• anxiety,  autism,  track

    Let’s play a game

    Let’s play a game. I’m going to give you a list of dates for J’s track meets with his race times this season, and you tell me if you can spot the trend. There’s a significant trend going on here. You ready? 3/23/19 1600 M= 7:13 3/29/19 1500 M= 6:18 4/16/19 1600 M= 6:44.41 4/22/19 1600 M= 7:16.09 4/25/19 1600 M= 7:00.54 This may be a little unfair, especially if you don’t have experience with long distance track, so I’ll give you some hints. That 1500 m time? If you put it into a pace calculator, it comes out to 6:46 per mile (1600m). So let’s try this again, comparing…

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

    Still behind, but still moving forward

    Wednesday afternoon before track practice, a reporter and a photographer from the local paper met with J to ask him a few questions and take a few pictures for a story featuring J, his autism, and his running experience. I wasn’t sure how it was going to go. J’s not much of a talker–at least a talker that stays on topic. J and the reporter met for about 20 minutes and it was a bit of a struggle–J couldn’t give him any great quotes to use for his story–but boy, J is a million times better at small talk than he used to be. I don’t get to watch him…

  • 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,  motherhood

    Timing is everything

    This winter in Fargo has been rough. We’ve been enduring headlines like this for the past three months: Winter storm to bring snow, colder weather after Christmas, With up to 15 inches of snow expected, Fargo-Moorhead prepares for winter storm, Ground blizzard possible in Fargo-Moorhead area on Wednesday, Thursday; windchill could hit -40, Fargo likely to break February snowfall record set 40 years ago. On March 7 we hit 59 consecutive days of weather below freezing. Contrary to what most people might think, this isn’t a typical Fargo winter. Yes, Fargo gets extreme cold and snow, but we get days and weeks of extreme cold and snow, not months and…

  • anxiety,  autism,  mental health,  track

    Sometimes you don’t deserve a Gatorade

    When I saw J writing the word “unicorn” over and over in the air as he ran each lap of his 1600 m race last week I wasn’t happy. I know most spectators didn’t catch J’s “air cursive,” but Steve and I sure did. What most spectators saw was J smiling and laughing each time he rounded the track. It looked like he was having a good time. And that was the problem. J was having a good time–not being a part of the race. I’m sure if anyone heard me chew out J post-race and tell him he didn’t earn his Gatorade (which he ALWAYS does after a race)…

  • autism,  teen years,  travel

    New York Trip Part 2: Autism and the City

    This whole trip had me thinking: What if we lived in New York City? How would J function living in such a busy, overstimulating place? I know there’s got to be autistic children and adults who live and function in New York every single day. Where are they? And how do they do it? New York City is definitely NOT disability friendly (I don’t know how someone in a wheelchair could use the subway system or get into any of the little or shops or restaurants we walked by). It’s busy, it’s fast, and totally unpredictable. And those things are hard to navigate when you have a disability. 1. The…

  • anxiety,  autism,  family,  travel

    New York Trip Part 1: If we can make it there, we’ll make it anywhere

    I feel like Sinatra’s words couldn’t be more appropriate for today’s blog post—in the most literal sense. When we started our Spring(ish) Break: New York Tour we knew there’d be some hurdles to navigate. Steve chose New York as our spring break destination months ago and we knew that despite the hurdles, there were things working in our favour. Steve’s sister Heather lives in New Jersey, just an hour’s train ride into the city. Steve and I both have been to New York before and we figured we’d be able to pick out some things our kids would enjoy seeing. But still we anticipated a few hiccups and knew with…

  • autism,  Early Intervention,  Education,  handwriting,  motherhood

    When he was little

    When he was little he used to throw tantrums all the time. I have the scars on my hands to prove it. When we’d leave a store out of the “wrong door,” I’d try to pick him up off the ground and somehow he’d find a way to dig his nails into my hands and wrists to show his protest. I’d have bruises on my shins. Strands of my hair in his fists. That was life with an autistic little. Any excursion outside of the house was an enormous—catastrophic—disruption for both of us. I hated that he barely spoke. He would point and grunt even though he had the words…

  • autism,  family,  mental health

    #mood

    Give me a bag of donuts like the one little W is holding and I might make it a few more weeks in this weather. I’ve been trying really hard–really really hard–not to complain about these last few weeks of winter. One of my pet peeves is when people complain about cold weather. Maybe it’s the Canadian in me but I find it slightly offensive when people say, “I hate winter. I could never live in a cold place.” One of my biggest pet peeves is when we’re visiting friends or family outside of North Dakota and people find out we’re from Fargo and the first thing they say is,…

  • 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…