Up the Down Escalator

A Special Year

One year ago today, I performed the Heimlich on Noah to save him from choking on a fruit bar, because he liked shoving too much food in his mouth, a common trait of SPD kids. 

One year ago, he ran away from us in public and threw multiple tantrums a day. We were preparing for his first evaluation from the school district. We were arguing with our insurance company's denial of coverage for speech therapy. He couldn't pronounce "green" correctly.  Or ride a bike, or color a picture, or make friends, or do anything that wasn't part of his rigid, inflexible routine. We lost a deposit to a Montessori school that he would not attend, because in just a few weeks he'd have an IEP through our school district and be officially placed in special education. 

Less than a year ago, I received a report from a psychological evaluation that took place at his preschool. It shook me to my core, because my son was slowly, steadily disappearing into himself and his rituals. He was withdrawing from a world that overwhelmed him. I remember putting the papers down, then folding my arms over them, and sobbing. We had to stop it. We had to fix it. 

We enrolled him in an occupational therapy summer camp, which would later lead to placing him in a terrifyingly expensive (at the time, anyway) private preschool. Both of these decisions turned out to be -- just as hundreds of commenters promised -- the very best things we've EVER done for Noah. 

Everything started changing from that point on -- we got a diagnosis, insurance approval, a plan, hope, results, success and a kid who is finally enjoying life as a kid in the world he's in. 

Noah's next IEP meeting is coming up in a few weeks, and we plan to ask that he be placed in the less restrictive immersion preschool classroom next fall -- a class of half special education kids, half typical peers, the next baby step in the path back to mainstream.

But we're also sending him back to the private school in the afternoon. And to the camp this summer. We don't even think about the money anymore. How could we? LOOK AT HIM NOW.

Still, though. It does cost money, so when CafeMom asked if I was interested in taking on another blogging gig, I jumped at it. (CafeMom, as ClubMom, was actually the company that offered me my very very first paid writing job. I'm happy that my newbie bumblings from back then didn't turn them off forever.) So now, in addition to the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back and Mamapop, I'll be writing a column every Thursday called Isn't That Special, about (shocker!) special needs parenting. I know. I'm tired of listening to myself talk too. 

But seriously. LOOK AT HIM NOW.

Music: Hey, Won't Somebody Come And Play by The Little Ones



So precious on the scooter.


I'm looking! And clapping! And maybe tearing up a little. Go Noah. And lookit that delicious Ezra, too. And spring weather! Just awesome. Thanks.


Amy, this does my heart good. Laura and I are so happy for you guys!


Aw, that made me teary. I was OMG a f r i e n d!! Not to mention the stellar scootering. It just gets better from here. Noah is one amazing kid.


So normal. Way to go Noah. Wonderful that things seem so normal after so much work to get here. And Ezra and his stroller are so cute.


Please don't take this the wrong way, but your children are among the most nibble-able I've ever seen. SO adorable. Congrats to Noah, and to Ez too (you know, for surviving being the poster child for escalator safety. ((hugs)) to all of you!


It's amazing the difference a year can make. I think it's also amazing that the decisions that seem so heartbreaking and hard can turn out to be so right and worth the turmoil.

This week was the first anniversary of me having to put my son in the hospital, the first huge step in identifying his mood disorder. The last year has been a mind-blowing journey of books and IEP's and doctors and not knowing what comes next, but it's worked. We have a path and a support system, even if it is a lifelong effort to keep him OK.

I get so happy when I hear about Noah's triumphs (especially the triumphs that most people wouldn't recognize as significant, like going in the water) because I feel like I understand how fantastic it is for you as a mom to witness them. Good luck, and congratulations for how much you've done already.


Oh Amy! Oh Noah! Oh Ezra! Oh Jason!!! I would like to adopt you as my family.


Good job Amy! And Jason! And especially Noah! And Ezra too -just for being so cute if nothing else! We all do what we have to in order to keep our family healthy and thriving. Good for you guys for figuring out what that was and then making sure it happened.


