Thursday, February 25, 2010

Holland, Italy, and Home

{{nl|Provincie Zuid-Holland (2008), met indeli...Image via Wikipedia

You know that Holland country you ended up visiting when you through you were headed to Italy? It's the allegorical journey parents of special needs kids take. I've been in Holland a long time and gotten used to it. The milestones in Holland are different. And any that approach neurotypical, I see as blessings.

Today was Elmer's 8th grade parent-teacher conference; the first time I met any teacher other than the autism specialist. And what a teacher; "Ms. McN's almost as quirky as you," Elmer announced.

We walked into the school like any other 8th grade family; Elmer affecting teenage cool, me a necessary embarrassment. Ms. McN was glad to meet us; "Very curious to meet Elmer's parents, " she announced, "Your son is brilliant. But I don't have to tell you that. He adds so much to the class. But you know that. His comments are brilliant. And his's just a pleasure to have him in class. What a great addition to the classroom."

Oh, Ms. McN, you *do* have to tell us. We may know it in our hearts; but we've been struggling upstream (in Holland) for so long, we set all that aside. In Holland, we've been working hard on keeping our heads above water, so swimming was out of the question, let alone swan dives or any kind of soaring.

In my childhood home, brilliance was the norm. But the last nine years of Elmer's childhood were in Holland. So everything you said today was a gift. And I got a taste of the lights of home.
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Friday, February 19, 2010

The blessings of normal

Your ASD teen smells, gets surly, thinks you're stupid, discovers Facebook, watches MTV, drinks milk from the carton, listens to Weezer, and, you think, "Thank you, God."

Monday, February 15, 2010

Ouch is right

{{BArch-description |comment= |biased= |headli...Image via Wikipedia

On her Teen Autism blog, Tania writes: "And no matter how much you love your son and the wonderful person that he is, no matter how far he’s come and how much he’s achieved and how high your hopes, it still hurts. For both of you."
This week, Elmer's team leader cc'd me a post she'd sent to Elmer's teachers:

Hi All,

I noticed that Elmer doesn’t really have a clue about when to interject his ideas or perseverations of the moment during your class time. He becomes easily embarrassed if he is redirected in front of the class. So, how to shape and redirect his behavior effectively as gently as possible?

It will be helpful for us all to tell him when he can share information- exactly as you wish him to share.(both verbally and in written form) Gentle reminders in written form would also be helpful to him when he forgets or needs reminders in novel situations.

He has been in a 1 teacher : 5-8 student classroom for the last few years where this behavior was not a an issue. He needs to learn when to share relevant info and when to share goofy fun stuff so it doesn’t interfere with your teaching. Elmer and I will talk it over in goals lab, too.

Thanks, he is thriving in your classes, Team Leader.

Immediately I pictured his classmates rolling their eyes, tittering, "Weird Elmer"ing. Ouch. At least in our case, Elmer has Team Leader who is on top of this. Still, as Tania wrote, after all these years and as far as he has come.....Ouch.
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Saturday, February 6, 2010

IEP? There's an app for that

PEATC - Parent Educational Advocacy Training Center - IPhonePressReleaseKit

Hallelujah, Moms and Dads. We've got an app for our kiddos' IEP's.
Any parent who has ever tried to write an IEP knows how confusing it is.
So this *free* application is manna from heaven.
Download it from iTunes now.
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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Smooth sailing

Here is Elmer's latest graph on his mood and stuff at school.