Unexpected Delivery

Here in Maryland, we have this wonderful thing called LISS, otherwise known as Low Intensity Support Services.  I’ve written about it before – LISS is a means for people with disabilities to receive funding for items not covered by insurance.  This year, Maryland lowered the limit to $2000 (from $3000) to cover more individuals, and there are now two lotteries for coverage – one in July and one in January – instead of a first-come-first-served system in July.

The problem, despite this seemingly more fair system… is that none of us know what in Heaven’s name is going on. Continue reading

Apples and Honey

Today was the second day of Rosh Hashanah for 5775.

This year, in Baltimore, the city’s public schools were open for the first day of the holiday, meaning that the Monster was in class.  The wife arranged for R to have a playdate with a friend from nursery school, and so… we actually got a day to sit in our actual seats in the congregation for a change.  (Well, as much as ‘we’ could, given that my wife’s vocal ensemble was performing with the cantor.)

However, today was a professional development day in Baltimore City’s schools, and we ended up with both children coming with us to synagogue. Continue reading

Drive Yourself Crazy

And while we’re all doing these wacky turns around our lives with the children in them, the ones who need extra help, it comes back to bite oneself in the backside.

One of the things I absolutely harp on when I’m in my support groups is that parents need to find an outlet away from their children, lest they go crazy. Continue reading

Dumbing it Down

The Monster’s homework is checked on Mondays, so we’ll admit that there are times that we slack a little bit in getting it done ‘on time’.  Since he only has homework from Monday through Thursday nights, it’s easy enough to spread out four nights of homework over seven days and get it done in doses that he can cope with.

On the other hand, though, as we mentioned, his homework’s not really being adapted for his level. Continue reading

Two Way Communication

We’re four weeks into the school year, and things are slowly stabilizing.

The biggest thing that we miss from last year was the communication log that we had with Ms. A regarding the Monster’s conduct in class.  Certainly, there is behavior charting in his folder, but the Monster has never been a problem in that sense.  (Ms. H, his teacher this year, does it for all the students.) Continue reading

Cinnamon Bobcat

As another year’s High Holy Days starts to grow closer, obviously our thoughts start to turn back towards how to deal with the Monster and participation at synagogue.

(Now, my thoughts don’t just turn to this because we got our tickets for services on Saturday, but also because I had another occasion to be gabbai’ing, and because my in-laws were being honored for their fortieth wedding anniversary, my whole family came with me.)

We’re fortunate at our synagogue, as I’ve mentioned before on numerous occasions, to have a quiet room that’s well-situated so that parents can handle small children who aren’t up to participating in the services directly without missing the opportunity themselves to pray.  Because the Monster is… unpredictable, we tend to migrate immediately there, rather than trying to get seated in the main sanctuary where he might disturb folks if he starts making noise. Continue reading

Implementation Issues

Because we’re not seeing any adaptation to the Monster’s homework, we decided to speak up – I’m a big believer in “say something”, rather than hoping for the best.

It’s not that the Monster is unable to do the homework when it’s something factual.  It’s when homework is more open-ended, when it requires some creative input, that he needs more guidance due to the way Autism affects his language processing.  So telling him to “write a sentence of five words or more, using at least three sight words” is not a direction he can easily handle, for example. Continue reading

Policy Matters

Thursday night was the first “real” Parents and Community Advisory Board (PCAB) meeting of the 2014-2015 school year.

The major order of business was to nominate and elect an executive board, and I was elected as Treasurer with only a little back-and-forth about whether other candidates were going to accept nominations.  But this was the least of the matters that PCAB really meets for. Continue reading


Today is the end of the second week of first grade for the Monster.  (Why our schools here start before Labor Day, I know not.)  And as such, this is also the end of the second week of homework.

Now, the Monster’s teacher apparently only checks homework on Monday, which is good because his work did not get done last night – I had my PCAB meeting, and the wife had choir rehearsal, so he had to go to choir with her and didn’t get a chance to work on it.  So we’ll get that done tonight.

The only problem, though, is that I question how well his homework might be adapted to him. Continue reading