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First Grade Finish Line

June 21, 2017, 2:35 pm

Hey parents! What do you do with all that stuff that the school sends home on the last week of school? I’ve got books, journals (with literal scribbles, no words), various reading guides, and all kinds of other paperwork including a “Top Five Moments of 2016-2017” montage: Exploratorium, Music with Lisa Z., Girls Basketball, Adventure Playground, Tilden Little Farm. In Dar’s case, he truly wouldn’t mind if I threw it all away. He doesn’t even take a second glance at photos
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A Pause for Applause

June 14, 2017, 8:56 am

On one recent day in Tahoe, two unrelated people met Dar, tried to chat him up, and separately marveled, wow, you’ve really taught him well to never speak to strangers! Ha. That’s an opening joke, not relevant to today’s post. Today I want to tell you about Dar’s hand-clapping. He doesn’t clap hands like you and me. No, this is where his latent cerebral palsy really manifests itself. He sort of holds his left hand like it has an invisible
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How Autism Prepared Me For 45

June 7, 2017, 4:49 pm

Every day is a new outrage. Fatigue is setting in. How long are you expected to marshal all your resources against this problem? I mean, doesn’t Oprah say to cut toxicity out of your life? Does the phrase “banging your head against a wall” mean nothing to you? How about “taking a bucket to an ocean”? Even easier: “Get over it,” or in the ancient words of Elsa of Frozen, “Let it go.” If this person were your employee, you’d
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Dar @ Tahoe, May 2017

May 31, 2017, 12:00 pm

It’s all good, except for the screaming and the waking. Like every other Californian who lived through this wet winter, I thought to myself: skiing? Yet it’s hard for us to get away. Wifey was nice enough to offer her birthday weekend, more specifically Memorial Day Weekend. Normally, the end of May is not an ideal time to ski, but after 50 feet of February snow, Squaw Valley announced it would be open at least that long. Wifey’s offer went
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Why Deny the California Child?

May 24, 2017, 5:28 pm

A therapist once told me that it’s important for Dar to continue to try new things. Last weekend was one weekend where he did, thanks to my friend Steve’s wedding in Los Angeles. Road trips are mostly terrific with Dar. The upside is that he loves watching the world go by, and we get to see him happy for hours. The downside is that he keeps tapping his Mom in the passenger seat while she’s trying to relax. Despite his importunements,
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Dar’s two stims of 2017

May 17, 2017, 5:06 pm

These days, when I come home, or when Dar comes home, he walks right up to me and takes my hand. He wants me to do something that he can’t express on his iPad/talker. I could put the requisite icons on his talker, but I’m not sure what words would be appropriate, and I’m also not sure that Dar regularly requesting this particular action would be appropriate. In this situation, Dar leads me to the living room couch. Then he
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R @ 5, Dar @ ?

May 10, 2017, 3:22 pm

“She lost the privilege of loving you, so now you have to love yourself.” Today is our second son’s 5th birthday. Happy birthday little R! Five years ago today, during the first seconds of his life outside the womb, he screamed like a banshee, and I felt as relieved as Steve Young on the 1995 day he beat the Chargers in the Super Bowl. By the time of R’s birth, Dar was 2 ½, and we knew Dar had serious
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The Mensch Show

May 3, 2017, 10:18 am

During the big La La Land-Moonlight mixup of two months ago, I thought Jimmy Kimmel was impressively quick on his feet when he said, onstage, in the center of the chaos, “Well, I don’t know what happened. I blame myself for this. Let’s remember, it’s just an awards show.” Quite right. As much time as Kimmel or I devote to the Oscars, or even movies, we both understand that life is made up of more important things. Unbeknownst to Oscar-night
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Baby, I Can Drive With Dar

April 27, 2017, 10:48 am

I wonder how many of my fellow parents of special-needs kids dread driving with their little love-ball of behaviors? I figure that for every autistic kid who takes to a car like a happy panting dog, there must be another autistic kid who takes to a car like a freaked-out cat. So let me just express my gratitude to the cosmos and the gods that we’ve got a dog here. Dar even likes to stick his head out of the
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Watching “Sesame Street” Introduce Julia

April 19, 2017, 4:50 pm

Last week, my wife, my two kids, and me did something for the first time: we sat down together as a family, in the living room, to watch a TV show. Okay, maybe it wasn’t exactly the first time. When Dar and I watch sports, the other two drift in and out, and I’m pretty sure all of them have been in the room at the same time as me. The same thing happens when R watches his kiddie shows and
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