Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Smiley face

Swing, swing, swing.
"Mom, I've got spilkes," Elmer tells me from his cocoon-like swing, where he does all his talking.
Swing, swing, swing.
"I don't know why," he adds.
Swing, swing, swing.
"I'm kind of happy," he mutters.
"You got a problem with that?" he asks.
Swing, swing, swing, swing.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Manna from heaven

Tasty blue sticky stuff, then brackets.Image via Wikipedia

Auti-mamas, we have been gifted.
Like many kids with autism spectrum disorders, Elmer's medical expenses have way outstripped his insurance coverage; so we're glad to have TEFRA, Minnesota's version of the Katie Beckett waiver. This makes Elmer eligible for Medical Assistance (MA). It's not free; we pay a monthly premium, but it has been critical to paying for his needs. It is considered his secondary insurance, and covers expenses not covered by his primary insurance. As long as it comes from an MA provider.
That's the rub. Because it is a Medicaid program, reimbursements are low and not every provider accepts it. We choose providers carefully, always making sure they accept both our primary and MA coverage.
This short story is getting long.
Anyway, we were delighted that our neighborhood orthodontics office accepted both policies, and Elmer has been going twice yearly for three years while waiting for the last grown up tooth to emerge. Last month it emerged! We scheduled the next appointment, resubmitted insurance cards, and were informed the practice no longer accepted MA. "They never pay," we were told. Folks, Elmer is doing well, thanks to all the supports he has received thanks to programs like MA; but he still has an ASD and is used to this practice and any change is hard and he doesn't want unfamiliar people in unfamiliar places sticking their hands in his mouth.
I spoke to the financial director. I wrote a letter to the orthodontists. And I just got a phone call from the practice letting me know that they were going to treat Elmer f r e e !
They'll collect the $1000 coverage his primary policy provides, but the rest of his orthdontics -- roughly $5000 -- will be gratis.
Gratis! Just like manna from heaven. So I guess that's who I should thank.
(Plus the orthodontists.)
Post script: Because I have been so blessed, I am making a contribution to Doctors Without Borders in honor of these orthodontists.

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Monday, January 11, 2010

Bar None

Boy reading from the Torah according to Sephar...Image via Wikipedia

Having real problems getting the Bar Mitzvah train rolling.
The standard one-size-fits-all Bar Mitzvah plan won't work.
And the one-size-fits-all-ASD-kiddos won't fit either.
After plotting a course that would work (two-dudes-talking-Torah plus interactive white board), the Rabbi informed us that he didn't have time for this approach. Furthermore, he wondered whether Elmer really wanted a Bar Mitzvah and whether I could discipline him to study.
Them are fighting words to this Auti-mom.
Elmer reminds me that he has had zero good experiences with religious education at the synagogue; pre-diagnosis, he just didn't fit and dropped out. Post-diagnosis, he was placed in a one-site-fits-all-ASD class that didn't fit him, and dropped out. His only religious education has been at home.
And this is a boy who should be grappling with Torah. His is a first-rate mind that can hold its own with the sages.
And the Rabbi doesn't have time for him?
I guess we need a different dude (or dudette) to talk Torah. Onward and upward.

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Friday, January 8, 2010

time for twitter

Free twitter badgeImage via Wikipedia

Autism is 24/7. And all of us auti-mamas know that things come up all day long.
Not all them worth a blog post.
But a tweet? 140 (or less) characters? To vent, to howl, to laugh, to share?
That we can do. So sign up for a twitter account (if you haven't already) and let's get the twarty started,
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Monday, January 4, 2010

Back off, Mom

Model of hydogen bonds in water in English.Image via Wikipedia

These are my marching orders.
It is time for me to back off. I no longer have to paddle 24/7 to keep my son with Asperger's Syndrome above water.
He can swim now.
This is not to say that there won't be some swift current, a shark, or undertow that could pull him off course. There will be. But now he has the skills and maturity to navigate.
I'll still be his mother and I'll still parent him -- but I have to do it differently. And that means backing off.
So off I back. I don't know what's back there. I don't know what's ahead.
We're sailing off to a new world.
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