• 18+,  IEP,  post high school,  post secondary autism

    A Glossary of Agencies and Services

    Thursday of last week we met J’s case manager at Developmental Disabilities (Human Services, state of North Dakota) for his yearly check in. And as we chatted, I asked his case manager all the questions—again. It’s been about 18 years since I’ve been first introduced to all of the options and programming for individuals with special needs, and it feels like it was much simpler. Most of the programming J received was through the public school system. He was shuffled into early intervention education even before his preschool years, and he’s rode the public school programming all the way up until graduation. After graduation, we’re learning it all over again.…

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  • 18+,  autism,  IEP,  learning strategies,  special education,  strategies

    The Post High School IEP

    A few weeks ago we sat down with J’s new team to discuss his IEP. I had thought long and hard for weeks what we wanted J’s new goals to look like, but I couldn’t come up with anything. For the last 12 years J’s IEP has been some iteration of getting J to stay and focus in a classroom or how to accommodate class and homework assignments. But now J’s classroom no longer looks like an academic one. And to be honest, I’m still learning myself what his new school situation looks like, and to be honest, I’m kind of IEPed out. I’m all out of ideas. We were…

  • 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,  Education,  IEP,  motherhood,  special education

    Ave Verum Corpus

    When I was about eight or nine, I remember standing in the middle of my classroom choir on our first stop of our little elementary school musical tour, wanting to crawl in a corner and hide. I knew every single note of the song we were about to sing, but I didn’t know any of the Latin besides the first three words: Ave Verum Corpus. Being good little Canadian kids, this was about the same time we were also learning French. Boy did I love French–I was really, really good at French. I was the master of the weekly French dictee. Not only was I really good at learning language,…

  • autism,  Education,  family,  IEP,  learning strategies

    The Autism Influence

    It’s sometimes hard for me to separate the autism influence from our lives outside of autism. It always takes some shape or form in my writing. I write about autism on a weekly basis on this blog. Even though my current novel takes place in World War II and has nothing to do with autism, there’s still a character in there who struggles with mental health difficulties and I’m constantly reflecting on our own experiences to help me understand my character’s motivations better. That autism influence is always in the back of my mind. Steve has his own version of the autism influence too, and for him it started with…

  • autism,  Education,  family,  high school,  IEP,  milestones,  motherhood,  siblings and autism,  teen years

    The four year plan

    W is the second child in our family, so it’s really rare (as a parent) to experience something that I haven’t experienced with J. In grade 3, J’s whole class made gingerbread houses before winter break, so I knew that when W hit grade 3, she’d be doing gingerbread houses too. When J started touring with the elementary school choir at the mall and rest homes, I knew when W got to that age, she’d be doing it too. When J graduated from elementary school in a “classic” coming of age ceremony with a field trip to the zoo, followed by a graduation slideshow with cake and lemonade, I knew…

  • anxiety,  autism,  empathy,  high school,  IEP,  motherhood,  teen years

    Some weeks…

    Funny not funny story. Last week and a half has been a little rough. And as I started to write this blog post, I started thinking, hey…last year–at this exact very time–was rough. Last year J had an epic meltdown the day after election day. In fact, he got kicked out of school and I had to bring him home early. And then I remembered, hey…when did I write that post about being in the mid-semester slump? 2 years ago at around this exact time. Guess what happened this week? any guesses? J got kicked out of school for behaviour this Thursday. At this point, I’ve determined he’s an unpredictable predictable…

  • IEP,  learning strategies,  middle school

    Adaptations and Modifications

    It’s been about a month since J’s IEP meeting and I’m really excited about some of the ideas the team came up with. I guess that’s what happens when you get over a dozen people in a room to discuss J. The hard thing about J is that there is no academic setting he really fits into. J is what I call “middle autistic.” If you think of a line graph where “low functioning” is on one side and “high functioning” is on the other, I would put J smack dab in the middle. So where do you put an “in the middle of the spectrum kid” in the public school setting? He would be…