Pounding the Pavement

Last week, I had the opportunity to go to MANSEF Advocacy Day in Annapolis, the first time I’ve ever availed myself of the opportunity.

MANSEF – the Maryland Association of Nonpublic Special Education Facilities – is the umbrella group for schools like the Monster’s, private schools that take students from the public school system who need more resources than the schools themselves can provide.  (This is a key distinction that I constantly have to emphasize when I’m at various meetings.  Yes, it’s a private school… but the city schools pay the tuition to send the Monster there, and he’s still legally a city school student.)  Nonpublic special education facilities help the public education system fulfill their FAPE obligations under IDEA. Continue reading

Through the Cracks

Out of sight, out of mind.

At one point, I thought that the idea of mainstreaming the Monster was the dream we should be reaching for – that he’d do better with his normally-abled peers and that they’d get a better idea of how to live with children with special needs like him.  That was before the disastrous wake-up call that we got, in the form of a year wasted, which ended up with his being sent to a “non-public placement”, a private school paid for by the city school system, where he’s doing far better.

The problem?  The Monster and children like him are all but invisible to the school district. Continue reading


LanyardI’ve been in diversity training this week, and these kinds of sessions are the kind where everyone is having to suffer through two long days of ‘training’ to teach you the things you should have already learned.  As such, there’re plenty of people I don’t know in the room from different departments, minding their own business and just trying to survive to get out of the session without doing too much…

… and then across the room, I noticed that one of the others was wearing their ID badge on a puzzle-piece lanyard. 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

Light It Up, Walk It, Whatever

Today’s the annual “World Autism Awareness Day” as part of Autism Awareness Month.  As all of us parents of children with Autism know, there’s really no such thing as ‘just’ a month dedicated to it, since we’re aware of it all the time, but… let’s be honest.  “Light It Up Blue” tends to draw folks’ attention.

And every year, it turns into this whole pissing contest online about whether you support Autism Speaks or are against them.  How folks who have Autism (and are active in their own advocacy) feel versus how parents/caregivers of people with Autism feel, and this and that and this and that… who has a right to feel how about the matter…

Frankly, to me, it’s all a fairly stupid argument. Continue reading

Back to the Grind

Hey, everyone.  I’m back from my little trip afield, and back to parenting again.  (Okay, okay, so I’m going out tomorrow without the family, and then away again at the end of February for another bonspiel, but…)

Québec was very interesting.  Setting aside all of the other things about the Winter World Masters Games themselves, I was glad to actually be able to do some talking about the other cause that (clearly) matters a lot to me – Autism. Continue reading

Raising Awareness

I know I’ve been quieter than usual of late.  There’ve been a few things going on, least of which is my job and trying to balance it with family time and the like.

Because certainly, as parents of a special needs child, it’s always busy.  The Monster has various therapies three days a week, plus my having PCAB meetings, late-night meetings, the wife having her life as well…

And then I’ll be disappearing for a few days starting on Thursday. Continue reading


It’s hard, sometimes, to get folks to realize that the Monster is – at least according to the law – disabled.

As I emphasize everywhere, and as most of us parents in this situation emphasize, the Monster is for all intents and purposes a “normal” child.  He runs, he plays in the water, he can climb structures.  He has full use of all of his senses, even if sometimes his voice is more the matter of shrieks and yelling. Continue reading