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Tuesday
Sep272011

Well, Now They've Done it (part 1of 3)

...... aaaaaaand, here we go.

 

If you read more than just one or two blogs about Autism, you are likely aware of the whole "Self-Advocacy vs Non-Disabled Parent Advocacy Dialogues" series that's been over on The Thinking Person's Guide to Autism for the last week or so.

I honestly have so much to say, about so many aspects of what's transpired, I've been struggling with how to approach this so that it would make sense. There's a lot of noise. I have been reluctant to jump in to it to this point - I am an internet veteran, I was throwing down with people online when Clinton was still in his first term. I am carrying enough virtual battle scars to last me a life-time, I know how these things go. So I've been holding back (because I have managed to learn a thing or two over all these years!), though still watching what has been unfolding.

And it's been difficult to see, to say the least. But something tipped me over the edge today (yesterday? yeah, I have no idea what time/day it is now... :P ) and I stepped in. Certainly not to the extent that I wanted to, in the interests of maintaining some control and decorum. But I did, and so I figured it was time to bring it here.

I realize I am probably sounding incredibly cryptic to those of you who do not know what I am talking about, and I apologize for that. I will link something to you that will give you the scoop, but not just yet - I think that I am going to deal with this as simply as possible, mostly for my own sake in keeping my thoughts organized, by starting at the beginning. Which also means I will be writing more than one post on this.

So I won't prejudice you by posting the aftermath just yet. We'll start where it all began - this post written by Robert Rummel-Hudson, an author, and the father of a little girl who has an extremely rare neurologic disorder.

I read this post. I thought this was a great post, actually. As a parent of a child who has a disability, I could completely relate to the "story" he created to make his point.

If you don't know, here is what happened: though he received a good number of positive responses from people, he was also taken to task somewhat harshly - by a young woman named Zoe, who is autistic. This was what she wrote.

Aside from these two initial posts, there was a good deal of back and forth via comments - and it pretty much deteriorated from there. I encourage you to read both posts, and all of the comments following each. I know this is time consuming, but what I am about to launch in to will be better understood if you do. Particularly the comments on Zoe's blog.

Zoe made a good point about the lack of inclusion in Robert's post, I don't deny this, and, Robert took responsibility for that after he understood that was really at the heart of the matter.

But I will tell you this - most of what she and her supporters said offended me to depths I have never known before. And there we go, I realize that anyone coming here now from TPGA (more on that in the next posts) is going to throw the "ableist" word at me as though I were a cockroach that just landed in their soup.

And if you think that analogy was a bit much? Wait until part three of these posts.

Because apparently, as a non-disabled person who happens to be the parent and primary care-giver of a severely disabled child, I have no right to be offended. By anything. Because I am NOT disabled. See how that works? I am martyred, coddled, given sympathy wherever I go, rainbows just shoot up out of fucking nowhere when I walk, it rains goddamn Skittles on me and everything is fluffy bunnies and unicorns.

Right?

Nowhere, at any time, have I, nor would I, ever presume to know what it's like to be a disabled person in our society. How can I? On this point, I make no arguments, I truly can't know. And I would also never suggest that my life is more difficult than say, Zoe's. I have no idea. But I don't even think about making comparisons like that because it makes no sense to do so and it's wrong. I can only tell you what my experiences are, as Toad's mom.

And as Toadie's mom, I related to and understood Robert's perspective in his post very well - he is the father of a disabled child, what other perspective is he supposed to be writing from??? Did you really think that he meant that ONLY the parents of disabled children should or would be offended by that movie line?? I didn't get that at all. What I read was a man, trying through his words, to explain to others what it's like from where he sits. I did not get at all, that he was saying that the "R" word is really only offensive to these parents. He was trying to use an example. He gave one that made sense, given who HE is. That was all. There was nothing sinister in his writing, nothing underlying it that said, hey, we are more important than YOU, it was simply an attempt to make a point about something that in reality, should offend everyone.

