Consumer Reporting
17 Months

Mad Skillz

Social skills are still a struggle for Noah. "Social skills" being probably the most vague and imprecise bucket of Early Intervention nonsense we have come across so far. People hear "social skill problems" and immediately assume that Noah hits or bites or plays roughly or...I don't. Spits and hisses, like he's spent his life locked in a closet. So when those people meet him, all charming and bubbly and eager to please, they wonder what in sam hill we're talking about. "Social skill problems. My ass. That I just farted out of. Loudly. In an elevator. NOW who's got 'SOCIAL SKILL PROBLEMS'?"

So...yeah, it's not exactly something that makes a lot of sense the first time you meet Noah. Especially if you're an adult. It's subtle. It's more of an inability to connect with peers. Other children. (Someone once sent me a link to a blog entry they wrote about dyspraxia being a "social planning disorder" in addition to motor planning and it was absolutely perfect and I cannot for the life of me find the link now.) Noah likes the IDEA of other kids, but not much else. Mostly he just wants to go to their houses and play with their toys. Over here, by himself. You go over there and do something else, preferably something that will allow him to keep 10 feet of personal space at all times. Independent or parallel play, but no cooperative play. No turn-taking, no engagement, blah dee bleep bloop blah go the assessments. Questions like "what is your name?" or "how old are you?" are not things he knows to ask -- hell, getting him to answer those questions is still a crapshoot. He gets anxious and unnerved around groups, easily annoyed by any inadvertent bumping or touching, tantrums when another child wants things done slightly different from him, is apt to wander away mid-conversation and avoid eye contact and generally just seems painfully aware of how painfully awkward the whole thing is. 

But oh, he's definitely improving. The private school, in particular, has been AMAZING at helping us with the more vague big-picture sort stuff like this. (The public school basically classifies social skills as "HITS, IS TROUBLE" or "DOESN'T HIT, THEREFORE FINE.") I've seen the improvements. I've written about the improvements!

Here is another improvement:

There's a slightly older boy who lives next door. I don't really know how old he is -- they're a diplomat family, the mother doesn't speak very much English and/or seems terrifyingly shy. Every morning she takes her son to the main bus stop around the corner where all the kids from the public elementary school get picked up, and most mornings she's just returning as Noah's bus picks him up right at our door before taking him to the exact same school. She wonders what's up with that, I can tell, but she doesn't ask. Her son is probably first or second grade, at least.

Sometimes the boy comes outside and joins Noah on his scooter. He's got a bigger, faster one, but slows down to indulge Noah's attempts to keep up with him. Noah refused to ask his name at first, but instead shrieked "LITTLE BOY! COME BACK HERE LITTLE BOY!" after him until I finally asked him myself.

"Noah talks funny," he said to Jason a few days ago, but he didn't seem too bothered by it.

Yesterday, after school, I was unloading Noah and Ezra from the car and told Noah he could play outside for a bit, since the weather was so nice. "Maybe your  friend will come out and join you," I suggested, gesturing at their front door.

Noah had a better idea. He walked up to their house and knocked on the door. Then he turned back to me, terrified. What had he done? What was he supposed to do now? He looked like he was about to turn and flee when the little boy came to door and opened it.

Noah stood there, completelysilent, while I watched from back on the sidewalk, wondering how much coaching I was supposed to provide. After what felt like hours but was probably seconds, Noah pointed at the boy's scooter parked in their foyer, then back at himself.

"Okay," the little boy said. "Let me ask my mom."

He emerged with his helmet on a few minutes later and they were off. He attempted to teach Noah how to play tag but goodnaturedly let it drop when it was clear Noah didn't understand how to play. They took a break and sat side by side on the curb for awhile, chatting about something I couldn't quite hear. 

Ezra was hungry, so we came inside and I kept poking my head out the door or window, chewing on my fingers and generally not really knowing whether it was okay to let Noah be and unsupervised, just out there on the sidewalk. I started to head back outside when I heard Noah ask the question:

"Do you want to come to my house and play?"

