• 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,  high school,  teen years

    An Unexpected Week

    I look back at last week and feel like I’ve had 3 different weeks packed into one. It started last Monday morning with a 2 hour late start for the kids. I should have expected it– J had a really rough Monday. It was the 28th of January and he had kept track that there still hadn’t been a fire drill yet for the month (I think the two hour late start and change of schedule triggered an extra fight/flight response in him). I picked up J a little early from school Monday (because he was absolutely non-functional in the state he was in) and took him to visual that…

  • autism,  Imagine Dragons,  teen years

    Imagine Dragons Love

    Tuesday afternoon I unpacked J’s backpack and I found a newspaper article folded up carefully, tucked inside the side pocket. The article had no note or explanation–no indication who it was from. But it was apparent that whoever tucked it into J’s backpack knew J very well: The backpack article wasn’t the first notice of the new Imagine Dragons album. One of J’s XC coaches was talking to him about the new album when I picked him up after school and the look on J’s face when Coach L told J the news was priceless–in fact, I wasn’t quite sure if J really believed him. The new album came out…

  • autism,  cross-country,  high school,  teen years

    Measurable Success

    Even though J’s XC season is over, he’s had a lot of XC excitement this weekend. Saturday we were able to head out to Jamestown to cheer on the State runners (J’s high school came in 5th at the State level!!!) and yesterday the team had their recognition reception. I always come out of J’s XC recognition reception a little overwhelmed emotionally. I’m not saying that I’m feeling a million different emotions, I’m just feeling a lot of big emotions. I think the biggest feeling I came out with was that of gratitude. I’m so grateful for the kids on J’s team. I’m so grateful for the coaches that mentor…

  • autism,  cross-country,  high school,  teen years

    My kids get more than 17 seconds

    This weekend Steve introduced the kids to one of the most inspirational sports movies of all time–Rudy–and while they both really enjoyed it, W was a little confused as to why Rudy, who had worked so hard at school and at practice, wasn’t ever able to play in a game until the last college game of his senior year. And even then he only got to play for 17 seconds. 17 seconds. After all of the hard work, blood, sweat, and tears of every single practice, Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger  only got to actually play 17 seconds of a real game of college football. After all of the heart and sweat our…

  • autism,  cross-country,  high school,  teen years

    Support Squad

    I talk a lot about J’s XC team and the amazing boys and coaches he gets to hang out with every day. I haven’t really talked about the parents and families of the kids who run XC. They’re pretty amazing too. This Saturday was EDC–where all class A schools in Eastern North Dakota run against each other. It’s a pretty big race, with lots of kids and schools (11 schools I think?). It’s also one of the biggest races for the kids hoping to go to State. The parents of both the boys and girls teams worked really hard behind the scenes to make this meet really special for the…

  • autism,  cross-country,  high school,  milestones,  social skills,  teen years

    16

    Birthdays and autism can be a really rough combination. Birthdays for kids on the spectrum can be a sensory overload circus. (I have years of videos and pictures of J covering his ears and crying at not only his birthday parties, but W’s too.). Milestone birthdays are rough on parents because it’s another one of those reminders of all of the things your kid isn’t doing. When W turned 14 in August, we threw her a masquerade murder mystery party. I even made homemade stuffed shells and bought rosemary rolls from Breadsmith and cheesecake to make the dinner part fancy schmancy. She prepped for that party almost a full month…

  • autism,  family,  high school,  teen years

    Scattered Brain, Scattered Thoughts

    I’m not really sure what to write about for this week’s post. I’m really feeling so many things as my kids gear up for a new school year. I’m ready and I’m not ready, and right now I’m just trying to make it to the finish line (end of summer) or starting line (a new school year, however you choose to look at it). I know I’m not running at full mental capacity–I’m forgetting texts, am working off of two different calendars (one with my general responsibilities, the other with orthodontic appointments, XC meets, XC practice times that switch from one week to the next). My brain is on lock-down…

  • autism,  exercise,  high school,  motherhood,  teen years

    Without a doubt

    Back in April, I blogged a little bit about my anxiety and very real struggle of signing up my autistic son for a new extra-curricular activity. Especially extra-curricular activities where J is the only special needs kid in the room or team. Signing up J for the Sanford Power Summer Weights Class at his high school was a really nerve racking choice for me. Going into it, I really knew nothing about the program. I knew some of J’s XC teammates were signing up for it. I knew the class was run by trainers from Sanford Power alongside some of the high school football coaches and that’s about all I knew. I knew…

  • 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…