And I guess that's where I also differ from the self-advocates who insist otherwise - this is a matter of human decency and respect, period. Not who is more important when it comes to being offended or advocating or any of it.

When a group of people is being dehumanized, it's wrong. End of story. I don't care if we're talking race, sexual orientation, religion, politics, disabilities, psychiatric disorders, Coke, Pepsi, it doesn't fucking matter. It's not ok, and everyone not only has the right to be offended by it, they should be offended by it.

Am I really being told that I do not have the right to be offended when an ignorant man said that my son should be put in a cage? I am not Josh, so it's not about me, or his brother, it's about him. Of course it's about him - it's ALL about him. But here's the thing: contrary to what many of the autistic self advocates would like to believe, Josh, doesn't. fucking. care. He doesn't. Argue all you want, you're wrong.

He is not cognitively capable of understanding something like that. But I am. And so is Zach. And our lives, revolve around this little boy whom we love deeply, and when you dehumanize him, even though he couldn't give a shit what you've said, those that care about him DO. He is a person, who deserves to be treated with the same respect and consideration as anyone else. Because even though it might not bother him to hear the "R" word, or people making jokes at his expense, or laughing at his Uggs when he wears shorts, or staring at him like he's a freak when he gets loud in public, it makes him vulnerable.

And my job, as his mother is to keep him safe, not only from things he doesn't understand can hurt him, but from people who could hurt him as well.

And when society treats people with cognitive disabilities as somehow less deserving of basic human decency, as is what happens when this kind of humor is "accepted" and routinely used in the mainstream, you put our children and adults who cannot speak or stand up for themselves at tremendous risk both from the public and those who are entrusted with their care. Bullying and brutality are not exclusive to the teen and LGBT communities. There are countless stories and examples of disabled individuals who've died or been severely abused at the hands of others, including those who were supposed to be caring for them - and I'm not talking about parents here. Here's just one http://www.parents.com/blogs/to-the-max/2011/09/15/uncategorized/can-the-word-retard-kill-this-murder-might-convince-you/

 

I am not Josh. Nor am I Zoe, or anyone else with a disability. No, I do not know what it feels like personally to be demeaned like this. I would never want to. I do not diminish the impact this kind of "humor", and I use the term loosely, has on those who are the intended targets. I'm pretty sure it's horrible. And I am very glad that there are disabled self-advocates out there, speaking up, speaking out, and making sure their voices are heard. They are important and should not be ignored. However, it is wrong, in my opinion, to suggest that in a situation where you are talking about both those who can as well as cannot speak for themselves, that certain voices are more important or have more rights, or should be given more credibility than the others.

When you start limiting the "right" someone has to feel something, you cross a line. Just as I may not have the perspective of actually being Josh, autism self-advocates do not have the perspective of being someone who loves him.

Much of my argument is directly related to Toad's inability to speak for himself. And this is something I will go in to in much more depth on in my next post.

The fact of the matter is, this was a well-intended, though perhaps a bit narrow in perspective, post about a much broader issue than someone being offended by the author's being offended, by something that was... offensive.

All voices need to be heard. Some will be louder than others. Some will speak directly from personal experience, some will speak as the only ones who can for someone else. Others, might simply feel that all humans should be treated with basic dignity, and not even be related in any way to a disabled person. We need all of them. Together. To make a difference. There is power in numbers. Sadly, this strange rebuke against non-disabled parents advocating for their children is divisive and only serves to weaken what could be a powerful force - because now we're once again, fighting amongst ourselves (gee, where have we seen this before??? ) over who has more of a right to be offended by something and who should or shouldn't be advocating for those who can't do it for themselves. It's baffling.

