• 18+,  anxiety,  autism,  home strategies,  strategies

    New Stories

    Confession: I don’t feel qualified to do this kind of parenting. I don’t know if I’ve ever been really qualified to do any kind of parenting–but this phase in life is just strange. I’m not sure how to help J navigate the “neurotypical emerging adult world” because “neurotypical adult world” isn’t made for people who don’t fit the “neurotypical world.” I’ve also been around long enough to know that the “neurotypical world” is kind of a sham: you graduate high school, you go to university, you get a job, you get married, you buy a house, you have kids, you retire. What “neurotypical world” doesn’t tell you is that you…

  • 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…

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  • autism,  high school,  home strategies,  learning strategies,  math,  sensory processing

    My Black is Your Navy

    For as long as I can remember, my dad has struggled with colour.  I remember him rushing out the door to get to work, asking my mom one last time, “is this shirt blue or grey?’ or “does this shirt match this tie?” There were a lot of questions about socks too. “Are these socks black or navy?” and the guaranteed followup question: “Are you sure they’re navy? They look black to me.” My dad is red green colourblind, but he also has a hard time sorting out cool greens and light greys; light blues and light greys, light pink and light greys, brown and greens.  When he was dating…

  • autism,  high school,  home strategies,  learning strategies,  reading comprehension

    A Funny Thing Happened When We Gave J an iPhone 4

    I think it’s one of the biggest ironies of my life that I am obsessed with language, communication, and literature and those three things are the biggest things my son struggles with. I’ve loved language as long as I can remember. I remember staring at my Cheerios box as a kindergartner, figuring out that gratuit next to the picture of a key chain meant that something free was inside, that the word pamplemousse on the juice container meant grapefruit, and being absolutely thrilled to finally start learning French at school in grade 4. The only math I liked was when had to solve math facts in order to decode messages…

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  • autism,  helps,  home strategies,  math,  strategies

    Reality VS Perception

      One of my professor friends posted this picture on facebook the other day with the caption:  “For my friends in academe.” Every teacher I know feels the same way about the summer “decline.” Once the fourth of July comes around it seems like the first day of school is around the corner, which means all of my grand ideas for working with J hit a reality check. I realize that I haven’t come even close to doing all of the “catch up” things I’ve planned with him. This time around, I haven’t been close to even starting half of the things on my list: summer running, J’s weight training…

  • autism,  Education,  helps,  high school,  home strategies,  learning strategies,  math,  sensory processing,  special education,  strategies

    Two Incredible Surprises that Emerged from Finals Week

    Like all things autism, the strategies for finals week were thought out long in advance. Back in December, J’s teachers sent home various forms of “study guides” the last few days before break so we could get a head start on studying for January finals, and we took FULL advantage of that. Over the break, J and I read all the short stories again. I made DOZENS of flash cards for English vocab, Foods vocab. I made picture cards for the short stories and we worked on those every single day of the break. No rest for the wicked, I guess. When J returned after the break, J’s special ed…

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  • autism,  Education,  handwriting,  helps,  high school,  home strategies,  learning strategies,  math,  modifications,  special education,  study skills

    When You’re Not a Hermione Granger Student

    The fact that one of my kids needs accommodations or modifications for homework and tests is still a hard concept for me. I was the Hermione Granger student. I sat in the front of the class. I did all the questions on every assignment. I got uber nervous–sick to my stomach sometimes–over getting tests back because I needed at least a 90% to feel good about myself. Not that I always got an “A” on everything. But if I didn’t, I felt like I had to do some major re-evaluations about my life. And then I have J. J is a kid that needs all of the accommodations and modifications.…

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  • autism,  high school,  home strategies,  sensory processing

    To stim or not to stim

    One of the first things I noticed when J was a toddler was the quirky behaviour. J liked to play games–spinning games. He liked to spin coasters, spin plastic plates, any sort of disc he could find, he would bring the disc to me and beg me to spin it. He LOVED it. He’d giggle and beg for more. He would also do this thing when we were outside, and run to the corner of our little town home in Illinois, tilt and close one eye, staring down the corner of the side of the house and run back. He’d run back and forth, giggling the whole time. I had…

  • autism,  Education,  home strategies,  math,  middle school,  modifications,  strategies,  study skills

    The Virtues of Algebra

    J’s academic strength has always been math. It has been his “language”—the one he has always understood the best ever since he was a toddler.  Math is predictable, math is rote calculation, math is fact families. It’s predictable. 3X4 always equals 12. He has always been phenomenal at it. And then came Algebra in middle school math, and all of a sudden, J was no longer good at math. This type of math requires decisions. You need to look at an equation and decide what like terms need to be combined. You need to be able to look at the equation and figure out how to get x by itself.…

  • anxiety,  autism,  helps,  home strategies,  mental health,  middle school,  strategies

    Let’s talk behaviours

    J got sent home for behaviours on Thursday. For those of you keeping track, yes, J has been sent home twice in two weeks for behaviour at school. So let’s talk behaviours–since this is part and parcel with autism. I think the term “behaviours” is such a funny term to use with kids on the spectrum. I remember one time in elementary school J announcing at the dinner table that he had a behaviour at school and he seemed almost confused by it. “Behaviours” in autism speak means any (or a combination) of the following: scratching, kicking, biting, hitting, pushing, shoving, destruction to someone’s property, destruction to oneself, etc–a euphemism for bad…