• 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,  special education

    What Happened Wednesday

    Last Monday I wrote about moving slowly into the New Year and how, so far, it had been gentle. Two days later–six days into the New Year–well, that all changed. Wednesday afternoon, there were a lot of words flying around. On my screen, on the radio as I was driving the kids home from school. A lot of government words, a lot of politician’s names, a lot of procedures, all coming out as rapid fire descriptions and questions. Words with a lot of emotion behind them. For those of you who have never sat in the car with J, watched a movie with him, or tried to have any sort…

  • autism,  COVID life,  motherhood,  special education

    We are living a privileged autism experience

    After the events of George Floyd, I feel like our little life events this month have been trivial in the importance of the national dialogue about race and privilege in North America (and across the world) and so I feel like maybe this week’s post should focus on more important voices that need to be heard that haven’t been heard. What I would like to do with this post is recognize our privilege as a white autism experience and share some voices and experiences of people of colour, specifically people of colour with autism. It’s an area of inequality that I should be more aware of, and I’m embarrassed to…

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  • 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…

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  • anxiety,  autism,  Early Intervention,  Education,  high school,  mental health,  middle school,  modifications,  special education

    Violence in the Classroom: From an Autism Mom’s Point of View

    Violence in the classroom has become a really big issue. In Fargo, it’s been in the paper and on the news. And it’s something that’s been happening across the country. Here’s a news clip from a Utah TV station: This is a topic I have really struggled with over the last few years. I have a son who sometimes does those things. I have a daughter who witnesses those things in her classroom or in the hallway. I have teacher friends. My mum was a teacher. I’m a teacher (I’ve taught at the university level as an adjunct and at the preschool, elementary, middle, and high school levels as a…

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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,  cross-country,  learning strategies,  special education,  strategies

    Using the Autism Toolbox to Make XC a Little Easier

    J is the boy in the black and gold Brooks. Arms drooped around his neighbours’ backs. Pieces of masking tape bound around his fingers. The droopy arms and masking tape scream to me “autism,” although they probably don’t to you. I think that’s one of the funny things about autism. I’m always super aware of all the quirky or socially “different” parts of J that I don’t think a lot of people think twice about. J has gotten really good over the last couple of season of “looking like a XC runner.” J goes to practice all by himself now. J takes the bus to meets on his own. J…

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  • autism,  Early Intervention,  sensory processing,  special education

    On Re-Finding Your People

    Tuesday afternoons I sit in the visual therapy waiting room and watch moms give their son or daughter a quick shower of encouragement before their child goes back with their therapist. Almost always there is a sigh of momentary relief. Sometimes they’re alone and they pull out their book or phone and have a peaceful 45 minutes to themselves. Sometimes they’re multi-tasking their book or phone with their other children in the waiting room. Sometimes they’re out the door again to pick up their other children from an activity and ten minutes later they’re back again with another child in tow. It wasn’t until J gave me a very enthusiastic,…

  • autism,  screenings,  special education,  strategies

    Making Peace with the Body You’ve Got

    Maybe it’s my autism parenting experience, maybe it’s my own personal journey, maybe it’s my years of people watching, but I am thoroughly convinced that every single person, regardless of age or gender, has a continuous personal battle to make peace with they body they’ve got. I am 100% confident if I asked everyone I knew the question, “If you could change one thing about your body, what would it be?” every single person would be able to come up with an answer. Height, weight, hair colour, eye colour, physical features like noses and ears and toes and fingers, that sagging mommy pouch you tuck into your pants–I know every…

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