• anxiety,  autism,  COVID life,  high school,  mental health,  special education

    COVID Rules

    Monday morning, J and I sit in front of his school-issued laptop while we chat with his special ed teacher, para, and speech therapist in our little “small talk” session and suddenly J bursts into a complete meltdown. Not just meltdown–I’m pretty sure it’s a panic attack because there’s hyperventilation and big ugly-cry sobs. We try to keep him on camera to help talk him through it–to assure him that things will not just be fine, things will be great, but he can’t do it and he needs to leave the room. It’s a very big reaction to (what we thought) was a pretty benign question: When is quarantine over?…

  • autism,  COVID life,  high school,  home strategies,  IEP,  motherhood,  special education

    First Day of School Take 2

    Wednesday Fargo Public Schools started their first day of school thanks to COVID-19. It seems like everyone I know across the US and across the ocean (in Saudi Arabia) has already been participating in virtual school for at least a week or two already. In general, I feel like North Dakota has been a few weeks behind everyone on everything COVID related (probably because we fall 47 out of 50 in population size in the United States). And that’s okay. I (personally) need that extra time to mental prepare for all the changes that are happening, and I appreciate watching and learning from everyone else who has started the “new…

  • anxiety,  autism,  high school,  medication,  post high school,  post secondary autism

    Prognosis

    This week involved parent teacher conferences, a conference call with a guardianship lawyer, and driving to school to help J through an evacuation drill. I’ve thought a lot this week about how grateful I am for teachers who are flexible with their classrooms and curriculum to allow J to participate in the ways he can with his peers. I’ve thought about “the end of all public school things” and “adulthood” and what J’s future will look like and how much participation on our end will be needed as parents. I’ve thought a lot about J’s anxiety and how he just can’t seem to make it to the pre-determined time before…

  • autism,  high school,  medication,  motherhood

    January Was a Tough Year, But We Made It

    I picked up J from school Friday morning and he looked exactly like the school nurse described on the phone–“ashen.” School overhead fluorescent lights aren’t flattering on anyone, but the lights weren’t the problem. J looked like a zombie. Eyes vacant. Lethargic. Just all around awful. J’s doctor had warned us that some kids have this type of reaction to clonidine and that J might too. But J never had this reaction the first time he started the medication back in December and I wasn’t sure he had fully recovered from the flu–since he still hadn’t fully gotten over his cough and raspy voice (W and I have been symptom…

  • autism,  high school,  teen years

    I need an ambulance!

    J’s first spontaneous phone call came Friday while Whitney and I were getting our hair cut. J was at home by himself and I texted him halfway through the hair appointment to see how things were going. Less than a minute later I get a spontaneous call from J, telling me things were fine at home in a perfect, little three sentence conversation. I’m telling you IT WAS A PERFECT PHONE CALL. (Hi mom, this is Josh. Things at home are going well. When are you coming home?) I didn’t text him to call me. He just called me in response to my “how are things?” text. The second phone…

  • anxiety,  autism,  high school,  sensory processing,  teen years

    Is this normal?

    Last night we had lasagna for dinner and spaghetti and “meatballs.” I don’t usually make two dinners in one night but the Costco lasagna wasn’t vegetarian, so I warmed up some spaghetti and frozen “meatballs” for W and me. As the kids filled their plates, J grabbed the serving utensils and smiled as he reached for the pot, announcing: “Spaghetti AND lasagna!” “No,” I said. “The lasagna is for you and dad. The spaghetti is for me and W.” “No, I want both,” he snapped. “J,” I sighed. “The spaghetti is for me and W.” “Shut up. I want both.” “J, you can have as much lasagna as you want.”…

  • autism,  cross-country,  exercise,  high school

    Making the watch the boss

    It’s been 3 weeks since the end of J’s XC season and I’ve been trying to think of how we can get that spark back into running. I think if you’ve seen J running out on a golf course or around the track, you would probably agree with me. Running is so good for J. It’s good for him physically. It’s good for his mental health. Running is also great for building relationships. He loves the boys on his team. He’s grown really strong attachments to his coaches of the years. Running is so good for J. Since XC has been out, I’ve been trying to find the best routine…

  • autism,  cross-country,  high school,  post high school,  post secondary autism

    Still so much to learn

    Steve and I attended J’s XC recognition last night. It’s hard to believe next year will be his last one. I feel like every week that passes takes us faster and faster to his graduation day. I have so many mixed feelings about that. J has built such a great network of supportive adults and friends who have all been so very important in his life. I know these adults and friends will always love and support J post graduation, but life goes on and his friends will find their own track as adults and the adults in his life will continue the roles they have in helping other kids…

  • autism,  cross-country,  high school,  siblings and autism

    The spark is missing

    I don’t know why, but J’s XC season this year has been really off. To be honest, I hadn’t been looking too closely at J’s times this season–J and W missed a meet for my cousin’s wedding, W’s meet in Valley City got cancelled because of weather. EDC got pushed back from last Saturday (because of the blizzard) to Tuesday of this week. The kid’s last meet of the season, AC/DC got cancelled because of the EDC shuffle. It was a weird season. I felt as parents we were kind of just living meet to meet, and suddenly we found ourselves at the end of the season. So when J…

  • anxiety,  autism,  cross-country,  high school

    Fergus Falls and Easter Eggs

    Most people love to find “Easter eggs” in their favourite TV shows and movies (“…hidden references, inside jokes or clues placed in movies, television programmes and video games…secret love letters written by the show’s creators to their eagle-eyed fans…messages [that] aren’t usually obvious and sometimes it can take a die-hard fan to spot them.”). It’s sort of a Sherlock Holmes game we get to play as viewers. It’s a game to test how savvy or observant you are: Can you you see the one object in your movie that’s in all the other stories or movies in a series? (Like The Pizza Planet truck in almost every Pixar movie). And…