• 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…

  • 18+,  autism,  empathy,  middle school,  motherhood,  strategies

    How to help

    In early July, just a day or two after we had gotten back to Fargo from a visit with my mom, J and I were at the 4-way stop on the corner of 25th Ave N and 10th Street N when a car suddenly rear-ended us–twice. Then, just as I looked up in the rearview mirror, the silver sedan gunned it in reverse about half a block. I got out of the car (which probably wasn’t the smartest idea) and started motioning and yelling at the driver to pull over so we could exchange information. I knew in my gut she wasn’t coming back, so I memorized the crap out…

  • 18+,  anxiety,  autism,  home strategies,  strategies

    New Stories

    Confession: I don’t feel qualified to do this kind of parenting. I don’t know if I’ve ever been really qualified to do any kind of parenting–but this phase in life is just strange. I’m not sure how to help J navigate the “neurotypical emerging adult world” because “neurotypical adult world” isn’t made for people who don’t fit the “neurotypical world.” I’ve also been around long enough to know that the “neurotypical world” is kind of a sham: you graduate high school, you go to university, you get a job, you get married, you buy a house, you have kids, you retire. What “neurotypical world” doesn’t tell you is that you…

  • 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…

    Comments Off on Using the Autism Toolbox to Make XC a Little Easier
  • autism,  helps,  home strategies,  math,  strategies

    Reality VS Perception

      One of my professor friends posted this picture on facebook the other day with the caption:  “For my friends in academe.” Every teacher I know feels the same way about the summer “decline.” Once the fourth of July comes around it seems like the first day of school is around the corner, which means all of my grand ideas for working with J hit a reality check. I realize that I haven’t come even close to doing all of the “catch up” things I’ve planned with him. This time around, I haven’t been close to even starting half of the things on my list: summer running, J’s weight training…

  • 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…

    Comments Off on Making Peace with the Body You’ve Got
  • autism,  Education,  helps,  high school,  home strategies,  learning strategies,  math,  sensory processing,  special education,  strategies

    Two Incredible Surprises that Emerged from Finals Week

    Like all things autism, the strategies for finals week were thought out long in advance. Back in December, J’s teachers sent home various forms of “study guides” the last few days before break so we could get a head start on studying for January finals, and we took FULL advantage of that. Over the break, J and I read all the short stories again. I made DOZENS of flash cards for English vocab, Foods vocab. I made picture cards for the short stories and we worked on those every single day of the break. No rest for the wicked, I guess. When J returned after the break, J’s special ed…

    Comments Off on Two Incredible Surprises that Emerged from Finals Week
  • anxiety,  autism,  cross-country,  high school,  motherhood,  strategies,  travel

    Deception, Manipulation, and Bribery

    Willmar. We’ve avoided talking about this race all season. When J first saw the race schedule for the year, he immediately had a meltdown when he saw Willmar, MN listed. “I’m not going there! I am NOT running in Willmar!” The anxiety runs strong in this one. I knew what this full-on panic attack in my living room was about–or at least I had a hunch. He couldn’t articulate it exactly to me–he was that worked up–but I knew it had to do with a number phobia. Specifically an exit number or mile marker. J has catalogued every exit number in every single state we’ve driven through and locked that…

  • anxiety,  autism,  cross-country,  high school,  mental health,  strategies,  teen years

    Glitches vs Emergencies

      When the week started, I knew what this post was going to be about. It was going to be about the unexpected things–things for which J has a hard time deciphering the best appropriate reaction. Because of J’s severe anxiety, his brain registers all “unexpected and disruptive things” as something worthy of an emergency type response (aka meltdown). Last week I wrote about how that gets better over time–and it definitely has. But this week had some unexpected and disruptive elements to it that J didn’t appreciate, (and didn’t always respond to in the best way). Still, he’s had worse responses, and we did finish the week with some…

  • autism,  Education,  home strategies,  math,  middle school,  modifications,  strategies,  study skills

    The Virtues of Algebra

    J’s academic strength has always been math. It has been his “language”—the one he has always understood the best ever since he was a toddler.  Math is predictable, math is rote calculation, math is fact families. It’s predictable. 3X4 always equals 12. He has always been phenomenal at it. And then came Algebra in middle school math, and all of a sudden, J was no longer good at math. This type of math requires decisions. You need to look at an equation and decide what like terms need to be combined. You need to be able to look at the equation and figure out how to get x by itself.…