I know perfectly well that some voices will be heard over others for a multitude of reasons. But I also know that it's very dangerous to over-generalize. In this situation, where we are talking about something that was agreed to be universally offensive to disabled self-advocates, as well as non-disabled parent advocates, and disabled parent-advocates, why on earth is there an argument at all??? This is what mystifies me. The power to effect change in this situation will come from sheer numbers, and all varieties of people saying, hey asshole movie writer/director/producer, that's NOT funny, it's offensive and dehumanizing and we won't be paying to see anything else you ever do.

 

My 85 cents.

 

This situation between Robert and Zoe over the movie post, led to something else entirely. I alluded to it at the beginning of this post, and I will continue with my thoughts on what has transpired next time. 

 

Thursday
Sep222011

I'm Doing it Wrong

SO. Yesterday I found myself in the rare position of having almost the entire day all to myself.

The boys were with their dad after school, so I had from 8:45am until about 6:30pm... free. Wait, what?! Yes, free time. That many consecutive hours alone have been rare to this point, and hopefully there will be more of this to come, but right now I'll take what I can get.

WHAT SHOULD I DO WITH THIS?!

There are of course, many MANY things I should be doing. But I decided that what I really needed was to take this opportunity to look after myself a little. Someone very wise tells me that I can't be everything that the boys need me to be if I don't take care of myself too. This makes perfect sense of course, but, is harder to embrace in practice than it is in theory.

I think like many parents of high-needs kids, I have a lot of guilt when it comes to this, even though I do know that it's true. Sometimes we just need a little push...

...or a kick.

 

At first I thought I might go to a movie - but the only thing I really want to see right now is Moneyball, and it's not out yet.

"Why don't you go get yourself a massage?" the aforementioned wise person suggests. Hmmm. This is probably a very good idea. Haven't had one in about a year and a half and goodness knows I could use it.

So I called up my favorite day-spa and made an appointment - I even added a facial. Living on the edge, baby, living on the freaking edge.

I was very much looking forward to my afternoon of relaxation. I've been to spas before, had professional massages done, had a couple of facials, I know what to expect.

Or do I ?

 

(Nope. They don't.)

 

My massage was first. I'd booked a 50 minute hot-stone massage. If you've never had one, the masseuse has a collection of super-heated, ultra-smooth stones, that are both placed on you in various spots while the massage is happening, and in their hands to do the massage itself. Basically ultra-hot rocks are run all over your bod. Sounds a bit freaky, doesn't it? Well, it's awesome actually. But you have to know these stones are not just warm, when I say super-heated I'm not joking. White hot. Not everyone is going to like this. Maybe it's just me. ANYWAY, I'm also not a massage novice, I know the drill - for all you professional massage newbies out there, it's generally preferred that you be without attire. Toadie says he's down with that. But yes, naked, though tucked under some blankets, with only the body part being worked on exposed at any given time.

But I'm over the awkwardness of this, I've done this enough times in the past. So I'm on the table, face down in the "put your face in this hole" thing, tucked under the warm blankets and thinking "yes... hot rocks and no demands, let's DO THIS..."  She started with my left leg. Placed a couple of toasty stones on the blanket over my lower back, and got to work. Well, again this might just be something entirely unique to me, but, you know how sometimes, for no reason you can think of, you get hyper-ticklish? Like the kind of ticklish where the slightest touch makes you want to jump out of your skin? Anyone? Bueller? Well, for reasons only my nerve endings and the universe understand, this is what happened to me the second she got going. It was all I could do not to jerk my leg away in hysterical laughter. Which is stupid, because normally I'm not that ticklish. There were a few areas where it was so bad I actually had to grab the table with my hands to keep it under control. I kept thinking, ok, relax, the other leg won't be like this... the arms won't be like this... your back won't be like this....

Of course I was wrong. From head to toe I was a hyper-sensitive live-wire. This was so not relaxing. I had to work really hard not to jerk away and giggle every time she touched me. So now I'm stressing over maintaining my composure which started to overshadow everything she was doing. I've never been this way during a massage before. Of course it didn't help that the massage included my butt. Didn't see that coming, did you? Well, just wait, it gets better.

