Road Trippin’

There were so many times when it could’ve gone bad.

Ten days on the road, hundreds of miles, five different hotels. A myriad of changes to routine.

I was braced for complications. My boy has had a rough time lately – stressed at school, agitated at home, anxiety placing him (and us) on a hair-trigger. We weren’t sure if our planned fall break road trip would relieve his stress or add to it. I was cautiously pessimistic. I knew we could have some problems if my kid’s current volatile mood didn’t lighten, especially being away from the safety of home. We wouldn’t know until we hit the road.

The first day, after a late start and a five hour drive, we got to our hotel after sundown. All day, we’d promised the kid – drive first, then swimming. As we checked in, we learned that the pool closed early. Crap. Read More

The Crowd-iest Place on Earth

Do you want to test your tolerance for being inadvertently touched, jostled, and crowded by random strangers?

Go to Disneyland in mid-July.

On the “aversion-to-touch” scale, my kid is in the middle. He’ll allow himself to be touched, many times even requests it—a tickle, a squeeze, a wrestle—but it’s got to be on his terms. He has to know it’s coming.

But when you’re winding your way through a massive sea of people—many carrying oversize backpacks and multiple bags bulging with unwieldy souvenirs; others pushing strollers while wrangling toddlers who insist on managing their own larger-than-toddler balloons or stuffed Pixar characters; not to mention the few patrons walking in zig-zag obliviousness while gnawing on large turkey legs or cotton candy—it’s just impossible to keep from being touched.

Monsters Inc 2319“There’s nothing more toxic, more deadly than a human child. A single touch could kill you!” – Mr. Waternoose, Monsters Inc.

There is no “fast pass” around the summer swarms at Disney theme parks. As a family, we are not early risers—at least not the talk-to-others-in-public-and-ride-roller-coasters type of early risers—so getting into the parks before the biggest crowds was not a realistic goal. We went in the afternoons and evenings. Along with half the universe. Read More

Tickle Me With Your Feet

Last week, I described the unique Soundscape my son creates that fills our house with songs and vocalizations.  He also uses his voice with explicit intent to communicate. Single-word requests are fairly frequent now, but longer sentences and general remarks are still a rarity. The words my son strings together for deliberate purposes fluctuate over time as his needs and interests change. A quick inventory reveals these recent favorites: Read More

Mid-Year Progress Report: 2013 IEP (For Me)

It is time for a New Year’s Resolution Progress Report! (Ah, you thought I forgot, didn’t you?)

Inspired by the beauty that is Special Education, I created a handy-dandy 2013 IEP (For Me) in January 2013 to design and track appropriate self-improvement goals in five (5) skill areas. Analysis of RTI data in previous years had found that verbal resolutions were broken within 2-3 weeks of January 1; written resolutions were held onto only slightly longer, in part because they lacked a public accountability component.

The original document, which can be viewed in full HERE, includes some additional target lists, benchmarks, and key accommodations.

Progress on 2013 goals stands as follows: Read More