Saturday, October 18, 2008

Just sayin'

I can hardly wait for the series of ads about the word "retard." Mean is such a huge part of human culture and experience. Want to solve some global problems? Start with using respectful and appropriate language. Be specific and clear. Randomly insulting others to make your point only displays your own ignorance and lack of language fluency. Don't like the little chef figure? It's dumb, it's ugly, it's weird to you. Say that. "Look at that chef, man- it's so stupid! Those pants are too wild! Check it out!"

Being disrespectful is just that. All we need is a little Golden Rule: treat others as you would want to be treated. This shouldn't be a revolutionary concept in human society anymore- it is thousands of years old now.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Bloggie Love

To my great surprise and delight, abfh gave me a beautiful new award! Surprised, because we often go head-to-head on important issues, delighted because I always learn something new when we do.

Now I get to pass this on to my eclectic taste in blogs.

First and foremost, this absolutely must go to Maddy at Whitterer on Autism, always good for a new insight into life with people who think about the world in a very different way from you do- and live in the same house. And not just the autistic people. I also recommend her blog Sandwiched Genes, which includes more of the old-style Maddy posts about conversations in her house, as if you were a fly on the wall. I'd get swatted, of course, because the room would hear me giggling.

This also must go to Stimey at Stimeyland, who embiggens us all. One of these days I'm getting up there for a playdate, Stimey. Really. I think our kids would have a blast. Discover her adventures in having sons, with and without autism.

Here is to Miss Kitty at Educated and Poor, and her adventures in academia. Miss Kitty taught an awesome class about country music over the summer- how cool is that for a comp lit prof? Better yet, she has a chicken named Myrtle May, and lots and lots of kitties at the Happy Kitty Cottage!

Please go visit Ambulance Driver at A Day In the Life of an Ambulance Driver. The evil Sumdood lurks in the corners of a world of coffee, midnight ambulance runs, hurricanes, and a beautiful little girl named KatyBeth. AD addresses issues of entitlement, disability, compassion, and trying to make sense of complete nonsense in the medical world.

One of the new blogs I'm following- and finding really interesting- is Jen at I'm Going Coconuts. I'm kind of lurking there, but I think it is worth a look at her life with her beautiful children, including a child with Asperger's Syndrome. She's starting to navigate through the special ed world.

Here's one for Kristina at Autism Vox, where we discover the larger issues of disability rights and experience, combined with personal notes abotu her family and experience close-at-hand with autism.

And then everybody ought to go say hello to kristi at Autism, Blessings, Challenges her her wonderful TC. It's a straight forward blog about day-to-day living in a world that includes autism.

abfh already awarded it to Niksmom at Maternal Instincts, but I thought I'd let her know I'd give it to her, too, But it doesnt' count to give it to somebody who already just got it, right?

There are a few other blogs I could pass this to, but most of them don't care about awards and stuff, and I'm only supposed to give seven, and wow, this was hard to choose. Thanks everybody for your fabulous blogs and insights!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Why it isn't funny

Club 166 has drawn our attention to an offensive skit put on by Saturday Night Live, and now showcased on NBC's website. The fact that people find this funny is very disturbing. This isn't laughing with someone (such as The Birdcage might be to the gay community). This SNL skit is nothing but pure mean. 100% pure mean. If you think something this mean is funny, all I can say is, wait until this kind of meanness is directed at you.

Even though Joey stayed home from school today with his cough, we went ahead and had OT. It's amazing how much work my boys have done in the last few years. Andy's OT saw us there, so she fetched the results from his latest eval and sat down with me to look at it. He's gone from moderate deficits in motor control and sensory integration, to being fully functional in the classroom and displaying normal-range motor skills in our year of OT. We have a number of strategies for dealing with the remaining sensory issues. We are considering having him in a group OT setting over the summer, but for all intents and purposes, he's discharged. How's them apples?

Around the corner came a friend of ours from school. His mom is big in the disability community around here. He's in middle school now. He's come a long way; he asks and answers questions now, even though his speech pattern consists of rises and falls of inflection that give his speech and eerie, sing-song sound, he does speak with good control of language. He flapped his hands happily to see his mom in the waiting room. He had come out to get some water, and the OT aide came with him to guide him over to the sink, where he got his own water, though it took some prompting and a few tries. A sing-song stream of talk on his favorite subject accompanied the process, then stopped abruptly when it was time to return to the session.

I thought of that SNL skit, and realized, with a deep sense of grief and anger, that people who think that skit is funny, probably will think this child is funny. And stupid. And not worth knowing.

