Posted by: Kaiaroon | May 24, 2010

Inclusion Presentation

I gave a presentation yesterday. It was an inservice day for the City’s Rec Center Inclusion Staff. They staff up for increased demand during the summer. Movie Boy has participated in their programs over the years.

They wanted me to speak about a parent’s point of view of inclusion services for children with disabilities.

It went really well. I was a nervous wreck. They gave me a Chick-fil-a sandwich, a tote bag, and a cool travel mug.

I may take this show on the road.

Posted by: Kaiaroon | May 16, 2010

Iron Man 2 in IMAX at AMC

572 times…. that’s how many times Movie Boy asked me over the past month or so to go see Iron Man 2. And not at our local theater, but at the IMAX at the AMC Theaters.

Today I relented.

It was worth it.

Wow.

Posted by: Kaiaroon | May 12, 2010

Who Are You?

I got a new purse. It is yellow leather, with a long strap. My sister Maureen, who is much more fashionable than I am, helped me pick it out. I rarely spend money on myself — the budget we have doesn’t have a lot of wiggle room — but it was only $16. So, I splurged.

This morning, Movie Boy asked me for a dollar. I grabbed the new purse. Movie Boy was horrified.

“Who. ARE. YOOOUUUU???????”

“Who, me? What’s up?”

“That’s a RICH PEOPLE purse, Mom, why do you have it?”

(Well, thank you son. I should take Auntie Mo out shopping with me more often, eh?)

“No, I mean…. you NEVER spend money. You are like Julius on Everyone Hates Chris…. ‘hey, that’s 19 cents worth of milk you didn’t drink’‘”

Yes, and now I have a new purse.

“Who are you?”

Posted by: Kaiaroon | May 7, 2010

Inclusion Matters

Okay, dear readers, I need your help.

I have been asked to be a guest speaker at an in-service training for summer inclusion staff for the City’s summer camp childcare program. Movie Boy has partcipated in this program with some ups and downs over the years. Kudos to the Inclusion Supervisor who wants to give these new staff members a Mom’s-eye-view of inclusion and why it is important.

Affordable, quality childcare has always been a necessity for us, and complicated by our need for good inclusion support. Social interaction and life skills are also a big motivator.

Give me your stories and thoughts please.

Why is inclusion in childcare and recreation programs important?

THANKS!

Posted by: Kaiaroon | April 26, 2010

Just Saying

Autism and teenage angst are not mutually exclusive.

Posted by: Kaiaroon | April 22, 2010

Pay It Forward

A co-worker asked me if Movie Boy would like her bike. I had been talking about how much he had grown — he is so tall these days! — and she told me she had upgraded to a new bike, and her old one was in great shape and the right size for him. We were thrilled. New bikes don’t grow on trees!

So, I was talking to Movie Boy about what to do with his old bike. We were in the process of getting stuff together to donate to the Salvation Army, and I told him we could take the bike. Some kid in need might like it.

He thought about it for a moment, and then said, “Mom, my friend Matthew doesn’t have a bike, and his parents can’t afford one. Can I give him my old bike? Then we can ride together.”

My sweet boy.

So now we enter a new phase that I have been dreading. Riding bikes around the neighborhood. Movie Boy lacks “situational awareness”, and to be safe riding your bike even on residential streets, you MUST be aware of your surroundings. So while he has known since preschool how to ride a bike, we have limited his riding to “very safe places” — like the boardwalk, cul de sacs, and the backyard. I was sort of hoping he would never develop an interest in venturing out, but as I look forward I realize that learning to ride his bike will help him later with skills he will need to drive.

Which I was also hoping he would never develop an interest in, but has.

Egads, I need to stop looking ahead.

So for now, we’ll focus on getting Movie Boy and Matthew to safely ride – together – to the neighborhood pool and back. Safely. That’s all I can process for now ;)

Posted by: Kaiaroon | April 20, 2010

Student of the Month

Sorry I haven’t written in awhile. Things, after the Big Pink Sign incident, have been going rather well. And I tend to be more prolific when I need to vent. So less blogging is usually a sign that everyone is A-OK. Also, I’m in the process of compiling my paperwork for the annulment of my Catholic marriage (my divorce from Movie Boy’s dad was final 10 years ago, but the Church doesn’t recognize that…. blah, blah…. fodder for another blog post. Or whole entire blog. Stay tuned for more on that.)

Anyhow, I can never seem to finish the grueling annulment paperwork, which includes a 15-20 page essay on all the problems of our courtship/wedding/marriage, so when I sit down to write on THIS blog, I feel guilty because I have other things I should be doing, and so I stop. So, long story short…. the Catholic paperwork has me full of guilt, meaning I must be a Catholic at heart, so I need to get the darn paperwork submitted so I can feel free to write on this blog to my heart’s content. Or something.

In the meantime, something very noteworthy happened yesterday that prompted me to dust off the keyboard and post. Movie Boy was named Student of the Month for his 7th grade team. The character trait was “self-discipline”. I am very proud. There are 1400 kids in his school. There were 14 kids recognized yesterday. Quite an accomplishment.

I tried very hard for this moment to be all about Movie Boy, but I did have myself a very schadenfreudelicious moment when the Principal awarded him his certificate. This is the same Principal who decided against him in our disciplinary appeal last year. It was ever so rewarding when she had to come over and shake my hand to congratulate me on my “extremely disciplined” young man.

Yes, he is, thank you very much for finally getting on board.

Posted by: Kaiaroon | March 10, 2010

Big Pink Sign

After I got on the bus and took the frickin’ pink sign down, I penned this to the principal and AP in charge of transportation…..

Good afternoon,

My son, Movie Boy is a 7th grader who rides Bus 66. He does not have any accommodations in his IEP requiring special seating on the bus. Movie Boy has had a successful year—he has good behavior, attendance, and grades.

In spite of this, the bus driver has assigned him a seat at the front of the bus, and placed a pink placard above it labeled “Movie Boy”. My understanding is that this happened about a month ago. I was not aware of it until today.

The bus driver tells me that all students are assigned seats by grade – 6th grade in the front, 7th grade in the middle, 8th grade in the back. However, this rule does not apply to Movie Boy who is required by her to sit at the front of the bus under his pink name placard for all the kids to see. This morning, while I was talking to the bus driver about this, a 6th grader entered the bus with her breakfast in hand and walked to the back of the bus and took a seat.

The students don’t act in a manner that indicates that rules are being enforced. They seem comfortable eating on the bus and sitting outside of the assigned grade areas. While the bus driver does not enforce the grade level assignments for the other students, she does enforce the assigned seat for Movie Boy.

The bus driver said Mr. T instructed her to implement this arrangement. Mr. T says that this is not under his control. It is not clear to me when this arrangement was implemented or who initiated it, but it is clearly not in the best interest of my child or in alignment with his educational program. Movie Boy’s case manager was also not aware this had been implemented.

Additionally, Movie Boy’s assigned seat is in close proximity to the bus driver’s 3-year-old grandson. This has been problematic as Movie Boy has OCD and has difficulty tolerating the personal hygiene and behaviors of small children. The child also cries and screams and this is difficult for a child like Movie Boy who has sensory difficulties.

I am concerned that Movie Boy is being singled out because of his disability and is not being treated in an equitable manner as the other students on the bus.

Assigning him a seat when other children are not assigned seats in the same manner is discriminatory.

Putting a placard with his name over his assigned seat is highly stigmatizing and a breach of confidentiality.

In the past several weeks, Movie Boy has been very reluctant to ride the bus because he is highly embarrassed by the situation.

Please let me know how you intend to remedy this situation so that my child can have unrestricted access to school transportation and a successful experience.

Thank you,

Kat

Posted by: Kaiaroon | December 31, 2009

Discovering Ableism

A teenage girl advocates for her brother with Asperger’s. A powerful story.

H/T Billie.

Posted by: Kaiaroon | December 15, 2009

The autistic child at your school.

Amazing essay by Emily. She must be a fly on the wall in our house.  I wish no one had to be eloquent on the subject of children with autism being bullied, but I’m also very glad she put words to my frustration.

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