Straddling the Sibling Line

The Monster and R dressed for Pirate Day at camp, August 2017

Arrrr, mateys!

R’s in a fairly weird spot – he’s the younger sibling, but by nature of how profound the Monster’s Autism is, he’s oftentimes thrust into the role that a big brother would take.  It’s a lot to shoulder, when you’re five years old.

And… when given the chance, it’s lovely to see how he rises to the challenge. Continue reading

Flying Semi-Solo

Me, the wife and R, JCC ECE Color Run, September 2016It’s hard to be the sibling of a child with special needs, methinks.

Most of the time, just because of their ages and the nature of things, R and the Monster end up doing the same things (outside of school).  If we plan an activity, it’s set up for all of us to go together and… there are advantages and disadvantages. Continue reading

Appropriate Play

R and Monster playing, Aug 2016It’s almost a given, perhaps, that the Monster doesn’t often engage in “appropriate play”.  Like many children with Autism, he’s often more fascinated by parts of things, rather than the thing itself.  He’s inclined to sort game pieces or toys by type or color or some trait he’s selected as he might be to play with it in a manner that approaches “appropriate”, but… it’s how things are.
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Do the Thing! Win the Points!

IMG_1720We’re almost to my sport season… and this year may be different…

… because I might try to teach both kids to sport this year.

Yes, yes, I know.  One of my former directors at work used to take me aside now and again, put his hand on my shoulder, and say, “[Dad], we are a desert people.  We do not do ice sports.”  And yet, here we are, dear friends, here we are. Continue reading


Kids and TroubleOne of the Monster’s goals on his IEP is social turn taking, in the context of a game with other children.  This isn’t a new goal for him – it was on last year’s IEP, and I think it was on the year prior’s – but this year’s was redefined to be more achievable.  Specifically, it allows for more adult guidance/redirects to keep him on target.

Which anyone who plays with kids will tell you is a good and necessary thing.

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Hungry, Hungry

R turned four this week.

Almost everything with R is a new experience for us as parents.  Yes, yes, I know that all children are different and are going to be somewhat like that anyway, but… the differences between a child with Autism and a child without Autism are night and day.  So on Wednesday, after singing happy birthday to R, after cupcakes and giving him a card… he asked where his birthday present was. (Smart kid, our R.)  And after a bit of hurrying on the wife’s part to grab something – we’d not planned on giving him a present till his birthday party in a week and a half – he was very excited to unwrap a “Hungry, Hungry Hippos” game.

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But Is It Fair?

One of the benefits of my job is that I’m able, now and again, to work from home to help cover childcare.  Since my company’s holiday party, I’ve been working from home to cover the kids – first the Monster, whose school has been out for nearly two weeks, and then R, because his school let out just before Christmas, just as the Monster’s “School’s Out” program at the JCC started.

Neither kid has really been ‘programmed’ while home with me, since still I have to work (obviously), but… tomorrow, the Maryland Science Center is doing a “Midnight Noon” event for the New Year and I’m taking the day off to go with R and my wife to it, after we drop the Monster at School’s Out.

But is that fair? Continue reading

R, The Therapy Preschooler

R at a bounce house, September 2015 (WHEEEE!)

When I’m browsing on line, I see a lot of great stories about how some siblings of children with Autism help to advocate with their peers for more understanding or help their siblings cope…

Well, but R is 3, despite any of his illusions to the contrary, and it’s going to be a good long while before he’s doing a lot of those things.  He’s not “aware” in an informational sense that the Monster has Autism – we’ve not yet figured out how to have that discussion with him on a level that we think he’d understand – but we do realize that he has to understand that there’s something different about his brother when compared to other children.

But then there’s his own way of helping other children with Autism. Continue reading