Yes, again for the uninitiated reader, usually a full body massage includes your derriere. It's a big-ass muscle. (Aw, come on, that's FUNNY). 

I'm annoyed and confused by this whole situation when it's time to turn over on my back. Again with some toasty stones on the blanket over me in various spots... which is nice... and then this happened: she put one right over the nether-lands. Yes, what you're thinking is exactly what I mean. Yes, she did. THE HELL?!? Kinda gave a whole new meaning to the phrase "you're making me hot"... Ok, I did of course have a blanket over me, so it's possible she meant to put it a little higher up. Regardless, that's where it ended up.

It took me a while to get over this and stop freaking out in my head. But eventually I started to actually relax when she moved on my head and neck.

I had just started to drift off a little when my cell phone started ringing.

My cell phone. Is ringing. Shut up phone. SHUT UP. I'm not answering you.

I ignore it but that sound and then the nagging worry over who it was had pierced my brain and effectively threw the whole relaxing thing out the window.

Everything's fine. The boys are with their dad. No one needs me, nothing is wrong, forget about it.

What if something had happened?

STOP IT.

But who WAS it? What if something IS wrong???

My phone starts to ring again. Sigh. "Um, I think I have to answer that... " The nice masseuse hands me my phone.

It's Zach. My anxiety level goes through the roof. "Hey Zach, what's going on, is everything ok?"

"Hey mom, I can't find my blue shirt."

***crickets***

"Mom?"

"... well, that makes two of us, hon, hey listen is that all you needed to tell me?"

"yeah."

 

So back to Def-Con 1.

Also, it was time to move on to the facial.

 

I've had 2 facials before in my life, both within the last 6 years or so. Loved what my skin looked like after both. So, now I'm in a different room, again mostly without clothes - just the funky little wrap-around apron thing - and under blankets. Esthetician girl comes in, and wraps my hair up in a towel and gets to work.

Now, I am claustrophobic. I have known this since college. Not in the classic freak-out-on-crowded-elevator way, that doesn't actually bother me. Because the elevator is moving, and I know things will change as it makes its way to its destination. It's static situations that are a problem for me - if those elevator people were stuffed in to a small space with me where nothing was going to change? Then I'd start to panic. Situations where things appear to be closing in on you, like the inside of an MRI machine or under a car, these are bad.

Apparently, so are facials.

So I'm lying there under the blanket, which unlike the massage one, is tucked tight around me. Tight enough that it took some effort to move a foot or leg. My eyes are closed and sometimes, depending on what she was doing to my face, she would put something over my eyes. This room was colder than the massage room, and my Raynaud's started to flare up in my hands (if you don't know what Raynaud's disease/disorder/phenomenon is, just click on the pretty blue word). I'm sure the fact that I'd just come from having searing hot rocks on me triggered it, but I was freezing. My hands and fingers were numb. Then she set the hot steam up to blow on to my face for part of the treatment. At first I was like oh god YES! It was so warm and even though it was all on my face, was helping to keep me from shivering out of control.

For a few minutes, I was really digging the steam.

And then it started.

I was already pretty nasally congested from being face-down on the massage table. But the steam was making it worse because it was warm. So I'm really stuffy and it's not congestion you move, it's not fluid, it's swollen blood vessels/tissue in the nasal passages, which means it won't go away quickly. I'm pinned to the table with a tight blanket, I have a towel wrapped around my hair, I have something over my eyes to keep them from opening, and, I'm not breathing very well through my nose. I started feeling like I couldn't breathe at all. I knew I was, I could still move enough air through my nose to be just fine, but because it was so warm? I couldn't tell. Couldn't feel air movement at all in my nose. My brain kept telling me to relax, my chest was still moving up and down, I knew that even though I couldn't feel the air, it was just that it was the same temp as inside my nose... but combined with the fact that I was confined by all these other things... I started to completely freak out. In my head. And a little not. I kept turning my head away from the steam for a few seconds to breathe in some cooler air - and that helped, but only for the moment it was happening. I knew I was headed for an embarrassing situation so I just asked her if we could possibly move the steam away from my face a bit, which she did very cheerfully. This lessened the intense panic, but didn't really fix the problem. By this point I was fidgeting so I wouldn't feel frantic about being held so still for so long.