And how wrong they are. The child has problems with social behavior and cues, but his ability to read and do math are amazing. Listening to his knowledge on his favorite topics is like listening to a living dissertation. He tells jokes- good ones. He has his own way of doing things, many very inventive ways of getting around his own motor skill difficulties. He's a good, smart, hard-working kid. To think of him as the butt of jokes because of his challenges just makes me see red.

Joey comes out, and I know he will also be facing those people who think mean is funny. He tilts his head, smiling as he jogs in a tight circle while his OT tells me about the session. He shows me the pumpkin he drew, a beautiful orange jack-o-lantern, with "Jack-o-lantern" written in his blocky letters on the back. I have a first grader who can spell "headphones" and "smudge" and "cheeseburger", who can read on a third-grade level, who can add three numbers together- but he is still considered by some people to be a joke. Something to be scorned, laughed at, put down.

Then they tell me to "get over it."

I don't think so.

Wordless Wednesday (On Thursday- oops): Craft Project

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

What would you want to do?

So Joey comes home, and Andy is at Grandma's. He can do anything he wants. I make some suggestions, but finally ask: what do you want to do?

And what he wants to do is sit on the comfy couch with goldfish pretzels and 7-Up, wearing Daddy's hat, watching A Charlie Brown Christmas.

Ah, the comforts of home.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Homework strategies

Now, granted, Joey has a cough and isn't tippy-top, but why does homework time have to be a disaster?

All year, there has been nary a word of homework. This week? We have three worksheets, each with attached reading, to complete tonight. So to the kitchen table we go!

I set the first sheet in front of him- a paragraph on sea turtles, with a half-page of fill-in-the-blank questions. We've been doing these kinds of sheets on our own- we did one on insects and one on spiders while visiting the Bug Box, and we just did one on bats last week. No problems. But now that it is an actual assignment?

Screaming. Crying. Gnashing of teeth. He read the paragraph. Then he started putting random words into the blanks, with his old fist grip and the worst handwriting I've seen him produce in months. What the...?

I finally gave up and sent him to sit in his room (and hopefully calm down and rest a little), and his dad is wrestling with the worksheets now. Why is it such a big deal that the sheets are for school, rather than for me? Am I going to have to set up a homework cubicle?


Monday, October 13, 2008

A New Story

For bedtime, we often read a story, and lately, Andy and I have been making up a story about T-Rex and the Blue Lizard. The story usually begins, "Once Upon a Time, T-Rex Andy was stomping through the woods..." and then we have Mommy make up a little adventure, then Andy takes up the thread (when I say, "The End", Andy then says, "Then..." and starts his own story). Joey can hear us doing this in Andy's room while he is having his own ritual in his own room with JoeyAndyDad.

Joey decided tonight that he wanted to make up a story, too.

With a little help from JoeyAndyDad, Joey made up his own story. He wanted to talk about Hopkins (from Signing Time) and Blue (from Blue's Clues... he's been on a bit of a Blue's Clues kick), so Dad suggested Blue could Skidoo into Signing Time to play with Hopkins. So Joey made up his own adventure, where Blue was trying to tell everyone she wanted to learn to sign! (Blue in the Treehouse was the first clue, Blue's paws were the second clue, and a frog was the third clue!)

How cool is THAT?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Autumn Evenings

We were outside, enjoying the warm autumn evening. I miss the trees that used to be in the yards around us; the fall isn't the same without the changing red leaves of the dogwood or the brilliant yellow of the old Tree of Heaven trees and mulberries. They all went down with Isabel. The neighbors used to have cherry trees, but when they also went with Isabel, they planted pear trees- not as nice, either.

But the roses are having their fall bloom, and I am working on getting things cleared out and mulched in. I know you shouldn't mulch before first frost, but I have to do what I can when I can, or it doesn't get done at all. I picked some zinnias to take into the house. The boys were playing- Andy in sandbox, Joey with his hulahoop. He likes to pretend he is a car, with the hoop around his waist. Andy's dinosaurs were rescuing each other. Joey was zooming around the yard. I took a break from yardwork to sit on my bench- which could use a good coat of paint.

Then Joey sits next to me.

"Let's have two seats," he says. "Let's go!"
"You're driving," I smile to my left at him. He grins and vrooms.
"Where are we going?" I ask casually.
"We're taking Grandma home. Then we go to the store."
I watch him pretending to drive, happy as a clam. Vroom!
"What do we need at the store?" I ask.
"Cookies! We need cookies. Better go to the store!"

And he's off, the hula hoop around his waist.

How far we have come.