhaps, that the Monster doesn’t often engage in “appropriate play”.  Like many children with Autism, he’s often more fascinated by parts of things, rather than the thing itself.  He’s inclined to sort game pieces or toys by type or color or some trait he’s selected as he might be to play with it in a manner that approaches “appropriate”, but… it’s how things are.
Continue reading

Do the Thing! Win the Points!

IMG_1720We’re almost to my sport season… and this year may be different…

… because I might try to teach both kids to sport this year.

Yes, yes, I know.  One of my former directors at work used to take aside now and again, put his hand on my shoulder, and say, “[Dad], we are a desert people.  We do not do ice sports.”  And yet, here we are, dear friends, here we are. Continue reading

No Point Hiding

fireworks-2016Sometimes, there’s nothing to do but to do it, whatever “it” happens to be.

There are a few things that I shy away from doing, since the Monster got his diagnosis – mostly due to what experience has taught me is going to cause a problem – but by and large, I do try to make sure that he’s going to get as many ‘normal’ activities as he can.

This includes going to the playground, to baseball games, out to eat, museums… you name it.  And it’s not always with special supports. Continue reading

Observer Effect

I think every parent gets that their child is a different person when they’re not around.

To be fair – we’re all different based on context.  I know that, despite everything, I’m different at work than I am at home, and still another way on the ice.  But, especially, our children are very different people when they’re dealing with the different authority figures in their lives.

Part of the Monster’s IEP specifies that we get daily communication from his teachers.  In years past, this has often been a checklist or a couple of lines in a notebook that passes back and forth between us and the school.  This year, our communication log is email between ourselves and his teacher. Continue reading