Every time she put something new over my eyes, or pressed down on my neck - facials include your neck and decolletage, which is the fancy French word for the part of your chest below your neck but above your cleavage - to rub something in, I was so close to losing it. The insane part is, I KNEW I was ok. My brain knew I was breathing and that Miss Congeniality wasn't a homicidal facialist. I knew all this. But whatever it is that causes phobias is crazy, it just defies all reason. I needed my eyes open, I needed to be able to move freely, I needed to be able to FEEL the air I was breathing...

So it was a struggle to say the least, not to have a complete panic attack and claw Blondie's eyes out during my facial.

I was so glad when it was all over (the facial took 70 minutes, by the way). I was exhausted and stuffed-up and freezing and my head hurt. Probably the sensible part of brain trying to escape the ridiculous irrational part.

 

My relaxing afternoon at the spa turned me in to a poster-child for Xanax.  What. The. Fuck.

 

On a positive note, the skin on my face looks amazing. So I've got that going for me...

Tuesday
Sep132011

As I Suspected... 

... best start to a school year E V E R.  Everrr.  Eh. Ver.

 

Need proof?

Does this look like the face of a little boy who is having a tough time... ?

 

    

I think not.

It's also very silly, he can look really goofy when he's laughing a lot, however, I don't care - it's SO hard to get pictures of him smiling and laughing even though he does it quite often, so I'LL TAKE IT. That's right, big, silly, toothy grin and everything.  :)

This, by the way, is the picture his teacher took of him to put over his coat hook. When I went to pick him up the other day she pulled me in to see it and asked if I wanted a copy.

Um, YES?!

So far, so good. Will give it some time before we see how the i-Pad at school thing is working-out.

Ok, his nose looks huge in that picture. It's not that big. Really. Honestly, I just was in love with the fact that he was so obviously happy and in a great mood when they took this, says a lot for this team.

 

So, have yourself a little chuckle at Mr Smiley Head up there and stay tuned! 

 

 

Monday
Sep052011

TLC - The P.T. Barnum of Cable Television

Freak-shows.

Throughout history, differences in the human condition have been fodder for exploitation and entertainment, dating back to the 16th century with street "performances" to entertain the masses. In 1850 you could hand a man a quarter or less and gain admission to P.T. Barnum's "Great Travelling Museum, Menagerie, Caravan and Hippodrome" where you could look on in fear, wonder, amazement, or horror at a bearded lady, "Siamese" twins, a three-legged boy, "Fijian cannibals", giants, midgets (as they were referred to then), or any other number of human "oddities".

This phenomenon seemingly reached its peak in the mid-to-late 19th century, when there were over 100 such side-shows traveling with circuses and fairs around the country.

As we moved onward in to the 20th century however, our knowledge, understanding, acceptance and compassion grew, and shows like these disappeared from the mainstream. We have evolved and we look back on these cruel and demeaning displays with pity for the ignorance collectively suffered and sadness for those used and abused because of their differences.

Or have we?

I don't believe we have.

We're just better at making it look acceptable now.

These days all you have to do is sit in the comfort of your own living room and turn on the tv. But while the venue may be different, what's happening is exactly the same as if you handed a man a quarter to see what's behind that curtain. If you watch TLC, that is. 

TLC. Formerly The Learning Channel, they actually used to show educational programming. But when it was clear that was not where the money was, they changed their name and moved in a more lucrative direction. Lucrative, and unsettling.

Over the last decade TLC has essentially become a modern-day P.T. Barnum. While it can be argued that just about every channel/network out there offer some questionable programs (consider this a shout-out to MTV... ), TLC has cultivated a programming line-up that would rival any side-show of the past.

