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“Perfectly Normal” Reviewed

March 15, 2017, 4:32 pm

The New York Times started its “Op-Docs” feature about a year ago; this is the first time I’ve felt motivated to comment. This 12-minute doc was aired yesterday, on my birthday, March 14; it’s called Perfectly Normal and it’s directed by Joris Debeij. First the name reminds me of “Bosom Buddies.” In the intro, didn’t Tom Hanks say, “see, this whole thing is perfectly normal,” just before Billy Joel’s “My Life” began? Despite the maddening rabbit hole you’ll go down if you
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NPS visits

March 8, 2017, 4:37 pm

Lately I’ve been looking at NPSs, which is special-needs-parents-speak for Non-Public-Schools. For some reason, it’s better to say “non-public” than “private,” because the latter implies something that might not fit the needs of a kid like Dar. One does not simply walk into an NPS. One calls first and makes an appointment, sometimes more than a month in advance. There’s at least one NPS in Berkeley where I’m considering walking up and ringing the doorbell, because no one answers its
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Living in Darwinia

March 3, 2017, 10:34 am

I don’t have much to say this week. Dar does. When I call him non-verbal, I wonder if there are parents out there thinking, “Oh, God, I wish my kid was non-verbal. Ten minutes of peace and quiet would be freaking great.” Yeah, that isn’t what’s happening over here in Chez Smith-Rowsey. Closer to the worst of both worlds. He can’t talk, but he also can’t stop verbalizing, and loudly. His voice-hole babbles and rambles nonsensically. You might say there
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Autism post is late

March 2, 2017, 12:50 pm

But it is planned. Thanks for patience, loyal readers. Share this post

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Triennial IEP

February 22, 2017, 2:38 pm

Recently, Dar did a once-in-three-years evaluation to ascertain his qualifying for services. The tl;dr version goes like this: yes, he still qualifies. One thing that was new for this IEP was something the district calls a “Psychoeducational Assessment Report.” I’m glad that Microsoft red-underlines “psychoeducational” so that I know I’m not crazy. You may recall from last week’s entry that wifey and I had some issues with the “Psychoeducational Assessment Report” – 22 of them. Now, to be a little nicer
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“Psychoeducational Report” is under-educated, over-psycho

February 15, 2017, 4:46 pm

This week, Dar had his triennial IEP, something that happens once every three years to determine Dar’s ongoing eligibility for services. One aspect was quite unfamiliar from previous IEPs – a psychologist’s report. Basically, I had to fill out a long questionnaire and so did Dar’s teachers. This was the first time we didn’t see eye to eye on Dar’s abilities. Granted, the questionnaire was tricky; you had to label Dar’s skills with a 1, 2, 3, or 4, and in
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Yesterday at Starbucks

February 8, 2017, 10:29 am

Yesterday at Starbucks, an older homeless man growled at me, “You should control your kid, he’s gonna get hot water spilled on him.” I was near Dar as he did his usual walking; this man did a quick 180 from the cashier counter. I judged that in terms of invading personal space, it was roughly a draw. Granted, when this man was a kid, kids did not get half the deference they get now. I also factored in Dar’s “tee-tee-tee-ing” – as
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Two important skills looking better this week

February 1, 2017, 4:24 pm

(Pictured: Dar’s brother’s picture of his brother) Very briefly, because these very few words count for very much: This week, Dar is doing two things better than he’s ever done them. If I ever tell you that Dar never makes any progress, refer me back to my own blog post from this week. That’ll show me. The first is identifying common animals and common objects in books. This is something we’ve worked on, and he’s been okay in the past,
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Dar’s Day at the Lawrence Hall of Science

January 25, 2017, 5:30 pm

My fellow Berkeley natives know that one of our greatest local resources is the Lawrence Hall of Science. Oddly, until last weekend I hadn’t yet accompanied Dar there. He’d been there, but only with his school. I didn’t want to deal with paying only to watch him screaming throughout the place. But his brother is 4, meaning it was long since time for him to go, and so we all went together as a family. As a kid, I remembered
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Bullying in 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020

January 18, 2017, 3:52 pm

Today is the last day I’ll be blogging about my child’s autism while Barack Obama is President. Next time I blog about autism, Donald Trump will be President. Does that make any difference to my autistic child? Maybe, maybe not. Trump has given considerable support to anti-vaxxers, and that does concern me. But beyond that, I can’t help but wonder if bullying has been validated at the federal level – during years that my child stands to be the most
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