Things I’ve Learned Since the Diagnosis

According to the GPS data from the bus company, the bus arrived at school on time today, for the first time all school year.

The whole ordeal of trying to get the school system to ensure that my child is on time to school – and this is the second year in a row I’ve had to push and push – has made me reflect quite a bit on what I’ve learned since we got the Monster’s diagnosis.  Some of these, obviously, pertain to just about any parent with their children, but some have special emphasis for those of us with children with special needs: Continue reading

The Bus Route: Data Driven

Our morning routine is fairly straight forward – while the wife’s finishing getting the Monster ready for school, I typically head downstairs five minutes or so before the bus is supposed to arrive, take his backpack with me and start watching for it.  The idea is to be ready for when the bus comes around the corner, so we can take him out and get him on board as quickly as possible.

This morning, when I walked downstairs, I could hear a diesel engine idling.  Already having a good idea of what to expect, I opened the door. Continue reading


I’ve spent the last few days being very negative about the Baltimore City Public Schools, with regards to Autism.  I’ve smacked them around regarding the choice of the schools where the program is located, and about the transportation services they do – or, frankly, do not – provide.

And that’s all fair.  Nothing I’ve said is untrue.

What is unsaid is the positive side, and I do not want to give anyone an impression of the school system’s efforts towards children on the Spectrum as the modern-day version of tossing kids into a back room and ignoring them. Continue reading

Holding Their Feet to the Fire

Just to warn my readers – I have a feeling that, like the first two weeks of school last year, the first two weeks of the Monster’s school this year are going to be full of bussing posts.

After my post yesterday, the operations manager from Baltimore City Public Schools’ transportation forwarded my email to the bus company, relaying my direct requests (that they work to shorten the route and stabilize the driver/aide pairing on the Monster’s bus), and requesting an update by end of business on Friday.  We went to bed with that being the state of affairs.

A certain Mr. Murphy and his infamous law, clearly, are involved now. Continue reading

Here, There and Everywhere

The wife and I are members of a Facebook group for local parents of children with Autism, and as much as transportation has been a major source of frustration for me, it’s been echoed in their own messages.  And while it’s nice to know we’re not alone with a problem, it’s still a problem (and it being common doesn’t make it any better).

So today, because I really have little insight into why the Monster’s ride is 75-90 minutes, I decided to follow his bus in the morning. Continue reading

How Do They Choose?

The Monster started his second year of public schooling this year, very early in the morning when the bus arrived – 75 minutes before his first bell – to pick him up at our house.

“Together We Grow”, the program that the Monster is enrolled in through the Baltimore City Public Schools, is a special reverse-inclusion program for students, where five or six IEP students are joined by five or six non-IEP students to give them social role models.  Last year, the Monster was attending it at Garrett Heights Elementary-Middle School, and while he is returning there this year, he was offered an alternative placement in the same program at another school, Furman L. Templeton Elementary School. Continue reading

Playing at Normalcy

I spent six years living in south Texas, and never managed to go wandering up to Dallas for the state fair.  Somehow, I’ve managed to go wandering a few times now to the Maryland State Fair since I moved here.

I’m not a huge fan of the state fair – it’s fun enough, I suppose, when you’re going to see one of the concerts or you’re exhibiting, but unless you’re going to go ride rides and pig out on food there, it’s really just a lot of walking and way, way too many people. Continue reading

Hold It

So, while most of what I write about here has to do with the Monster, there’s times that R is going to make his own appearance due to things being what they are.

For those who don’t frequently notice him pop up – R is our younger son and the Monster’s little brother, 19 months old at this point.  Because the Monster is on the Spectrum – and we had reasonable certainty that would be the diagnosis well before we started trying for R – we’ve always been a little more cautious about keeping an eye on how R is developing. Continue reading

Not For Us

So the Monster’s getting one more week of camp at the JCC, courtesy of their “Sunday Funday Everyday” program.  Because I’m home from work for the week, the wife and I are taking turns with the run to drop him off and pick him up.

Much of the staff from the program was also present at Camp Milldale, so they’re already acquainted with what he can and cannot do, with his foibles and the like.  This was a good push to get him to go there, and so it was very easy to part with the money for the additional week. Continue reading