I never wanted a normal kid. Thursday, Mar 14 2013 


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When I finally settled down and realized I was going to be a dad, I thought about all the things I wanted him or her to be. Thinking back now, the word “normal” never popped into my brain. I seriously never considered the possibility that my son or daughter might be “normal.” I assumed, based on me and my wife, that any child we might have would be exceptional.

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Autism Movie Review: Ocean Heaven Tuesday, Mar 5 2013 


Due to my position with the Autism Society of Northern Virginia I was fortunate enough to be part of a parent panel for this film, which was put on by the Northern Virginia Jewish Community Center for the Reelabilities Film Festival of Greater DC. I would first like to thank those folks for their support in creating disability awareness and, more specifically, autism awareness in the Metro DC area.

The film stars Jet Li as the widowed father of an autistic boy. The opening scenes are confusing, then shocking, then I was totally immersed in the film. The story was overwhelmingly compelling to me, as the thought that my wife might die and leave me alone to care for our son is always somewhere in the back of my mind. I also appreciate the way so many folks in the movie compliment the dad on his dedication to his son, but the film still shows that he is human and makes mistakes.

The film also shows the stark lack of services in China, as once the father is diagnosed with a terminal disease he tries to find multiple locations to place his son. He looks at his old school, but the kids are too young. They look at an institution, but he can’t bring himself to make his son stay there. I find this mirrors what most people experience here in the US, where the community based choices are few and far between.

I’m giving this film 4 out of 5 stars. Its well played, and the actor who plays the autistic son does a great job. The rest of the cast turns in solid performances as well, and the story had me in tears in several places. It manages to touch on many of the aspects of transition as well as the parent/child aspects of autistic life. It is streaming on Netflix if you want to watch. I’d recommend taking the time.

Autism and Love Monday, Oct 15 2012 


I don’t want to get all maudlin, but I remember being told when Raymond was diagnosed that he would never be able to express his emotions, or say I love you, or do any of the normal emotional feedback things that kids normally do for their parents. I thought “wow, that’s going to be hard.” I wondered how that would affect my resolve parenting him, and if it would ruin our relationship.

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Autism Book Review: The Out-Of-Sync Child Thursday, Aug 16 2012 


“The Out-Of-Sync Child” focuses on sensory integration disorder. While it isn’t specific to autism, many folks on the spectrum have sensory processing issues so I’m going to call it recommended reading. We read this when Raymond was 3 and still use tips from it every day.

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Autism Book Review: Look Me In The Eye Wednesday, Aug 15 2012 


John Elder Robison’s “Look Me In The Eye: My Life With Aspergers” is a great exploration of an interesting and varied life. Robison is honest in his storytelling and revealing in his perception, which makes for an engaging read about a fascinating individual.

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Autism Movie Review: Adam Tuesday, Aug 14 2012 


“Adam” is about a young man with Aspergers Syndrome coping with loss and trying to make sense of the world without his father. Hugh Dancy plays Adam, a young adult who goes through a number of changes during the movie. Cute film, although its not all sunshine and roses.

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How do I rebuild trust on my IEP team once its gone? Monday, Aug 13 2012 


I know the feeling. You feel like the school has betrayed you. The IEP team didn’t agree with your recommendations, you had to fight them, and now your IEP meetings feel like a very uncomfortable party where the host isn’t wearing any pants. I’ve been there, and I have some advice on how to get that trust back.

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Does the school meet about my son without me? Friday, Aug 3 2012 


I know that sounds like a silly question. I mean, what administrator in their right time would coordinate not one but two IEP meetings, especially considering how many different folks it would impact, changes in schedules, etc. No way schools would do something so disingenuous as meet about a student without disclosing the meeting or telling the parents, and it would certainly be unconscionable for them to put a plan together for your child without your input, right? Even if they did, they wouldn’t be unethical enough to lie about it, would they?

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Autism: My beliefs and ideas Saturday, Jul 28 2012 


If you know me at all, you understand that I get extremely frustrated when I’m misrepresented. My beliefs are as thought out and consistent as I can make them, and when folks make assumptions about what I believe I get angry. Real angry. So, to prevent frustration and help folks better understand where I’m coming from I’m going into some detail about my beliefs.

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Autism Parenting Tips: Consequences? Wednesday, Jul 25 2012 


Most folks don’t enjoy disciplining their kids. I’m not a fan of it myself, but I do feel that by failing to show my son boundaries I am setting him up for a harsh lesson later in life with much more severe penalties. Discipline is additionally challenging with an autistic child, so I’m going to share some of the things we do that help us show Raymond consequences of his decisions. 

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