The real “real world” you want for your child with autism, and how to get there

The mid-1990s weren’t exactly the Dark Ages of autism, but families like ours hard-landed on a spectrum unthinkable today: no websites, apps, social media, sensory-friendly events, autism curriculum, tagless clothing (hey--that's important!). While resources were sparse, dumb clichés were as plentiful as they are today. One of the most prevalent was that children with autism “are off in their own [...]

2018-04-02T06:52:05+00:00 April 2nd, 2018|Non-Fiction|

Who Let the Cat Out (of the Bag)?: Demystifying idioms for concrete thinkers

One fine day I sat in the boardroom listening to a dynamic project manager describe the strategy for the next customer acquisition campaign. Only days earlier she’d told me she was sick to death of enduring meetings with men who couldn’t string together two sentences without spouting sports idioms. “The ball’s in their court,” she mimicked, “and they need to [...]

2018-02-21T10:07:53+00:00 February 21st, 2018|Non-Fiction|

Mantra, reversed: Just Don’t Do It

The battle cry “Just Do It” turns thirty this year. An athletic-shoe company ad slogan, those three little words spawned many interpretations. Some took it as rousing: yes, improving myself is that simple! Some took it as derisive: get off your ass and stop making excuses already! Whatever the intent or the inflection, it became a cultural refrain. I remember [...]

2018-02-02T08:33:43+00:00 February 2nd, 2018|Non-Fiction|

Teaching fairness in an unfair world

“You ain’t fair.” That memorable accusation in To Kill a Mockingbird comes after Scout’s uncle wallops her for flinging forbidden foul language at a peer. “You never stopped to gimme a chance to tell you my side of it,” she berates him. Scout’s charge of unfairness is a far cry from our children whining about who got two extra French [...]

2018-02-06T07:39:45+00:00 January 29th, 2018|Non-Fiction|

George Carlin’s “waiting to wait,” and why autism parents can’t do that

“They're just waiting and waiting and waiting,” says George Carlin, describing a dog’s life. “Waiting to come in, waiting to go out, waiting to eat, waiting to crap, waiting to wake up, waiting to sleep, waiting to go upstairs, waiting to go downstairs . . . waiting to wait.” In some ways much less funny, this life of waiting has [...]

2017-12-15T18:14:08+00:00 June 15th, 2017|Non-Fiction|

Bullying is not a “thing,” its victims are real, and here’s what we MUST do

Bullying, a universal concern of parents of children with autism, isn’t new and will persist until there’s a near-universal change in thinking. In the meantime, hateful memes like this proliferate on the internet: “Bullying is always going to be a thing. Stop wrapping your kids in cotton wool, teach them to stand up and defend themselves and stop raising a [...]

2017-12-16T00:35:12+00:00 September 28th, 2016|Non-Fiction|

Snappy Beats Snarky: A month of comebacks for autism parents

Every autism parent knows them. They may be strangers; they may be relatives, or anyone in between. They aren’t shy about offering their two cents’ worth on your child’s behavior, preferences, future (and you'd gladly give them a dollar to shut up). They don’t distinguish between opinionated and informed, and they can’t find their own mute button. It can often [...]

2016-07-07T14:34:47+00:00 July 7th, 2016|Non-Fiction|

“Puberty has brought so many changes! Do kids with autism understand it at age 12?”

A parent asks: Our son is finishing his first year of middle school. The IEP goals offered by the school team, from the first section to the last, are completely inappropriate and almost irrelevant to his recent developmental changes. We can pinpoint the academic problems he had sixth grade and carry them forward into seventh grade. But there are other [...]

2016-05-19T12:20:40+00:00 May 19th, 2016|Non-Fiction|