A Community Autism Experience

A Community Autism Experience I was at the gym the other day. I was about to get into the swimming pool when a lifeguard approached me and said, “There’s a young man who is going to share your lane with you. He has high functioning autism, but he knows how to share a pool lane.” What happened? Well, nothing really. I swam on my side and he swam on his side. I have some thoughts, however, on this pretty minor encounter with a young man on the spectrum. Was this a typical interaction? Yes. The pools often get full to the point where a … [Read more...]

Politics and Autism

Politics and Autism   One of my son’s obsessions is politics. Politics? How did that happen? Well, for history class last year, he had to watch the presidential debates. Also, his dad and I talked a lot of politics, especially around the time of the elections. Then, the election didn’t go the way we were hoping. We were disappointed, and so was my son. Then, what happened? Well, my husband and I, and some family and friends, still talk about politics at times. No always, of course, but politics definitely makes it way into … [Read more...]

Autism and Just Being a Teenager

Autism and Just Being a Teenager The title has two meanings because sometimes my child has autism and other times, well, he’s just being a rather typical teenager. How so? Testing and pushing boundaries is one way. With attitude. It’s a lot of fun for parents! Another way is when he recently changed from headphones to earbuds. My son has always had an affinity for listening to stuff on his iPad with headphones (encouraged, of course, by his parents so that it’s less noisy, especially in the car) Earbuds are “cooler.” So, the headphones are … [Read more...]

Autism and Public Speaking For a child with autism, my son really doesn’t have a problem speaking in public. Why not? Good question. When he was younger and had to do an oral presentation at school, he did them. We didn’t go to the teacher and say, “Well, he has autism so…” Instead, we had him practice. We helped prepare him. I remember having him sit at a chair in the kitchen (as if he were sitting in his seat at school), stand up, face me and my husband, introduce himself, and launch into the topic. I tried to recreate what it was going … [Read more...]

Autism and The Good Doctor

Autism and The Good Doctor I’m really excited by all of the TV shows out there now that have characters with autism. The Big Bang Theory (even though the show doesn’t acknowledge that Sheldon has autism or Aspergers) Parenthood (no longer running, but available on Netflix) The A Word.  The Bridge. And, The Good Doctor. I’m especially pleased with The Good Doctor. Why? Because the show features a character who is successful in a field that one would think a person with autism might not find success. The field of medicine—being a … [Read more...]

Autism and a Red Eye

Autism and a Red Eye   Over the summer, my son and I flew a red eye to the East Coast. I had taken several red eyes over the last few years, and my son had even taken one with me. I find red eyes are less expensive and I take them because I don’t fly well, which means I won’t sleep the night before a flight anyway, so I figure I might as well take that time to be in the air. How did my son do? The first time he did it, a few years back, he managed to fall asleep for a couple of hours. This time, he didn’t. My son loves to fly, so he … [Read more...]

DeVos Hurts Special Needs Families

DeVos Hurts Special Needs Families   Education Secretary Betsy Devos eliminated 72 policy documents that outline the rights of students with disabilities. The documents fleshed out students’ rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and the Rehabilitation Act. The regulations were not rescinded, only the policy documents put into place to guide how schools could use federal special education money. The documents were useful to help parents and schools understand the way the laws are meant to work. 63 guidance … [Read more...]