On the Road – Autism on the Seas

Early morning Monster on the Anthem of the Seas, Oct/Nov 2018As I’ve mentioned numerous times, our biggest problem traveling has been terror of how the Monster might respond to a trip anywhere.  Our vacations, typically, tend to either involve going with family so we have backup or going somewhere that we can ‘abort’ back home if there’s too serious of a disruption.  We’ve gone to the beach and small trips within driving range primarily, so we end up within a few hours radius of our house where we feel ‘safe’.  Flying somewhere’s been off our radar, despite having gone through Wings for Autism and his seemingly having responded okay to that.  A week on a cruise ship, though, where there are thin walls, no availability of adjusting the environment and especially no aborting back to home?  Out of the question, you lunatics.

About a year ago, my family and I had the benefit of enjoying a morning with some of Autism on the Seas’ staff on Grandeur of the Seas, the Royal Caribbean ship that’s travels from the Port of Baltimore.  The goal of the exercise, besides obviously getting a sales pitch for their services, was to see how the Monster would respond to being on a ship, and to figure out if we could imagine ourselves actually putting ourselves through that kind of an exercise.  I’m also a big believer that a test-drive often doesn’t give you a full, accurate impression of a company’s services, but I could put my thoughts on that aside when the wife and I actually found a few sailings that worked with our schedule and budget and… suddenly, I found our family preparing to go on vacation. Continue reading

There and Back Again

So we’re back from our vacation.  (Yes, yes, I know I promised to post this yesterday – work just got crazy on my return.) Not that we’re unpacked yet, mind you, because we overpacked as we’re inclined to do, and so there are suitcases and duffel bags littering our foyer, but…

The short version, without going into things I’ll touch on in the review later this week – a week, for something like this, was probably the right amount of time. Continue reading

Wait, what?

I never quite know what to expect when I take the Monster out in public.

The truth is, I feel like greater than fifty percent of folks seem to assume that the Monster is listening to music or something (at least based on the ones who decide to say something about his headphones).  Even the people who realize that he’s not a ‘normal’ child, though, I have this little thing in the back of my head about trying to figure out what they make of him when he’s out in public.

And still sometimes, I get pleasantly surprised. Continue reading

Giving It A Try

The Monster’s started his third year of ‘real’ Hebrew school this week.

When I was… well, when i was closer to R’s age than the Monster’s, I started Hebrew school – first once a week, and then thrice a week as I got to third grade.  The goal was to make sure that I arrived at my Bar Mitzvah armed with basic knowledge of ritual, Jewish history, and Hebrew, and was able to function in a synagogue as I got older.

And that’s where the questions about the Monster and Hebrew school really intersect. Continue reading

Getting What You Ask For

Repeat this mantra – “non-verbal does not mean mute”.

I’m constantly surprised at how folks comment on how ‘verbal’ the Monster is, without understanding that while he can say a great deal, he doesn’t communicate a lot.  He does have words, but they’re often hard to pull from him to get at the crux of what he wants at any given moment.  Like a lot of parents, we frequently grumble about how we wish he’d just tell us what he wants.

Well, we got our wish this week. Continue reading

Earworm

One of the Monster’s talents we’ve noticed, a long time ago, is his ability to remember and reproduce music.

At one point, we’d investigated music therapy for him, but discontinued it when his schedule got more pressing and it didn’t seem to be having an effect.  But throughout, we’ve continued to notice that he has little… tunes caught in his head. Continue reading