"Okay," the little boy said. "Let me ask my mom."

She arrived a minute or so later, struggling to explain that she needed to go pick up her husband, so actually if he could stay with us for 20 minutes or so, that would be really helpful. I assured her that it was fine.


The boys marched down to the basement and Noah stopped on the stairs and looked back at me. "You keep Ezra up there. Not down here. This is my friend." 

I know, Noah. I know!



Wow! Just wow!


Crying real actual tears down my face at my desk. Oh, oh, oh. Go Noah.


That's so wonderful.




Yay for Noah. Woohoo!


Wowzers, that makes my heart beat faster and my eyes tear must have felt like you were going to burst with pride.

Go Noah!

Dawn Diff

Yep, that got the big, fat, salty tears rolling down my face. Go, Noah, Go!!


Yahoo for impromptu play dates! Go Noah go!

Life of a Doctor's Wife

Oh my god my heart is so swelled up with happiness for all y'all that it might just pop out of my chest!

Yay Noah!

the Grumbles

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! psyched for you!!!!!


Oh Noah. Oh man you are so awesome Noah!!!


I just finished reading through all of your archives yesterday. It took me a while, but I'm glad I did, because I feel like I've gotten to know your family enough to be able to cheer for Noah when he makes a stride as significant as this. Go Noah!


Bravo, Noah! What an awesome kid!!!

Amy, is THIS the blog entry you couldn't find, about dyspraxia and social planning skillz? When somebody says they can't find something on the Internets, my bloodhound heart starts beating a little faster...


I really should stop reading your blog at work... not because I should, you know, be working, but because I'm sure I look like a fool with this huge grin and teary eyes! Even though I've never met him I am so proud of Noah!


Go, Noah!


I know you must be SO proud of your little guy! Go Noah!


That is just a billion kinds of awesome! Go Noah!

been there, done that

One (of the few) things you can do help Noah attract friends is let it be known treats are available at your house. At a dependable time. Every afternoon. Word will spread.


Your post on the crayons made me tear up with laughter. This one makes me tear up with sentimental joy.


Oh wow! If I am tearing up, I can't even imagine how you feel!


I just cried! Seriously, Noah, your internet aunties are so very proud.


Awh, that is just the best! And don't you love that you hesitated on intervening/coaching, and Noah got the chance to do it all on his own?!! Love it.

PS LOL re "this is my friend" Get see a lot more of that!


That story literally made the newlywed, child-less 26 year old me cry in my cube at work.

Happy tears. Good for Noah.

My Mom made the best chocolate chip cookies ever. Everyone always wanted to come play at my house, whether I wanted them there or not. (Truth be told, I wanted some processed Oreos, but uh, yeah. None of those.) Bust out the cookies or what have you and his new friend will be over every day :-)


Go Noah!

I've been reading you forever and thus I can't help but root for Noah from my little corner of Manhattan. I'll never get over how weird it is to feel pure joy at an internet stranger's son's triumph...but I'll take it.


Oh how I hope my girl does that someday.

Yay Noah!


Oh my! I am tearing up for him. That's just lovely.



That's so wonderful, I just had to delurk.

Patti B.

How wonderful :) I am so glad Noah had a fun day with his friend...happy for Mom too :)


I don't know how you'll take me saying this and using this word, but oh NORMAL (and awesome!) is THAT!!


Megan@Blueberry Scones

I was having a really crappy day today, but this post? It's all good now. What a beautiful story!


Wow- I don't know what else to say but congratulations, he's made so much progress!


Hooray, Noah! I'm so happy for and proud of all y'all! (Is that weird? I hope not!)


You really have an amazing way of putting these significant moments down on paper. I'm so happy to hear about Noah and his new friend!

