Flagging

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

Mother’s Day

So, it should be apparent when you’re reading my blog, that I don’t do all of this by myself.  (If you’ve not noticed mention of my wife, then you’re… not reading often enough.)  And on this day, it’s important to remember that she is there, part of everything that’s going on.

Because, truthfully, I wouldn’t be able to be a fraction of the father that I am, if it weren’t for her being the mother that she is.

Continue reading

Mommy-Free Zone

R and the Monster at BJ's, April 2016Every so often, there’s a boys’ day around here.

Long-time readers are aware that I’ve taken a lot of “me” time this year – I’ve been putting some real effort behind another passion of mine (curling) and taking time to pursue it.  This has had me gone for a couple of weekends, leaving the burden on her to watch the kids, and so turnabout’s fair play. And while she won’t take a weekend to herself, the least I can do is take the kids for periods of time on the weekend to give her a breather. Continue reading

When It Hits Me

It’s rare that I’m unaware that the Monster is different from other children.

I’m somewhat accustomed to the matter, and his Autism is a fact of my life.  I’ve spent a lot of time coming to grips with the fact that this is our “normal”, and that, as I say to the wife, there’s even less purpose than normal of trying to compare him to other children.  My wife’s the one who tends to get a bit more upset when there are kids his age who are doing things he can’t… or when there’s the kvelling by her friends about what their child’s doing, when the Monster’s still barely verbal and can’t really read.

But that’s not always. Continue reading

Focus

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

Reflections On The Process

And even with the outcome of the Monster’s IEP process for SY 2015-2016, I’m still very upset.

Look, the fact that it took this much fighting to get to this point, when there is so much evidence of the fact that he’s needed more help all along, tells me that the system is absolutely, positively broken.  The law requires that students with disabilities get a “Free and Appropriate Public Education” (FAPE), and according to national standards, Maryland is “meeting requirements”.  But there’s something that’s missed in the midst of all of this – the Monster is only getting the help he needs because my wife and I dug our heels in and fought. Continue reading

This Year’s Finish Line

IEPAnd now, the explanation for why I’ve been so quiet.

Two months ago, I last posted about the IEP process (see IEP Year Four) and where it had gotten to… and then I promptly got very, very quiet about the process.  Yes, other things happened in the meantime – my wife and I went on vacation, and then I went off to curling trials, but my posting hadn’t come back up to normal frequency.

That’s because things went absolutely sideways after our last IEP meeting. Continue reading

Make Time

One of the best pieces of advice I give to parents new to the world of being a “special needs parent” is a question I was asked the first time I attended the Dads Talk group at the Arc Baltimore:

What do you do for fun, for yourself?

It’s not so easy, when we’re in this boat.  We feel a need to keep track of our kids, and our days are filled with trips to therapy, with dealing with our children’s foibles.  And while we might say that we do things “for ourselves”, that often includes running to the gym at a weird hour, early morning walks, or the occasional date night when you get respite or find a sitter who can deal with your kiddo.

But that’s not really what I’m talking about.  Because while I love going out with my wife – to the theater, to the movies, or other things around – it’s not necessarily “for me”.  And that’s where, as parents, we fail ourselves. Continue reading