• 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…

  • autism,  high school,  motherhood,  siblings and autism

    Friday afternoon

    Friday afternoon, while W and I were waiting for J to get out of XC practice, a reporter came up to our car with her microphone and camera. “Can I talk to you two about the incident at school this afternoon?” W leaned over to me and said, “What incident?” At around 4:15 that afternoon, I received an call from the kids’ principal, relaying that a teacher had suspected a student to have been under the influence of marijuana. Upon further investigation with this student, they discovered that the student was sober–however they also found the student had brought an unloaded gun to school. The school’s student resource officer was…

  • anxiety,  autism,  family,  mental health,  motherhood,  siblings and autism,  teen years

    Trying to protect my kids’ sanity

    Eleven days of school. We’ve had eleven days of the 2019/2020 school year. It feels as if it’s been an eternity. J has struggled, struggled oh so much these past eleven days. We have tried, what feels like, a million different strategies to put his mind at peace over the fire drill. Nothing has worked. The anxiety for August’s monthly drill had been building since his first XC meet, (August 24) and last week the anticipation for the end of the calendar month built up so much that he ran out of the school with severe panic Wednesday. I sat with him the morning of the drill Thursday. Friday, after…

  • Education,  family,  high school,  mental health,  siblings and autism,  teen years

    Golden Students

    Two weeks ago, W and I were sitting at the kitchen table, talking through her AP Human Geography Packet answers. She’s been struggling to keep her grades up in that class, so Steve and I have been doing a little more intervention. We’ve been monitoring her homework in that class. We never, ever monitor her homework. But this is a “college” class, and will count for “college credit” if she passes the AP exam. It will also permanently affect her transcript when she applies for college, so we decided we better see what’s going on. Our first strategy? having her read her homework responses to us and talking through them…

  • autism,  family,  motherhood,  siblings and autism

    The Right One

    This post was supposed to be about Monday night’s trip up to Crookston, Minnesota to watch Temple Grandin speak but that will have to be next week’s post because something else has hijacked our week. We brought a dog home. Everyone in this family has been wanting a dog ever since we had to put Fred down (you can read about that here). Everyone, that is, except for Steve. For a year and a half, the kids and I have been begging Steve for a new dog. Finally, in December, Steve agreed to one and we surprised the kids with this card on Christmas letting them know we could start…

  • Education,  family,  high school,  siblings and autism

    All hands on deck

    This week was “all hands on deck” and by Tuesday night we very quickly realized that we were in desperate need of more hands. This was W’s first experience with finals, and to get her through the week took as much mental muster for me as it did when I worked with J (although in very different ways). W, on her own, got up at 6 am every morning to study for the finals scheduled for that particular day and didn’t go to bed until 10 pm each night. She was very stressed out (I think partly because she didn’t know what to expect and partly because “everything from now…

  • autism,  high school,  motherhood,  siblings and autism,  teen years

    When Life Will Be Different from Now

    In the quick moments we had with my uncle and cousin after our Hawaii trip (they came through from Ontario and stopped for a visit on their way to Vancouver), Steve helped pack W up again for her trip to International Music Camp in the Peace Gardens. IMC was W’s first time at a co-ed camp with kids ranging from middle school to high school. She wanted to go last year, but I was a little nervous. This year I felt more comfortable about it.   My Uncle and cousin were out the door at 7am Sunday, and our friends the Wagners graciously picked up W at 8:30 and drove…

  • anxiety,  Early Intervention,  family,  motherhood,  siblings and autism,  teen years

    Drops in the bucket

    It was raining and I had one preschooler to get from the parking lot to the school. The toddler had to come along too, because you can’t leave toddlers in the car by themselves. Toddlers and preschoolers don’t like you when it’s raining and you’re in a hurry. They either lift up their feet and execute very exaggerated, enthusiastic stomps in the middle of a puddle sending water up their legs, pants, diaper, and everyone else in close proximity, (which is you because you’re holding their hand trying to lead them away from all the water hazards in the parking lot), or they stand petrified in the middle of the…

  • autism,  motherhood,  siblings and autism,  teen years

    The Beck Comedy Show

    May is here and it’s the time of year where I feel like I’m slowly losing my mind (more than usual). I’m frantically trying to get my projects in a spot ready for the summer so I can (hopefully) get away with an hour or two of work a day instead of the six hours I’m used to. I’m trying desperately to keep track of all of the choir, orchestra, and (sometimes conflicting) track meets. We’ve got some other random things going on too: J and W need passports for our trip this summer, we’re getting J assessed for his visual processing, we’ve got routine dr’s appointments, a checkup on…

  • autism,  empathy,  siblings and autism

    Autism Doesn’t Exist in a Vacuum

    There have been very few moments where J and W haven’t shared the same space. They’re 22 months apart, and in the early days, it felt like I had twins. Because of J’s developmental delays and W’s precociousness, they moved in the same sphere. We had teachers and speech therapists in our house weekly, and while the adults struggled to engage J and keep him attentive, W sat at the table, ready to learn, the wheels turning. W attended J’s early intervention preschool as a peer model, pre-screened to meet requirements of academic readiness and the ability to have compassion for children with special needs. She moved around the preschool…