I have been reading your blog since before you had children and now that I am training to specialize in child development, I wanted to let you know how much your experiences have helped me put myself into the parents' situation. Thank you.

Donna P

Delurking in ATL just to say I'm so proud of that little man! "His friend," indeed. Yay for Noah!


I beamed yesterday when I saw this on Twitter. Pleasebenicetomybaby!! :)


So awesome!!!!!!

She Likes Purple

Tears! I have tears!

I am toasting you both from over here, so you should probably go pour yourself a big glass of something strong.


What a sweet, sweet entry! I'm so proud of Noah.


Please please please share this post with the fancy private school and the regular school. These are the stories teachers don't get to hear but live for. P.S. You know I'm totally vaklempt.


OMG this made me cry at my desk. I'm so happy for and proud of Noah.


I'm cheering so loudly for Noah right now!


That is really such a great accomplishment for Noah. And what an awesome next door neighbor boy for taking Noah as he is. Wish all people treated each other like that...


Oh how absolutely wonderful for Noah! And You!!


Oh sweet, sweet Noah! What a wonderful story!


blowing my nose and wiping my eyes at my desk. It must be my allergies... :)


I love the poster who used the phrase "internet aunties". I totally feel that way towards your kids!! They are both so special in such beautiful ways! And they're so fun to read about! Go Noah! And Ezra, I hope you have normal coloured snot soon!


Wow, Noah! That actually made me cry a little. Good for him, and good for the little guy next door for being so kind and good with a younger kid.


This is so freaking beautiful. I'm not a mother but I am a speech pathology student who's interested in childhood development and I read your blog because it's like fuel to me. Noah is a great inspiration.

That is all.


Misty. I am misty and smiley. The leaps and bounds he is making are quite remarkable. Also, fist-bump for letting him figure out what to do once at the door.

Hairy Farmer Family

Hearing about Noah's triumphs and the very Mighty Ez improves my day no end. Partly because I'm a mother of ?dyspraxic HITS, IS TROUBLE, and partly because of the absolute sheer awesomeness of you all.


ummmm I am literally over here crying over your post. I work with kids with autism, they're problems are probably more severe in some ways then Noah's, but everything that you've just described is what I've always wanted for my students.


ummmm I am literally over here crying over your post. I work with kids with autism, they're problems are probably more severe in some ways then Noah's, but everything that you've just described is what I've always wanted for my students.


You made me cry at work. Thanks a lot. Yay for you and especially YAY for Noah.


This is wonderful! Go NOAH!!! I have been reading for 2 years and this is my first comment, but it made me cry and I got chills!!! So excited for him.


OMG! SOOO proud of Noah!



Sprite's Keeper

Damn it, I'm tearing up.
Go, Noah, go!

Saint Tigerlily

Okay, so obviously I'm a huge gigantic fan. You're wonderful, the blog is great, etc. This is one of those posts though, where my heart just bursts with joy for you - where I don't feel like I'm just "reading a blog" but rather, getting a peak into this perfect, huge, beautiful moment in Noah's life. Thank you.

Saint Tigerlily

That would be...peek. Not peak.


Tears! Yay! OMG!!!


I second Laney's comment. Feels weird, but I can't help but be teary & so stoked for you, for Noah, for his wonderful little friend.


Yay Noah!




GO NOAH!!!!!!!! Thanks for sharing (and ruining my eye makeup at the same time)


Our little boy has a FRIEND. A sweet boy that recognizes his limitations, and plays with him. I might cry.


Oh my god that is awesome! Yay Noah! I have tears in my eyes from his amazing successes! And Yay for you in letting him figure it out! A great big round of hugs to all of the Storches!

Lemon Gloria

I'm rather new to your blog and new to Noah's story and this sweetness totally made me tear up. Go Noah!


So wonderful! (And wonderfully written, too) Go Noah!




Oh God you made me cry at work.

(WOW. Buy the neighbor kid a pony.)

