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.


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.


2012 Commonwealth of Virginia General Assembly: Autism Action Items Tuesday, Jan 10 2012 

Okay, the Commonwealth of 2012 Virginia General Assembly starts today and those of us in the Virginia autism community should roll up our sleeves. This year is a long session and we have a lot to do.I’m focusing my efforts on a few things, and recommend everyone out there do the same.


Need some help with school advocacy? Try V.O.P.A.! Thursday, Oct 20 2011 

Okay, we all know that the folks in the school try hard. In spite of that, sometimes things go wrong. None of us parents want to do some of the things we say, like hire an attorney, sue the school, or complain to the state and federal departments of education. However, sometimes we know the school is doing something wrong but, since we’re not educators, we don’t know how to say what is wrong in a way the school will understand. If you’re in Virginia, you can get some help from V.O.P.A., the Virginia Office of Protection and Advocacy.


Virginia Passes Autism Insurance Reform! Monday, May 9 2011 

Thanks to the hard work of a number of people we finally have autism insurance reform in the Commonwealth of Virginia! Thanks to everyone involved, especially the Virginia Autism Project and the advocacy arm of Autism Speaks. Thanks also go out to all the senators and delegates who voted for it, especially Senator Howell and Delegate Greason for sponsoring the bills in their respective assemblies. Finally, thank you to Governor McDonnell for signing it rather than exercising his veto power.


Autism Awareness Month 2011 Wednesday, Apr 6 2011 

This is my third year blogging and I really want to dig into what Autism Awareness means to me. I know this month is important to many people for many reasons, but I think “awareness” is a trite term. I think of Autism Awareness more as Autism Education.


Department of Justice letter to Governor McDonnell Wednesday, Feb 23 2011 

The link to a copy of the letter is here, graciously hosted by the Arc of Virginia. This is a statement to Governor McDonnell about events that were investigated under Governor Kaine but existed for years before that. It references an investigation by the Department of Justice regarding Virginia’s mental health systems compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and the landmark Olmstead ruling.


An open letter to Governor McDonnell #2, Autism Insurance Reform Thursday, Feb 10 2011 

I sent this letter to the Governor this morning. I hope my fellow Virginians will follow suit. If you want to write the governor you can do so on his website at . Feel free to cut and paste my text if you’re not great at writing letters. The most important thing is that we let Governor McDonnell know how important this is to the future of Virginia.


A post for dads Wednesday, Feb 2 2011 

Okay guys, I don’t normally reference other blogs, but I read an awesome one today. I recommend you read it. Its at


Raymond’s dog 1: A little boy’s Christmas wish Friday, Dec 17 2010 

Editorial note: We have raised the money for Raymond’s dog, but I still encourage folks to donate to North Star Dogs. Its a great cause.



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