A current list of some of their shows:

- My Strange Addiction

- 19 Kids and Counting

- Sister Wives

- Hoarding - Buried Alive

- I Didn't Know I was Pregnant

- The Little Couple and Little People, Big World

- Toddlers and Tiaras

 

Let's look at that list. A recent episode of My Strange Addiction featured a woman who was obsessed with carrying around the ashes of her dead husband... and eating them. Then we have procreation run-amok and polygamy. People whose compulsion to collect so much of something that they endanger their own lives. Women who give birth without having any clue they were even pregnant. Shows about... that's right... little people. Sound familiar?

Don't misunderstand what I'm saying. I am not calling any of the people on these shows "freaks". What I am saying, is that their differences, whatever they may be, are being exploited for the purpose of entertaining others. Of course these days, with the exception of the children, being shown like this is the choice of those we are watching. This was sometimes the case during the heyday of the circus side-shows as well, where many of the adult "exhibits" displayed themselves willingly, in order to earn money. Seems to me, this is not much different today.

But let's please not forget the children. Who truly have no voices here except what their parents or guardians have chosen for them. How is being put front and center on a tv show that people watch because they think you are at best, a curiosity, any different than the parents that sold or contracted their children to the freak-shows of old?

The jewel in this dirty crown (pun entirely intended) without question is the abhorrent and irresponsible Toddlers and Tiaras. This show has been in the news quite a bit recently, and for good reason. Here, TLC shines a big, blinding spotlight on the world of "beauty pageants" for little girls. And by little, I mean as young as a year old, and by beauty, I mean if you consider spray-tans, fake teeth, false eyelashes, more make-up than Ru Paul in full drag, hair that defies any explanation and outfits more suited to 18 yr-old cheerleaders or Vegas show girls, beautiful, on babies and elementary school-aged girls.

I could rant for days on how horrifyingly wrong this is. Why these pageants are legal is frankly a mystery. The exploitation is rampant and obvious - for all of the supporters out there, all you have to do is watch a few episodes with Eden Wood's mother in them and you won't be able to get away from it. For all who cry "scholarship money!", I'd like to point out, that at least from what they have shown, cash is handed over to the winners of these pageants, not checks made out to trust, cash. Ms. Wood said right on camera that she was just waiting for "Hollywood" to call to offer her 6 year old a 2 million dollar contract so that she could then go out an buy a big house in L.A. What parent says to their 6 year old "it's all on YOU, all the money, all the work, it's all on YOU." ? How can you say "well, when we first did her make up we were really bothered by it because she looked 17 and she's only 4, but, well, you get used to it, it's just what you have to do." ? Actually, no, it's not. No one is putting a gun to your head and forcing you to do this to your children.

Yes, I understand that there are exceptions, and that there are likely parents of these girls who are truly trying to earn some money to help with their future education. But people, giving your 4 year old fake boobs, a hot-pink, skin tight outfit, making her up to look like a bad Barbie on What Not to Wear, filling her full of coffee and Pixie Stix, and making her believe that she is not beautiful unless every single thing about her is fake... is not the way to do it. The body image issues these very little girls already have, just make me sick to my stomach.

And while TLC may not be forcing anyone to do anything, they are certainly providing the incentive/motivation/vehicle for this to continue and possibly flourish. The chance to "be on tv" and "get famous" are powerful drugs to those hungry for any kind of attention, even if it's negative.

 

Human nature will not change. I'm not writing this to judge anyone who watches these types of shows, I understand that when given the option to observe unusual people or circumstances, we will. We will always be drawn to things that are different, things we find strange, outrageous, bewildering, amazing, in both good and bad ways. Whether it's because we are curious, afraid or confused and want to understand, or because knowingly or not, we feel better about ourselves when we see others in situations we deem difficult, or, we actually find the differences of others entertaining somehow, there will always be an audience for the freak-show.