Good on you! GOOD ON YOU ALL!


So much awesome, right here. I'm so grateful that you've been given another writing opportunity. You're totally going to bless other parents.


The green post from a year ago still breaks my heart a little. He has come such a long way! Thank you for sharing the journey!



howdy, a! long time follower, infrequent commenter. it's been so. much. fun. to play along at home.

and to think, it started (for me, anyways) with that god-forsaken recipe book. :)

so very, very happy for you.


and HELMET!!!!!!!!!!!!

I don't have a special needs kid, but I promise to go read your column over there. Tell CafeMom that. Tell the advertisers that. My click a day, my contribution to green and helmets and friends.


Eight years ago this spring, I was told that my 4-year-old should be placed in a self-contained special ed classroom.

Three days from now, I will be sitting in an IEP meeting in which I anticipate being told that my son, fully mainstreamed, really does not need a classroom aide. And I am going to agree.

Noah is The Man, and while there will be difficult days and worry-filled nights, he will continue to progress. Looking forward to many more reports like this.

Bravo to Noah -- and to his parents, who got him what he needs.

Julie @ The Mom Slant

Love it. Good on you - all four of you.


So much of parenting is guesswork, but I think over time we learn that if you give a damn and do your best you just can't really go too wrong.
Yay Noah! Go on with your bad self.

Life of a Doctor's Wife

Yay Noah!!! Such a sweet video and post.

And seriously? Ezra? Adorable.


I'm a regular reader (though this is my first comment). Your family's story is inspiring and heartwarming. Noah and Ezra have incredibly brave and dedicated parents. They are lucky little boys. Congratulations on the many successes to-date and best wishes for many more. Thank you for sharing your story with us (the crazy public).


I don't know which made me tear up more - rereading the "green" entry or reading today's. I'm so happy for all of you.


Three cheers for Noah, and three cheers for you too. Here's to making the right decision :)


Yeah you, yeah Noah. Yeah all of you so, so very much.

So this is funny. I was watching the video and Michael runs over the screen and yells, that is my friend Noah why isn't he playing with MEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!

Thought you would love that.

Jessica V

Those boys are awesome - just awesome. And? I will TOTALLY be reading your CafeMom columns - congrats on the new gig!


Wombat hereby extends this formal invitation to Ezra: "I challenge thee to a stroller duel!" So...collaborative stroller derby iMovie?


Your blog has been a lifesaver for me. After trying to figure out my son for the last 5 years, he was fianlly disagnosed with SPD. Due to your blog, I can laugh and cry along with a mother who understands the ups and downs of my life. SPD is still such a mystery in the medical community so its nice to know that its not foreign to other Moms. You are such an inspiration and you give me the motivation to coninue to look at the bright side and move forward. I thank you!


Congrats on the new gig!

How much do you think Ezra's arrival has helped Noah grow and develop?


I actually teared up. You weep-inducer.

GO NOAH!!! (Also: Ez's baby doll? How freakin cute.)


That is wonderful Amy! I can't believe it's been nearly a year since The Preschool came into your lives and helped Noah so much. I'm so happy to hear that his progress continues. You're a great mom and a great writer and I can't wait for more Amalah in my life with the new column!


So much awesome.


Bookmarking "isn't that special" now!

I was one of those people encouraging you to take a loan, sell illegal substances...do whatever it took to get him in that school. Our special school was our answer too...it opened the door to hope, understanding, and acceptance. Drew is in an awesome place and is such an awesome kid...I cry when I think about how far he has come. I am so happy you are there too. It is a great place to be and it gets better!
I couldn't stop a tear as Noah followed his new friend along the path. *sigh*....wonderful. Simply wonderful.


