In other, less polarizing news*, you want to know who's doing great? These fools. Or more accurately, these three wise guys. Are just great. Can't really speak for the cat, though. Over the past couple weeks, we've had both all our parent-teacher conferences AND Noah's IEP meeting, re-evaluation/pre-middle-school year edition. Let's recap. Noah's self-confidence has EXPLODED this year (possibly thanks to the social skills program he attended over the summer, plus a med switch that's been like night and day), and it's showing in just about every aspect possible at school. After almost failing math last year (but turning things around in the last semester), his latest report card was all A's and B's, he enjoys tests and studying and writing, keeps himself organized and on schedule, and is starting to open up to new topics and interests and friends. He continues to be amazingly self-aware and self-advocating, and just overall seems much happier and bubbly and just...yeah. Confident. It's a really good look for him. At his conference, his teacher mentioned his (obvious) love and passion for history and social studies, but said it was a struggle to redirect him from the non-fiction section and into more literary texts... Read more →


Well, that didn't take long. I sent Ezra's teacher some evaluation forms and surveys on Monday. She filled them out that same day and faxed them directly to our doctor, like, OMG GET THIS KID SOME HELP. The doctor called within 24 hours and was like, whoa, yeah, that's ADHD and also OMG GET THIS KID SOME HELP. This is the book Noah's therapist read to him after he was formally diagnosed and we made the decision to start medication. I just ordered a copy for Ezra, and yes, we are making the same decision for him. We were very reluctant and resistant with Noah, and in retrospect we agree that we waited too long. Believe me, we tried just about all of the alternative med-free strategies, multiple therapies, diet changes, you name it. We didn't just throw up our hands and spring for the meds to make our lives easier. (Well, okay, I did throw out one of those ADHD IS A PACK OF LIES-type book that my MIL gave us after a cursory Google search on the author, revealed her to have close ties to the church and teachings of Scientology. Didn't even recycle it. Not even a... Read more →


Special Needapalooza

I went to Noah's IEP meeting yesterday, our first "real" meeting with the new school. We had an initial "move everything from County A to County B and try to not let anything get lost in translation" meeting in the beginning of the year, but this was the Actual Annual Big-Deal one, where we determine services for the next 12 months. The good news is that...well, it's all good news. Noah has transitioned beautifully and his new team loves him, and even better, REALLY understands him. After years of being classified solely as a SPD/ADHD kid at his old school, to the point that the team seemed surprised by his eventual Autism diagnosis (and then had to rapidly overhaul his IEP), I think it was really beneficial to move into this school with the ASD code firmly in place. No question, Noah needs those specific needs met, and here is everything this school can possibly provide. His new IEP is strong, comprehensive and best of all, was written from the point of view that this is just who Noah is and how he thinks and learns. He is not a problem to be solved. He is a child who will... Read more →


This morning was Noah's first IEP meeting at the new school, with the new team. It was, as always, thrilling and full of drama and I lost my cool and flipped the conference room table over at least twice. Wait, no. Opposite of that. It was actually pretty boring, since it was mostly about moving everything from our old county's IEP form to our new country's IEP form, which we received a couple weeks ago covered in Post-It notes explaining evvvvvvvvery single checkbox and code and category because everything from the old IEP transfers, but it's all just called something slightly different. If I came away with any great insight on moving a special needs child from one Maryland district to another that I can pass along to you, I guess I'd say that Montgomery County IEP forms allow a little more flexibility on a kid's pull-out hours and certain accommodations can be marked as "ONLY IF NEEDED." Howard County IEP forms are like, NO WAY, YOU GONNA DOCUMENT THAT SHIT DOWN TO THE MINUTE. (Also, you have to give them explicit permission to use wearable sensory tools like weighted vests, blankets, etc. on your child because they have technically... Read more →


Over the past week, we have attended three different parent/teacher conferences. Which I guess makes sense, given that we have three different children, but still. What a damn timesuck that ends up being. Something to consider for any ongoing family planning purposes, you guys. . All three conferences were fairly uneventful. Ike enjoys learning about animals and seems very comfortable "exploring the classroom space." (Translation: wandering around like a hopped-up ping-pong ball.) He is going through a "big vocabulary development phase." (Translation: He never ever shuts up.) Occasionally he can be quite "independent" (stubborn, difficult, made of NO, the perfect embodiment of every 3 year old ever) but is easily "redirected" (look Ike, it's something shiiiiiny!). He is not a big fan of the Montessori "Practical Life" activities. (Translation: Table dusting? Floor mopping? Silver polishing? WTF decade do you people think this is? Child labor laws and Dyson vaccuums. Look 'em up, assholes.) Noah enjoys...oh, throws up hands, Noah enjoys school and has the best teacher in the universe who responds to his occasional rigidity with all the calming flexibility of a gentle, graceful birch tree, who absolutely adores him and says things like, "oh, my heart!" when describing his... Read more →


