• 18+,  autism,  family,  life skills,  motherhood,  post high school,  siblings and autism

    Two of Us

    We’re still here, and I know it’s been a while. The last two months have been long. We’ve had a wicked winter. I think it’s been the coldest since we’ve moved here–almost 14 years ago. Between January and February, we’ve had 5 snow days and one late start. The stomach flu ran its course through our family in mid-February, starting with Steve, and hitting every single member of our family every 48 hours like clockwork. Then, after a short reprieve, Steve, W, and I came down with a head cold that lasted for a week and a half. We took all the COVID tests. Nope, no COVID. And then there’s…

  • 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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  • autism,  COVID life,  family,  motherhood,  post high school

    With all the people

    Saturday was the Fargo Marathon. For weeks I had gone back and forth whether or not I should sign up J for the 10K. J’s been wanting to do the 10K forever, well, at least since the Fargo Marathon events were cancelled in 2020. Speaking of the 2020 Fargo Marathon… If you were around reading this blog last year at this time, you’ll remember that I was struggling to decide if I was going to go ahead and run my first marathon scheduled for late August of last year. I had been training since January, and was supposed to run it in May 2020. Then, of course, it was cancelled,…

  • autism,  COVID life,  mental health,  motherhood,  post high school

    Little paper trails

    I began my personal paper trail a few months shy of 16 years old. I got my first passport in June of 1996, and on August 5 of that year (I still have the original immigration visa stamp in that passport) my mom, sister, and I moved to the States to join my dad in Nebraska where he had started his new job a few months earlier. I remember sitting in the Coutts/Sweetgrass Border Patrol Building which straddles the border of Alberta and Montana where Customs officers scoured over the paperwork my mom had filled out for me and my sister. The room was small. Wood paneling. There was a…

  • 18+,  autism,  milestones,  post high school

    Fledglings

    I thought watching J’s friends go off to college would be the hardest part of the new school year. I’m not saying watching J’s friends spread their wings isn’t hard–it definitely is. Watching J’s emotional ups and downs the half hour before J and C ran their last run together before C went out to college definitely pulled on this momma’s heart strings a bit. J will ask every once in a while when it’s his turn for college and then tells me he wants to go too. When I ask him what his plans are for going to college, J responds a little sadly and very truthfully, “I don’t…

  • autism,  COVID life,  cross-country,  family,  high school,  milestones,  motherhood,  post high school

    18

    I’ve had little reminders in the last few months that we’ve been approaching a big milestone in J’s life. He has a little wispy moustache and patchy sideburns that need a shave oh-so-badly but at the same time still don’t quite warrant a strict daily shave routine. We get postcards in the mail from universities and colleges around the state of North Dakota addressed to J. We had J’s senior pictures taken a few weeks ago. We’ve also hired a lawyer to work on the paperwork for guardianship, rushed to get J’s non-driver’s license ID before he turns 18 (after 18, he has to show proof of residence with things…

  • 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…

  • anxiety,  autism,  post high school,  post secondary autism,  reading,  reading comprehension,  teen years

    2020

    I’m not into numbers like J, but 2020 is going to be an interesting year for our Beck family. And I’m trying to keep my 2020 outlook on my family because the year’s barely started and between the Australian fires and the Iran stuff happening (my sister lives in Saudi Arabia, so I’m always nervous when stuff happens out there) there’s some really disheartening things happening in the world right now and we’re only six days into the new year. So… We’re heading into that stretch of the “end of childhood and into adulthood” with J, which is equal parts terrifying and exiting. In May, he’ll be finishing grade 11.…

  • 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,  Education,  motherhood,  post high school

    J is now 17

    It’s freaking me out a little bit, because that question I’ve gotten from so many people for years, YEARS (like when he was 5 with a freshly official autism diagnosis) of “what do you expect his life to be like as an adult” is just one year away. I’ve had the luxury (luxury? can that exist with an autism diagnosis?) of putting that question off for years because most days we’re just trying to figure out what the next few hours are going to look like. But October 5 has come and gone and here we are! Yes, I know that “adult” is a loaded word (when is one truly…