All His Base Are Belong To Him

Susan Senator www.susansenator.com When Benj was a very little guy, he used to sit on my lap at the beach, holding on tight to some little palm-sized truck or being. He did not like to move from there. I was his base. He took a long time to get himself into the sand, and even longer to play in the waves the way he does now. It worried me, of course.  All the other little kids were sitting on their fat, puffed-up diapers and digging, crying, yelling, laughing, pointing. Benj could do all of it; he just had to do it from my lap. I tried pushing him off, prying him loose, setting him down, showing him how to play, but generally, he preferred my cushiony self. Sweet Baby. But oh, God, was I worried. He wasn’t like Nat, but he wasn’t like Max. So what was he? He was…

The Keeper: A Tale of Late-Childhood Asperger’s Diagnosis

Mir Kamin Woulda Coulda Shoulda (wouldashoulda.com) For the first time in a very long time, it felt like things were okay. Good, even. Things were going to be great, in fact, and once I got the kids settled in to our new town, new house, new life … things would only get better. So there I was in the office of the one and only psychiatrist in town our new health insurance would pay for, who would also see children younger than twelve. My son was only seven, but for the past year he’d done well on an anti-depressant to help control his anxiety. I’d had reservations about medicating him — of course I did — but it helped. It helped a lot, actually. All I needed from this doctor was a new prescription for the medication that we already knew was working fine. I’d brought his medical records and…

Writing Effective IEP Goals and Objectives: Suggestions for Teachers and Parents

Daniel Dage http://specialed.wordpress.com Note from the author: This article is part of a larger series about Individual Education Plans (IEPs) and the IEP process in which I go over each part of the IEP in-depth and describe the process from both a teacher perspective and a parent perspective. By far, this article seems to be the most read and searched for of the entire series. However, in actual practice I have not attended many IEPs where the goals and objectives were actually the subject of enough scrutiny by the attendees. Most of the time, the biggest issue of contention is during the discussion of placement. What most parents (and an embarrassing number of teachers) don’t realize is that goals and objectives are what are going to drive the students’ placement and services during the coming school year. While a Behavioral Intervention Plan (BIP) is the most abused part of the…

What Now? Ten Tips for Families with a New Autism Diagnosis

Squillo http://confutata.wordpress.com I’m sure the person who said hindsight is 20/20 didn’t have a child with autism. (Actually, I’m sure he or she didn’t have a child of any kind.) You’re never finished being a parent: as the Jason Robards character said in the movie Parenthood, “you never get to spike the ball and do your touchdown dance.” I have no idea if some of the things I’ve done will end up having helped or hindered my attempts to attain that Holy Grail of Parenthood: happy, healthy children. Of course, this has nothing to do with autism, and everything to do with just being a parent, but there are challenges (and joys!) specific to parenting a child with autism, hence the birth of this group and this website. Shannon, one of The Thinking Guide to Autism’s founders, asked me to put together a list of things I wish I’d known…

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Autism, Parenting, and the Importance of Attitude

Shannon Des Roches Rosa www.squidalicious.com www.canisitwithyou.org www.blogher.com/blog/shannon-des-roches-rosa Consider the same day, the same circumstances, the same children, the same parent – but filtered through two different attitudes: Leo and I had the worst day ever. Leo and I had the best day ever! Why does Leo always wake up so early? His sisters sleep until we shriek at them to get up, like self-respecting children should. I’m so irritated that he’s sometimes wet in the mornings. He’s never going to be fully self-sufficient. Leo got up at 6:30, but that’s certainly better than yesterday’s 6:00, and then it was his dad’s turn to attend to our early riser. And how amazing that Leo now spontaneously asks to go to the bathroom when he gets up, and is frequently dry. If you’d told me three years ago how well he’d be doing with his self-care at age eight, I wouldn’t have…

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Outings, Travel, and Autism

Shannon Des Roches Rosa www.squidalicious.com www.canisitwithyou.org www.blogher.com/blog/shannon-des-roches-rosa We are adamant about taking Leo on as many excursions as we can, to stores, movies, restaurants, parks, and other destinations. He is an able-bodied and energetic boy, and he likes a good adventure as long as we respect the limits of his tolerance. Also, we want Leo to be a boy-about-town so he gets used to being part of our community, and our community gets used to him. Outings aren’t always easy. But I have no intention of leaving Leelo home when we might succeed. I do not care if other people think he behaves strangely or makes funny noises; as long as he is not harming or interrupting anyone, we carry on with heads raised, meeting stranger’s stares with confident and unapologetic smiles that I will admit to having practiced in the bathroom mirror. Here are some of the tactics that…

Identifying and Avoiding Autism Cults

Shannon Des Roches Rosa www.squidalicious.com www.canisitwithyou.org www.blogher.com/blog/shannon-des-roches-rosa A child’s autism diagnosis can mess with parents’ heads. Media portrayals of children with autism and their adult spectrum-mates dwell almost exclusively on negatives and challenges, so when a parent is told that their child is autistic, they are usually incredibly upset. It doesn’t help when doctors lack the bedside manner to soften the emotional impact of their diagnoses, or have no information about contemporary autism therapies and resources. When that happens, parents are both freaked out and flapping in the wind. Their child’s doctor was supposed to give them answers and guidance, but instead upended their lives, then shoved them out the door. No one can explain why they have a child with autism, and they know nothing about autism. They are emotionally reeling, angry with the medical establishment, and hungry for any information that will help their child. Most parents start…