Would it be weird if I told you that you are my idol? Yes? Oh, sorry. My son has dyspraxia. He hasn't been diagnosed with spd and I don't think he is, but he has some 'quirks' that fall inline with it (that food thing being one of them). He's in speech therapy now through EI (and making wonderful progress) and we've had the OT evaluation but not started therapy yet. As I navigate this journey, I think of you. I hope to handle it with as much grace as I can muster, and as much humor as possible. This boy is wonderful, just like Noah. I just need to help him be happy here.


So glad for you & your family, it's hard to take a leap like that and I am so glad that you have continued to share the ups & downs. Thanks for showing parents that it is critical to ADVOCATE for your kid, it seems like it should be obvious or easy, but it is neither.



If I lived anywhere nearby and could help you out with kidsitting, housekeeping, dog walking, wine drinking.... I would do it - to help you do the GREAT columns you do for us and for your family. I read them all and look forward to another.


I can't believe it's been a year already. Noah's progress is amazing and seems to be really hitting it's stride. I'm so happy for you guys and look forward to more updates like this one!


Oh, this gave me chills. So happy how well things are going for you all. You are a wonderful mother. Full stop.



Mrs. Q.

I'm so happy that you can look back at the last year of worry and choices and self-doubt and think "yeah, we totally did the right thing!" Go, Noah, go!


So awesome! It is wonderful to see him doing so well, Amy.


*sniff* *weep*

How can I be so damn proud of a kid I don't even know!? Ah, the magic of blogging. Great video!!


Thank you for sharing your story. We are just at the beginning of our journey into SPD. I hope that I can write an entry like yours someday.


I am so so excited for the new blog. As a school psychologist in my first year of working with preschoolers, I really appreciate your perspective and have sent some parents your way too. Reading your blog helps me to re-frame the way I begin conversations with parents and reminds me to keep humor and hope as central to my day to day job as possible. Thank you.

Bachelor Girl

Congratulations on all your progress with Noah AND on your new job! The Storch family is kicking some serious ass lately!


What a year! I'm so glad things have turned out this way, so happy for you and your family, and most of all for Noah, who is pretty awesome in my book.

Mariana Perri

AWESOME video!!! In every aspect of it!!!!

Heather Ben

that rocks


Oh man! So happy for Noah. And if you weren't on the other side of the country, I'd come steal the mighty Ez for an afternoon to show Little Miss Kickboxer how to get into all sorts of trouble ...


This is GREAT!!! I was watching this earlier, and then I heard the music again around the corner, and my co-worker was watching it as well. We had a little "Yay for Noah" session together. So awesome those kids of yours....




I adore you! In a non-creepy, girl-crush kind of way :)

My oldest son has Cerebral Palsy, and with that has lots of sensory issues. I'm so excited to read your column and I'll def be sharing with my other moms with children with special needs


Awesome. Just...awesome. Yay for Noah in making such great strides! Yay for you and Jason doing the best for your son! And Yay for Ezra in being the mightiest stroller-er of them all! Here's to many more stories of amazing progress....


It makes me so happy for him that he lucked out with parents like you guys!
I nanny for a family and they have a 3yo with all of the same traits as Noah. I have a master's in Spec Ed and used to teach in a self-contained ED room. I chose to take some time off from teaching, but that doesn't mean I don't know what the eff I'm talking about. I've tried tactfully suggesting a number of programs that would be beneficial to him and the parents just don't want to hear it. That little boy will be lost and it makes me sad.


um, does ezra have a mullet?


Enjoyed your writing for years. Finished reading John Elder Robison's book "look me in the eye" about Aspergers, and thought about your son's milestones in playing with others when I read this:"Many descriptions of autism and Asperger's describe people like me as "not wanting contact with others" or "preferring to play alone." I can't speak for other kids, but I'd like to be very clear about my own feelings: I did not ever want to be alone. And all those child psychologists who said "John prefers to play by himself" were dead wrong. I played by myself because I was a failure at playing with others. I was alone as a result of my own limitations, and being alone was one of the bitterest disappointments of my young life."
Because of your efforts and love, it is wonderful to see that your son will not be bitter. Congratulations

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