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


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.



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.


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.


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.


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.


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?


Art, autism and vision: Raymond’s artwork Friday, Jul 13 2012 

I know I posted a while back about our search for an art teacher. Well, we found one and she rocks! We go to The Creative Side in downtown Fredericksburg and work with Miss Kathleen. Raymond really enjoys it, and he seems to have a real talent for it. I’ve posted some of his art below.


The new incidence rate for autism is 1 in 88 children. Wednesday, May 9 2012 

New incidence numbers came out last month, and the CDC announced that the rate of autism is 1 in 88 children and 1 in 54 boys.  Those are epidemic level numbers. However, I waited to post about this until almost everyone else had their say.  My reason is pretty simple. This incidence rate doesn’t change anything for me personally.


April 2012: Autism Acceptance Month Friday, Apr 20 2012 


I normally write these posts on World Autism Awareness Day, but this year I’ve been so busy I haven’t had time to write until now. Also, I have a lot to say and wanted to let my thoughts coalesce into a more solid form prior to posting my annual self assessment. I like to take stock of where my family has been and where we are now, and I finally feel ready to do that.


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