Modern Parent Problems

I’m going to throw this one out to the hivemind, because I’m absolutely stumped here.

A while back, we decided to let the Monster have his iPad overnight, in coordination with the melatonin and occasional drugging to try to get him to sleep through the night.  My goal, frankly, is simple, and defers to a rule we used to (basically) have in my mother’s house – as long as we weren’t keeping anyone else up, it was okay if we weren’t sleeping.

Save that the last several mornings that I’ve gotten up for my daily walk/run, the Monster’s been up at 5 AM on his iPad. Continue reading

On the Road – Morey’s Piers, Wildwood, NJ

Aerial view of Mariner's Landing, Wildwood, NJIs any childhood visit to a beach community with a boardwalk really complete without a trip to an amusement pier?

When I was a child, we used to take a week in the summer and head down to The Wildwoods, and at some point during that week, we’d end up at Mariner’s Landing to go ride the rides.  Now that I’m grown up, and my kids are old enough for at least some of the things that are offered on the piers, it was time to let them get the same experience, albeit removed twenty-something years from my own. Continue reading

Wildwood Days

kidsinwildwood2015We don’t usually do family vacations.

As a lot of families with Autism know, vacations can be a recipe for disaster – the lack of structure, the unfamiliar environments, the missing preferred foods and sounds… and in our case, especially, I tend to spend more nights on overnight trips in the minivan with the Monster, than I do enjoying the bed I’m paying for.

At some point, though, you just have to bite the bullet and take a trip. Continue reading

On the Road – The Cape May County Zoo

So as followers of my Instagram feed (or those who noticed the pictures on the Facebook page) will know, my family and I decamped from Charm City for a week for a vacation down the Shore.

Yes, I say “down the Shore”.  (My wife’s the “down the ocean” or “downy Ocean” person.)  Don’t look at me like that.

My mother very generously arranged for a rental house in Wildwood, New Jersey for a week, so that my siblings could come with their families (as appropriate).  So a little more than a week ago, our cars converged on a nice little house a block off the boards, and we spent seven days away from it all before the new school year. Continue reading

Doing the Rounds – The Non-Public Side

Having decided that the only public placements that we were aware of were not likely to be the right placement for the Monster, barring a program existing of which we had not heard, we decided to do our due diligence and go to see some of the non-public placements that might well be offered for our son.  The major issue, in our minds, was the fact that the summer was rapidly coming to an end – several of the private schools that are known for their work with children with Autism go on vacation during August, and there are processes that need to be followed to put a child into such a place.

But the question really was where to look… and we quickly decided to go with the most likely non-public schools that the city would send the Monster to – HASA’s Gateway School and the Shafer Center. Continue reading

Doing the Rounds – The Public Side

I’ve decided to start going back over the things that I couldn’t discuss while we were going through the IEP process, and talking about them as they occur to me to write them… so some of these things, over the next few weeks, might seem like they’re coming a bit out of right field.

When we were a few weeks into the school year, and it started becoming apparent that a mainstreamed classroom at Mount Washington wasn’t the right placement for the Monster, we started considering our options.  The Temporary Adult Support (TAS) helped to some extent, but it was clear that what the Monster needed really was to be moved to another placement. Continue reading


It’s very easy, with a special needs child, to get bogged down in the negative.

He can’t talk to me, a lot of us think.  He doesn’t have friends.  He’s not fully toilet-trained.  I can’t trust him alone in the yard or near a street.  What will happen when he grows up?

It’s… overwhelming.  And yes, there’s a lot of things to be negative about.   Continue reading

Maybe He’s Just Three

R doesn’t get a lot of entries here, if only because most of the time, I’m dealing with the Monster’s own behaviors, challenges and successes.  But… there are times where R needs to be talked about, as the younger brother of a child with Autism.

Because sometimes, you just can’t tell if he is just the sibling of a child with Autism, or if there’s a reason we should be worried. Continue reading

I Hurt Your Shoe

As I’ve discussed numerous times, the Monster’s not huge on novel verbal expression.  He can handle mildly scaffolded phrases that he’s familiar with and riff on them, and he can give one or two word utterances that express the general needs that he’s feeling at any moment in time, but most of the time, we understand him because we “get” how he communicates.

And then there’s times where he surprises us. Continue reading