* Day #270 – Tom Bodett

This mom has such a precious heart! And her advice is important for all parents and teachers. It’s more than acknowledging differences. It’s allowing kids to be safe in the unique way that reflects their needs. Stay clear of the trap of conformity or public opinion. Like this mom, be guided by what is kind and keeps your child safe.

366 Days of Autism

Several years ago Super 8 began an advertising campaign starring the voice of Tom Bodett.  His famous phrase?  “We’ll leave a light on for you.”

Tucker can’t sleep without a light on and I’m not referring to a low-light nightlight.  I’m talking about a 90 watt bulb in a lamp.  His room is as bright as a 6 AM June morning…and he sleeps like a baby.

Now – I recognize that many children are afraid of the dark.  Tucker isn’t.  He’s fine in the dark.  Can he sit in a dark room?  Yes.  Can he walk around outside in the dark?  Yes.  Can he sleep in the dark?  No.

I often leave his room shaking my head, wondering how he can sleep with the beacon beside him.  Then I began researching ASD and ‘afraid of the dark.’  I know – it could just be a kid thing…but what if it’s…

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* Day #253 – Our Games

Here’s a post which highlights the importance of early OT for kids with sensory problems, whether on the spectrum or not. Another well-written post by Tucker’s mom.

366 Days of Autism

Most parents have the opportunity to play many great games with their children in their toddler/early elementary years.

Spectrum parents are not different – except our games are.  Instead of playing hide and go seek or tag, we often play games directed by our OT (Occupational Therapist).  Here are a few examples of games we played in Tucker’s early years….

What’s in the bag?  One of the early ‘games’ that we played to help Tucker develop his sense of touch was “What’s in the bag.” We would put a variety of objects in a paper bag – starting with larger obvious items (a fork, a nerf ball, a banana) then ask Tucker to reach in and tell us what he could find.  As he would master those larger objects, we would replace with smaller, more complicated objects.  He really struggled with this game in the early years – with enough…

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* What’s a parent to do?

What’s a parent to do when their special needs child is in dire straits?   Perhaps start a charter school?  I’ve been following the ups and downs of a nearby charter school with interest.  Dynamic Community Charter School (DCCS) currently serves 64 students from 6th through 10th grade.  A project-based school serving special needs kids, DCCS is in its 1st year of operation.  The Charter School Advisory Board recommended that the school be shut down at the end of this year because of its continuing budgetary problems.  They also alluded to observations of a “calmer” physical environment.  I figured that meant the place was hopping with inappropriate activity when someone observed, but who knows?

I was intrigued when I read a parent response to this recommendation in The News and Observer.  The column, entitled “Blindsided by Board: Heartbreak and outrage over recommendations to revoke charter of school for special needs students,” was written by a parent whose son attends DCCS.  According to this parent, Jennifer Holt, DCCS has been run by parents “concerned for their special needs children- exhausted, desperate, intelligent, hard-working parents who completed extensive training but missed crossing a couple of T’s, leaving a significant financial deficit for the year.”  Ms. Holt recounts the efforts of parents to raise money (they have until May).  She said they were basically ready “to sell our souls to keep this school open for our children.  The principal even offered not to draw a salary for the rest of the year.”

Why?  Ms. Holt says they have given up on a system with overcrowded classrooms and an emphasis upon mainstreaming that was unsuccessful.  She goes on to describe her son’s situation: “Bullied at recess, bullied in the bathroom, bullied at lunch. ‘There’s no recourse available.  Just help him learn how to get through it.‘ These were actual words spoken to me by a teacher whose hands were tied in the case of a very large student who decided to make my son’s every day a living hell.”  She says that her son is finally happy, is excited about going to school, and “is finally out in the world without his mother and thriving.  He is finally learning with his peers.  He is growing and making friends and even leading discussions- something that would never have happened in a traditional public school setting.”

I’ve checked out their website and blog (image below) and I’m hoping they get a chance to survive as a school. It’s easy to donate using PayPal.  One size does not fit all.DCCS 1

* He was nine when he wrote it – This is how autism sometimes speaks.

What a beautiful post this is! It’s a great way to squash that ridiculous notion that autistic kids are incapable of feeling. Read on for more….

The Qwiet Muse

Compassion comes in many forms, I think on this day, my son’s capacity for compassion and empathy and understanding of a world we so often take for granted shone bright in its innocence and purity . . .

imageThere are those who say autistic people do not have the capability to feel empathy or compassion or relate to the emotional world around them. I know this to be untrue, they may express these feelings differently than others, but they are more than capable of feeling them.

When my children were young we spent many afternoons in the park. Sometimes, when I drive past it, I can almost see them playing there, I hear their innocent laughter between the beats of my heart. One of these outings stands out in my memory, it was a beautiful and brisk autumn day, the perfect kind of day for something special.

Two of my…

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* What It’s Not

Great perspective on what inclusion is and isn’t. I especially like her “three things you need to have.” Read on for more!

The Diary of a Not So Ordinary Boy

Inclusion is a funny thing that seems to mean all sorts of different things to different people, so I thought I’d put together a list for those of us who have special people in their lives, be that professionally or personally; you know those people who find it difficult to learn things or have specific disabilities.

  1. It’s not saying that everyone is welcome and then being flummoxed as to what to do with them when they turn up and sticking them in a corner or out in the corridor with a Special Helper and a box of cars or an iPad.
  2. It’s not having the exact same expectations for them as for the rest of the class/group, all in the name of aspiration.
  3. It’s not letting them get away with whatever they please because, aww, look at them, they haven’t got much, or they can’t understand, or they can’t process…

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* Do-overs

This is an awesome post. Just wait until you get to the last paragraphs! Well worth reading.

Square Peg in a Round Hole

I’m sure we’ve all thought about this at one time or another, but have you ever wanted a “do-over?” Meaning, if you could do it all over again, would you? Or would you keep things exactly the same? Sometimes I think about an alternate universe where “what if’s” could actually be seen, so it would cut our decision making process in half.

It reminds me of the Gwyneth Paltrow movie “Sliding Doors.” Her life literally hangs in the balance on wether she makes her train on time or not. It shows you both universes. It shows you her “what if’s.” It’s an incredible movie, because either way, her life will take a drastic turn, and it makes you wonder… was it a good thing that she missed her train, or bad? I highly suggest seeing it.

I sometimes think about wanting a do-over, for the sheer brilliance that it is…

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