TLC has simply chosen to capitalize on this.

Ol' P.T. would be proud.

 

I think about this a lot because I have Josh. My son. My Toadie, who, even in this day and age, prompted a man to say that he should be in a cage.

I know that people look at us when he's acting out. Even when he's not. Because he's different. Back in the day, he probably would have been abandoned or sold to some freak-show purveyor. This makes me die a little inside.

So am I being too hard on TLC? Am I over reacting? Come on now, it's just tv... right?

Right?

 

You tell me.

 

Friday
Aug262011

It's That Time Again

First, apologies for the infrequency of posts over the summer, especially the last couple of weeks. Those who consider themselves blogging experts advise us not to apologize for not posting, the premise being that if you don't have anything to write about, then don't write. However, all manner of professionals aside, there is always a noticeable decrease in readers when there are fewer posts, so I always feel like people are giving up because they keep checking and there's nothing new... which makes me want to say I'm sorry!

 

Moving along...

 

Well, knock me over with a feather, September is so close now you could spit on it - but don't, because spitting is gross, also, what did September ever do to you??? Inappropriate expressions aside, we all know what this means: A new school year is upon us (for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, at least!).

The thing about this year? For the first time in quite a long time, in fact, since Toad was in his pre-K years, there will be no transitions to worry about.

And I mean that in every sense. On September 6th, Toad will be heading back to the same school he was at last year, with the same teacher and even the same para-educators he had last year as well as during his summer program.

If you've been reading with me over the last year, you will know that I love this school (Toad started middle school last Fall), his teacher, and all his aides, they've been phenomenal. So this is a pretty nice little gift. And when I say "pretty nice" I mean really insanely awesome.

There's always been something. New classroom, new teacher. Different paras. New school, all new staff. New district. New school. Same school, 6 different teachers, 2 classrooms, and several paras, etc etc.

Not this year. The most amazing thing is that he will have had this crew since the summer of last year, and if we're lucky, will have them again for summer session next year. That will be the longest, consistent run of educators he's ever had. Of course next Fall he will be heading to Junior High.... so let's stay focused on this year so I don't have to panic about that just yet.

The biggest change for Toadie this year will be the addition of the iPad in to his program at school. Which is also incredibly fantastic. At his IEP back in May, he was there with me (as usual) and had his iPad with him (also, as usual). The team immediately started asking me questions about his use of it, both with regard to his ability but also what he likes to do with it/on it. They mentioned that they could have one in the classroom this year, and that his speech therapist could also likely get one, and maybe we should incorporate it in to his IEP... ummm, YES?! So we discussed the types of applications they were thinking would be helpful in the classroom, as well as in Speech - facilitative apps (like a PECS app), educational apps, and motivators. They were very enthusiastic, dare I say, excited about adding it in to his program.

SO AM I!

He doesn't even have to use his for this, the district will be providing one to his teacher as well as his Speech therapist. This is very good, we won't have to worry about potential loss or damage because it's going to school with him.

I am really optimistic about the potential for this at school. He loves his iPad so much, I think this could be a big boost academically/functionally.

The only issue is that I think I will have to get him a new iPad of his own. The one he has does not have a large enough memory capacity for the apps/programs they will be using at school, and part of the plan is that I am to work with him at home on them as well. I know, First World Problems, get out the tiny violins, my son's iPad doesn't have enough memory, blah blah blah. I guess that's the point of this post - if the only thing I have to worry about when it comes to sending Toadie back to school this Fall is how to work that out??

I'll take it.

After years and years of anxiety, fear, stress, frustration, you name the unhealthy emotion, the fact that I am basically getting a pass on all that this year is a real blessing. There are plenty of other stressful things going on to make up for it, don't worry, it's not like I'm suddenly going to start sleeping and have peace of mind or anything outrageous like that.

But Toad heading back to school isn't threatening to topple the mountain this year.

 

So there's that.