Amelia Sprout

Holy crap, I think I just nearly teared up over that.

Greg S.

The very definition of heartwarming.


Stop making me cry at work! Jeez! ;) What a gorgeous story.

Rebecca M.

Oh, Noah. SO MANY PEOPLE are super-proud of you.

and BoyNextDoor sounds pretty damn cool.


Yeah, Noah!

Such a happy story to read. So glad for y'all.


Yeah, Noah!

Such a happy story to read. So glad for y'all.


Oh man, that one made me cry.


chills and tears....oh my....go Noah, go! You must be so proud!


What an awesome post. And I saw myself first hand just how well Noah was doing on Tuesday. That kid is amazing. As are you.


That's awesome! But also, I'm wondering now what's up with my 8 yr old because... jeez, you just described him to a T too AND HE'S EIGHT! I never thought of it as socially awkward because, well, most of the boys his age are about the same but for a few gregarious ones. Noah's actually more outgoing than Ben because- KNOCK ON A DOOR? Are you kidding me?!?!?! But if Noah's EI people are concerned about it for him at 4, I wonder if I should've been too. Or should I be now... :S


I love every word you have ever written about Noah - the sad, the struggles, and the super-duper happy. Yay for friends, Noah!


Go Noah!!! WOO!!! It's so great to hear about his improvements.


I've been reading about Noah for a long time and ordinarily don't really get too into the saga as my own child is 16 and so far removed from this sort of thing.

But I wanted you to know this story really moved me.

I remember what it's like to see your child put himself out there for the first time. How your heart trembles on a tight rope and you just don't know if it will shatter in sadness or burst in pride. I can only imagine how it must be for you, with all he's gone through. My heart is kinda bursting with pride for you right now.

Kate the Great

THANKS, Amy. Now I'm CRYING. You've tried before to make the tears happen, but this is the first time you've succeeded. I hatechu.


Teary! Oh my goodness I am teary! Such a special moment. :)


Love those days when the universe seems to go just right. Yay for Noah!


Childless, spinster aunt here. I love my nephew, and I wish I could spend more time with him. He lives several hours away, and I don't get to see him that often. He too has some issues, mostly ADHD, but some learning disabilities too. My brother had the same types of issues at his age, and they are working through it.
Sometimes, I feel like I know Noah and Ezra better than I know my own nephew. I cry and smile and cheer every accomplishment, and get mad at every hurdle. Your writing about your children just glows with love. Thank you for letting us get a peek into your lives. (in a totally non-voyeur kind of way)


I have twins and one with SID and they play with each other perfect. Kids their own age, nope. Kids older, awesome, littler awesome. But their own peer group is impossible right now. (lets hope it is a maturity thing cause I don't know what to do)

Awesome progress! communicating, playing with and understanding what he was doing is huge maturing/confidence and something is working!


heartwarming. yay, Noah!! we're all rooting for you bud.


Oh my gosh, what a wonderful story. Go Noah!

Michelle Pixie

You must be bursting with glee! WOW!!

Melissa C

Oh my gosh, I'm supposed to be doing homework, but I thought, "I'll just take a second and catch up on some blogs...oh look, Amy updated!" and now I'm sitting here crying big baby tears of happiness for you and Noah. :) Rock on with your friend, Noah!


I am tearing up with pride over Noah...and he's not even my kid.

*sigh* I don't even HAVE kids and I'm proud.

Good job Noah!


I've got to ditto the tears, big smile, at work, comments.
Yeah! Go NOAH!
He's got such a big fan club here.


Oh wow, so so so happy for the progress he has made!!


It's moments like this that just make you day. Go Noah!



Also, you made me cry... again. Tears of joy, but tears nonetheless.

anne nahm



Amy, I'm crying at work again. People are starting to talk.

This is so wonderful. He is figuring it out on his own! What a miracle this child is!

Rage Against the Minivan

That is really, really, really awesome!

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