Noah's Back to School Night writing assignment. Write a letter to your parents and tell them a few things about school. Details to include: 1) Something you like ("the commutative propertay") 2) Something you LOVE ("the cromebooks") 3) Something new you're learning ("divide and multyply") 4) Your favorite subject ("math is very esay.") 5) How you felt on the first day of school ("excited")... And... 6) How you feel about school now. So yeah. An update in his own words. We're all really, really enjoying third grade so far. Read more →


So. Noah's field trip to Mt. Vernon. Remember that? "Oh, advise me, Internets, for I am anticipating a great many problems and only have a week to work myself into a full-on hizzy about!" Yeah. It went fine. Noah was fine. Shrug? I wasn't able to go after all — apparently Mt. Vernon is one of those field trips that EVERYBODY wants to chaperone, so they were flooded with volunteers. (As opposed to the boring old pumpkin patches or nature centers, which I get consistently roped into.) Thanks to Noah's strep-related absences, by the time we got our form in we were solidly in the way, way back of the line. (I even wrote a note on our form to the effect of "you should mos def pick me because something something beneficial rigidity freak out speshul snowflake something." They did not pick me, but anyone not picked as chaperone was welcome to drive separately behind the buses and pay full price admission and and drive separately home and you know, on second thought? THAT SOUNDS LIKE EFFORT. NEVER MIND. YOU GUYS FIGURE IT OUT.) So in the end, we sent him off blindly, with a half-hearted pep talk that... Read more →


Pretty Okay

I hope I've told y'all this before, but just be sure I'll tell you again: You are the best. You. And you. All of you. I'm making swirly-type all-inclusive hand motions at my laptop screen. Thank you for all being so polite and kind and encouraging this week, in comments and emails. I've read every single one and hopefully can start plowing through some replies soon. (As for the TwitBookFace thingies, I hope you'll forgive me for being too skittish to look over there right now. Everything is too calm and reasonable! The crazy/mean people must be hiding somewhere else! Let's...not go looking for them.) Anyway, I'm not entirely sure what to write about next. It's been a lot to process. I guess let's start with some blunt talk about ADD/ADHD medication. What could go wrong? That's not controversial at all! Ha ha! Man, it's too early to be this drunk. Noah started his medication yesterday morning. We waited until he could see his regular therapist on Monday, who guided us through the conversation about ADD and what it is and what the medication does. And what it doesn't, since Noah was very scared that it would change him or... Read more →


The Long and Winding Road

Last week, out of the blue, one of the doctors finally called us back. The one we wanted to see in the first place, but had given up on. He could see us on Sunday. Would that work? Uh. Yes? Noah and I spent several hours with him yesterday. I sat with my giant binder on my lap — every piece of important paper we've generated since the Early Intervention days — while Noah played with a Magic 8 Ball and simultaneously broke my heart and took my breath away with his amazingly self-aware and articulate answers to the doctor's questions. I see too many things all the time. I'm always distracted. My ears don't work. My brain needs to be fixed. Can you help fix it? I want to be smart and I'm not. My ways are not the world's ways. And: There's a war in my head and the bad guys are winning. Of course, these responses came out in between long, detailed descriptions of the entire plot of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and were spoken while he turned upside-down and backwards on the couch, as if it were physically painful for him to sit still... Read more →


The Stuff in the Space Between

Throughout all the hours with bouncy-voiced strangers, the weekly treks to various therapies, the years of classroom pull-outs and special accommodations, Noah never asked us why. Not surprising at first, of course, since the majority of our early efforts centered around his reluctance to talk much at all. And even though he's never been the most flexible child, there was still always that element of understanding that We Took Him Places Sometimes, And So He Was At That Place, Okay, Cool. Most of the places we took him were pretty fun, anyway, and full of grown-ups who played games with him the whole time. Best not to question it. But now, the Matrix is glitching. School is not fun. School is hard. School is hard for him, in a way it doesn't seem to be for the other kids. The other kids, whom he still doesn't understand how to be friends with, or why he should even want to be friends with them, especially since they don't understand why it's so hard for him to stay calm and still at school, seem to have it easier. And now he wants to know why. And he doesn't just want to know... Read more →