A Space of His Own

We’ve known for a while that our autistic son is going to continue to live with us for the near future, and very likely the far future, too. There aren’t many other options (whether it’s a group home or a shared/assisted apartment) that we feel comfortable with for a high-needs, semi-verbal individual such as he is.

But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t need his space. And, it definitely doesn’t mean that we don’t need ours.

So, for the last year or so, we’ve been strategizing and scheming and dreaming about how we can all live together, sanely, moving forward. Read More


To that “Other” Mom at Zumba

Dear Vigilant Mom at Adaptive Zumba,

I was watching you in Zumba class and I hope you don’t mind if I offer a bit of advice. This class will be really great for you and your son …. if you could just chill out a little. (No, this isn’t a critique of your dance moves, that’s for another letter.)

I bet you heard about this fun cardio-fitness class offered by a local parks and rec adaptive program from other parents whose teens/young adults attend. I’m sure it took you a few months to get up the nerve to sign your son up, because you just never know if he’ll like it. But the once-a-week class is less than 20 bucks, right? So, you gave it a try.

I heard you tell the instructor that your son has never taken a class like this before, but I could tell from the first day that your kid really likes being here. Oh, I know there was some anxiety at first, since he (and you) didn’t know what to expect. But it was clear by the third class, he was so happy to be there. I mean, of course he was. Upbeat music. Repetitive movements. Welcoming instructor. Enthusiastic peers. Wall-to-wall mirrors. It’s like Zumba was made for him, right? It’s a dance party in here.

I watched you encouraging him to follow the instructor, and showing him the steps. You were so happy every time he started to move his arms or legs (but usually not both together) to follow the routine. He truly has such good rhythm! But he’d only move for a few beats and then pause to stand and watch or spin those beads. You seemed a little disappointed when he stopped dancing, and I could see that you were struggling to find the right balance between insisting he dance more (“I know he can do this!”) and letting him do his own thing. Read More

Be Prepared

In the midst of all the preparation required to take a trip without your special needs child, you might wonder, “If ALL this is what it takes to ‘simply’ have a weekend away, it really might not be worth it.”

If that getaway is a success, though?

It’s worth it. So worth it.

But it wasn’t just because of all that prep that our recent three-day kid-free weekend worked out so well. Read More

How a Clothespin Might Save My Sanity

This little thing here? This cheap wooden contraption that hates the electric clothes dryer for making it obsolete? Well, it’s useful again, at least around here.


I hope I’m not jinxing our experiment to say out loud that it’s working.

See, my son “fixes” everything around us. When he’s been on a two-week break home from school, this behavior is even more apparent. We live in the house, use things, move stuff around, and he follows behind us putting everything back in place and keeping things in order the way that he likes them. Read More