We ran into an interesting problem with R, yesterday.  (Aside from the fact that he’s clearly sick and dribbling snot down his face.)

Yesterday morning, he started banging as usual when he was ready to be let out of his crib.  After we spent a few more minutes lingering in bed, the banging stopped as usual.  Down the hall, we could hear knocking on a door, which is the Monster’s usual way of saying he’s ready to get up too.  So I got up, put on my slippers, and slogged out into the hall.

The knocking wasn’t from the Monster – it was from R.  He had managed to get out of his crib and just couldn’t get the door to his room open. Continue reading

Date Night

Like many parents of special needs children, we definitely don’t take enough time for ourselves.

I’ve talked before about our issues with finding a babysitter – more the issue of our finding someone we’re comfortable perhaps more than actually finding time to go out.  (Though this is the season where the latter is a problem too.)  Setting that aside, we do manage to get out now and again, thanks to the very generous donation of my mother-in-law’s time to watch the kids. Continue reading

Time For Gymnastics!

Folks have asked me what the Monster actually does when we go to gymnastics each week.   I’ve mentioned before about how he goes every Thursday, but I don’t talk too much about what he actually does when he’s there.  And… I don’t necessarily want folks having this image in their heads that my kid’s getting ready eventually for the Olympics. Continue reading

Almost Normal

There are days where the boys actually act the way that we really want them to behave towards each other.

So over the last two days, both boys have been home all day – you can thank Mother Nature for that.  Both times, the wife’s had the opportunity to take them outside to play, and they’ve done their own thing as is their want while playing – R wants to do what the Monster does, and the Monster does what he wants to do. Continue reading

Cover Your Ears

So, as I’ve mentioned, the Monster isn’t particularly sensory-adverse.  More often than not, he’s sensory seeking, and that’s a problem in a lot of environments.

Okay, so it’s useful when we want to do something like fireworks.  (He loves fireworks.)  On the other hand, though, this also means with his insisting on running his hands through any plants he sees, to feeling anything and everything that’s around him, to crumbling and crushing things so he can hear the sounds and feel the sensations against his palms. Continue reading

Preparing for Disruption

We’re starting to come into what passes for winter around these parts, with the first ugly snow-and-ice storm of the season on its way inbound.  We’re probably going to get hit on Sunday… but there’s also the chance we’ll have a bad commute Monday morning as well.

So, that means we have chances for the school schedule to be disrupted. Continue reading

Option 3

I have to say that it’s a very big relief to see “Pursuing A Maryland High School Diploma” on the “draft” IEP that we were handed when we attended the Monster’s re-evaluation-ordering meeting today. And yes, I’m aware that it’s silly to be relieved to see that on an IEP for a child who is in kindergarten…

So the goal of today’s meeting was, ostensibly, to discuss the staff evaluations of the Monster so that we could figure out what evaluations to order, since we’re at that three-year point in his educational cycle. Coupled with this, he’s also nearing the end of the “Together We Grow” program, which means that it’s time to transition from “Early Learning” to the normal system.

We came into the meeting with our own ideas of where he should be going next year… and I’ve made no secret that I really would prefer to have him back in our zone school – Mount Washington Elementary-Middle – sooner rather than later. The school is a much better school than Garrett Heights on a test-performance basis, it’s closer to our home, and frankly… I feel a little better about his chances long-term if he’s there as opposed to elsewhere in the city schools.

One of the real problems, though, was my wife’s visit to the zone school a while back, where it was made clear to us that the school cannot accommodate anything like what the Monster has now at his current school… and she was given the impression that such was unwanted to boot. She’s had quite a bit of trepidation about the matter of where he might end up next year, and that’s been bolstered by the fact that the school system’s website is awful about giving options for special education beyond Early Learning.

So after we’d hashed through the reports from his special educator and SLP – the OT and psychologist were not present, and the general educator had nothing to say – and we’d made minor adjustments to the IEP to add in new, harder goals… we got to talking about placement for next year. (We already hashed through ESY as well, a discussion that took about 45 seconds, and he’s going to be getting it.) Specifically, we brought up that there is nothing mentioned on the Baltimore City Public Schools website about what to do with children like the Monster.

So we were given what were perceived as the probable options, straight up.

  1. PAL or another similar program for children with disabilities
  2. Another year at Garrett Heights Elementary-Middle School, with the fall-back to a class like the current one
  3. Returning to our zone school (or another school) with appropriate supports in gen-ed.

The Monster’s team seems to be leaning towards option #3, sending him back to Mt. Washington EMS, for first grade.

Basically, we have questions about behavioral adaptation to the larger environment, which they’ll start preparing for in the spring – they’re already talking about making arrangements, assuming the evaluations come back the way they expect they will, to have the Monster start spending time in a “normal” kindergarten class with a one-on-one aide. The “worst case” they envision is keeping him at GHEMS for another year in a first-grade with similar supports – giving them that fall-back – and then getting him into our zone school the year after for second grade… but their preference seems clearly geared towards doing the move now, since he’s transitioning anyway out of Early Learning.

And that all makes me very happy. (On that note, the IEP coordinator chose to end the meeting there, before I had reasons to “not be happy”. 😉 )

We’ll see how the next few months shape up.

The Do-While Loop

For those who haven’t heard me say it in a while, I’m a software engineer when I’m not doing the Autism Parent thing.  (I don’t know that you really aren’t ever doing the “Autism Parent thing” once you have a child with Autism, but that’s a discussion for another time, perhaps.)  Like most jobs, it colors your perceptions of the world when you’re going through the daily grind.

So we’re approaching the next check on this do-while loop of the Monster’s IEP process. Continue reading