leaf blower

Two days ago I got a call from the office of a doctor that Dar’s general physician had referred us to.

The calm-voiced lady on the other end said, “We received your intake forms. Dr. E______ believes that the school needs to provide much more support for Dar.”

“Oh, okay, well, thanks for that. How soon can we see the doctor?”

“Well, we would like to refer you to another doctor.”


“Dr. E______ doesn’t really see kids like yours…”

“What are kids like mine?”

“Kids that are a bit more…impacted. Dr. W______ actually mentored Dr. E______, so they know each other well and I’m sure Dr. W______ will be a good fit.”

“You had said Dr. E______ was scheduled out until March. How long is Dr. W_____ scheduled out until?”

“You’ll have to check with her.”

“…I had contacted you about changing Dar’s medication…”

“Dr. W______ is actually a much more appropriate doctor for that.”

“Where is she?”

“Well, her primary clinic is in San Leandro.” Sigh. Could be worse.

“I filled out a lot of forms for you. If the doctors work together, can I maybe send your forms to her?”

“Again, that’s up to her. I’ll scan them and email them to you.”


“Is there anything else?”

“I guess not.”

I left a message with Dr. W______ the same day. After another full day, her office still hasn’t called me back.

And Dar’s screams continue to fill our pre-dawn morning, with no abatement in sight.


In other news, Dar is into leaf blowers. This is new.

Some parents have autistic kids who flinch at every loud noise. We don’t have one of those.

Astute readers will recall that months ago, the school suggested that Dar do some lawn work around the school. I told you then and I tell you now that I love the idea. When you have a child like ours, you don’t complain the way people complained when Newt Gingrich praised child labor. If the school stumbles upon some way Dar can be useful in later life, praise the savior.

Also, based on my announced and unannounced visits, Dar leaves class a lot more often than the school admits. On one level, I don’t blame them; how can any group of 8-year-olds study around his constant tee-tee-teeing? On another level…I’ve gone over this 100 times on this blog and with the school. It’s crazy inconsistency for the district to insist on immersion while its employees keep pulling him out of class. But…as long as it continues, better he do something more than just wander the halls.

This brings us to the leaf blower incident. Yesterday, when I took Dar to school, he did two things I’d never seen him do.

The first was sprint to see someone. It was ten minutes before school started and we were standing near his brother’s classroom when Dar took off running after Aaron, the school custodian. I saw his brother’s teacher and said bye-bye to them and ran after Dar.

There had to be a reason for Dar’s unprecedented behavior. Sure enough, he wanted Aaron’s leaf blower. Now, Aaron is a great guy. He’s been to our house before, for birthday parties.

Aaron goes, “No Dar, I need that right now. You can use it later.”

This was the moment when Dar did something I’d never seen him do at school before the first bell rang: go into his very familiar complete-meltdown mode. You would have thought someone was shoving icepicks under his fingernails.

The general hubbub-sounds of kids playing outside kept anyone from really noticing Dar except me and Aaron. Aaron took it in stride at first. I tried to walk Dar around the school grounds. But he ran back to Aaron every time. I’ve rarely seen him more directed.

Aaron wouldn’t let him use his big leaf blower, but Aaron was nice enough to walk him over to his custodian office and hand him a small leaf blower. Dar started blowing leaves, and his expression did a complete 180. He looked like a child watching his birthday cake (quite the opposite of when Dar looked like his actual birthday cake last month). So…that was great.

Great for Dar, that is. Not the leaves. You know how you hear about these autistic people who need things to be nicely ordered and neatly organized? Yeah, that’s not Dar. (Though he sometimes insist that me or wifey be in certain places in the house.) Before Dar hit the leaves with the blower, they were scattered. And afterward…they were scattered again.

But it’s arguably early days; they only taught him the leaf blower two weeks ago. So…we’ll see. Yesterday it was certainly nice to see Dar blowing leaves with a smile as wide as the Golden Gate Bridge.

And…the bell rang. And I handed the small leaf blower back to Aaron. And he melted down again. And I dragged his screaming self to class to the stares of half the school.


How many roads must Dar walk down, before they call him a man?

The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind.