Nov 11 2014
“My daughter, the Hebrew School dropout.” Those weren’t exactly the words I had in mind when I enrolled Hannah in Hebrew school when she was in kindergarten. And all went well for a few years…until there were some rumblings in 5th grade. But I gamely ignored them, and we soldiered on.
And then middle school hit like a tsunami. Hannah was normally a fairly calm, methodical kid. Not anymore. Her anxiety levels spiked as her secular school workload increased. She placed high expectations on herself, expecting straight A’s every marking period. I remember begging her, “Get a B. Just get a B in something and you will see that the world won’t end.”
Add in a long drive to Hebrew school and an extra two hours of class once a week, and Hannah was on the verge of cracking. When she came home from Hebrew school she would sob in my arms. She didn’t connect socially with her peers and she wasn’t learning anything new. She would stay up late at night to finish her homework and then do cartwheels and handsprings in her bedroom to calm her nerves. It was wearing both of us out. Read the rest of this entry →
Oct 27 2014
As the mother of an almost-14-year-old male specimen, I have extensive experience with teenage development and behavior. This specimen is one that I have researched thoroughly for recurring patterns of maturation as well as chronological brain development, physical, social, and emotional milestone achievement, and other intangibles such as resiliency and societal awareness. I have charted each point of development and checked in with appropriate medical staff to determine success as well as possible areas of concern. I have invested high quantities of unconditional love and clocked in well over one million billable hours. I have made sure to allow for mistakes, self-learning, and personal advocacy whenever possible, and use natural consequences as a way to learn and avoid repetitive mistakes.
So after this immense investment, why does this specimen suddenly need a re-boot? If my iPhone functioned this way I would do a full system reset or ask for an update to fix the issue. Read the rest of this entry →
Jan 28 2014
My daughter is a 10-year-old living with autism. As I watch both her body and her mind grow, I am hit in many different times and many different ways that my daughter is not a little kid anymore.
Gone is the unsteady toddler on wobbly legs and the silky hair that could be washed with a washcloth. Gone is the little one who at the end of the day would cry a sea of warm tears because she was so tired, but who couldn’t relax enough to fall asleep without my hand stroking her back. Gone is the little child’s whose differences often hid behind chubby cheeks, dimpled elbows, and the world of being a small child.
My daughter is growing very quickly. She’s hit puberty early and even though her capability and maturity levels are consistent with a 7-year-old child, I am having a hard time escaping one simple fact: It won’t be long until my child with autism will soon be an adult with autism. Read the rest of this entry →
Aug 8 2013
“You are not allowed to shave until you are 16.”
“Because once you start, you’ll never be able to stop.”
“And never–no matter what–never shave above your knee.”
I know, from the unscientific surveying of my contemporaries, that I was not alone in receiving such cautionary wisdom about shaving. But it makes me wonder where our mothers obtained this advice. Was it from their mothers? From their own experiences? From some outdated, antiquated, musty teen etiquette handbook? Read the rest of this entry →
Apr 11 2013
While the world of autism is talking, blogging, and arguing about Autism Awareness Month, over here we have been dealing with another kind of awareness. One in which autism, like with a lot of other things, brings challenges, not just to Maya, but to me as her mom.
A few months ago I wrote a post about how I and everyone around me were noticing changes in my daughter and my fears about how to talk about it with her. Read the rest of this entry →