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Dar’s birthday IEP 2017

October 18, 2017, 2:37 am

Uh, Dar had a birthday on Sunday. His IEP was Tuesday. I will have more to say about it next week.  Until then, I’m just going to knock your socks off with IEP verbiage. This is to make parents of kids with IEPs go “Oh, thank God I’m not alone” and parents of kids without IEPs go “Oh, thank God that’s not me.” Forthwith: FROM THE AAC SPECIALIST: [Dar] Smith-Rowsey is an engaging 7-year old boy enrolled in Ms. Anita’s
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Fire Interruption

October 11, 2017, 4:54 pm

This week’s normal blog entry about my life with my autistic child has been interrupted by the Atlas Fire, which CNN just called the most destructive wildfire in California’s history. A school where I teach has been turned into an evacuation center; my father’s retirement facility is on notice for evacuation. So I’ve been a bit distracted. Nonetheless, Dar’s IEP will happen this Tuesday, and I’ll probably have updates about that next week. Until then, here’s some autism news that
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When The iPad Locked Us All Out

October 4, 2017, 11:26 am

I don’t plan these weekly columns very far in advance. But if I did, I certainly wouldn’t have been planning to write about having to wipe down Dar’s iPad, restart his entire communication system, and begin rebuilding it from scratch. In the last 48 hours, I’ve spoken the following words so many times that it almost comes as a peculiar relief to type them. Monday, while at work at St. Mary’s College, I got an email from Dar’s special-needs supervisor
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They Can Take That Away From Me

September 27, 2017, 3:00 pm

When Dar first got his autism diagnosis, around age two, I said to myself: yeah, but no one can stop me from showing him the world. Whatever they may say, they can’t take that away from me. Turns out they can. Or at least, they can remove the joy of it. If I say “Dar look at that cow!” or “Dar look at that full moon!” or “Dar look at this beautiful canyon!” there is absolutely never any indication that
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A Garden Guardian?

September 20, 2017, 10:21 am

Sometimes it takes years for someone to point out something that, in retrospect, looks obvious. And with that epiphany, it’s like you’ve been living in a fog that has just lifted. That may have just happened yesterday. Maybe, maybe not. For the first time yesterday, I phoned in my presence on an IEP of Dar’s. (My phoning it in was not the epiphany.) My phone-presence was partly due to child-care arrangements, mostly because this wouldn’t be “the real IEP,” which
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IEP Prep, Sep 2017

September 13, 2017, 10:13 am

It’s autumn again, and parents everywhere have got their adorable progeny outfitted in the latest fashions, bedecked with brand-new school supplies, and situated to do writing that will reveal and indeed stimulate their remarkable growth and development. Uh, unless they’re a parent of a severely autistic child like mine. As he begins second grade, no one, least of all me, is expecting Dar to finish the year writing his own name, much less writing something that would demonstrate growth or development. Every year,
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Weekend of Labor

September 6, 2017, 7:26 pm

As a kid, Labor Day weekend to me suggested a final barbecue before the end of summer. These days, the thought of proactively adding more chemicals to the atmosphere seems mildly perverse. Besides, Mother Nature gave us West Coasters her own barbecue for Labor Day, not a finale but a harbinger: record temperatures and ashy smoke all over the coast plus Los Angeles’s biggest fire ever. (Good thing we know none of that could possibly have any relation to Hurricanes
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Dar in Car? Too Far

August 30, 2017, 12:30 pm

You know that parenting superstition that if you think of a catastrophe, and if you say it out loud, then you prevent it from happening? Here’s hoping that the following blog post has something like that effect. In this case, I’m hoping that bringing something to you, readers, will magically dispel the universe’s need for it to keep happening. In this case, we’re not really talking about a catastrophe, just Dar’s latest obsession. He has outgrown many of his previous
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Celestial Reasonings: Dar @ the Eclipse

August 23, 2017, 10:26 am

Is Dar my sun, or my moon? Or am I his? Granted, those weren’t pressing questions during the planning of our cosmic pilgrimage to Oregon to see a total solar eclipse for the first time in our lives. Bigger questions: will Dar be able to camp for the first time? Considering we’re camping on a friend’s friend’s farm, will Dar’s noises drown out the farm animals and annoy our lovely hosts? How will we manage Dar in general? Will Dar
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Waterworld 1.0

August 16, 2017, 8:00 pm

Until last weekend, Dar had never been to a water park. Then again, he wasn’t the only one. On our family’s drive out to Waterworld California, I asked wifey, “Have you ever been on a waterslide?” “Of course.” “When?” “Orlando.” “You went to one of the water parks there?” “Sure.” “Really? Cause when I was in Florida I went to four Disney parks and two Universal parks, but not the water parks.” “What is a water park?” After a little
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