Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Controlling the Chaos, the Book Chaos

I have a weakness, one that I have passed down to my children. Books. I have to have them. It might be a problem. Last I checked I had over 100 downloaded to my iPad. In the house well lets not talk about that. Ok lets talk. If I was able I would have stacks everywhere, but alas I can not. You see you have to have this thing called furniture and a place to store food. Most people would probably like to walk. Trust me unchecked I would probably become a house on hoarders, just minus the garbage and dead cats.

My solution: I have restricted myself to one shelf. This helps by making me get rid of books I don't need and will probably never read. When I am done with a book I hold on to it for a bit then think will I read this again? If not off it goes. Off to ebay or donated to the library. Better than collecting dust around here.

One shelf may sound like a small amount of room but really you can fit a lot on it. That also does not mean that I don't have them stashed in my car and other rooms in the house. Just trying to not end up on hoarders one day.

Monday, April 7, 2014

My Messy Beautiful Marriage (Autism, Sex, and Marriage part 2)

A while back I wrote this post.  If you missed it go ahead go read it I will wait.............Ok are we all caught up now good.  I guess this is part two.

I could have called this post everything TV gets wrong and no one will tell you about marriage. In most TV and movies the girl always gets the guy and they ride off in the sunset happily ever after. Yeah sure that happens. For about a week. Then life hits. kids, bills, work, family. in all reality marriage is this messy, crazy, chaotic yet beautiful ride.

Honestly it is not the good times that define your marriage but the bad. How did you come out at the end. Husband and I have been through things that would have broken most people. Not because it was really bad, but because people expect the hollywood fairy tale all the time.

Sorry things will not always be perfect. There will be fights and disagreements. There will be gains and losses. There will be hard times as well as good. All of the messy is needed for the good. If everything was always butterflies and rainbows you wouldn't appreciate the good times. Then add special needs to the picture and crap things get messy.  It's also easy to get so lost in the triage of who needs what now to forget your spouse. To forget they need you too.

We tend to enter marriage with grand ideas and expectations. Then life smacks us in the face. is, addictions, special needs, sickness, death, people get laid off, bills get behind, and sometimes you just don't know how you put food on the table. These times are a blip. Years later when the kids are grown they will remember the struggles just not how you think. They wont say mom and dad couldn't provide for us, they say they did the best with what they had. They worked as a team to get through it all.

So in the end it is up to you. Are the two of you going to work together and enjoy the ride bumps and all, or will you throw in the towel and walk away.



*This essay and I are part of the Messy, Beautiful Warrior Project — To learn more  and add your blog, CLICK HERE! And to learn about the New York Times Bestselling Memoir Carry On Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life, just released in paperback, CLICK HERE!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Behaviors and The IEP

One thing many people do not realize can be put in a IEP is punishments for behaviors. Sure there's the Behavior intervention plan that is part of many IEPs but is what in there appropriate? Does it really help or does it increase behaviors?

I have seen IEPs where it it clearly stated that the child is not to be sent home for behaviors. Sometimes the schools get into a habit of calling mom or dad every-time the child acts out and having him sent home. This does not work.

The send the kid home approach makes behaviors increase not decrease. What the school is doing is teaching Johnny that hey if you act up we will call mom and you get to go home. Guess what Johnny just figured out how to go home and avoid whatever he doesn't want to do at school.

The fix is pretty simple. If it is stated that the school cannot call mom to come get Johnny because they are just reenforcing behaviors, the school is now forced to do other things. They can no longer just make a phone call and be rid of him. Same goes for suspension. For many kids in school suspension is a much bigger deterrent than out of school. One of my kids went through a suspension run. It didn't bother him because he had figured out how to get out of school.

Now they have to find out what is going on. Best way to stop unwanted behaviors is to find the reason behind them. What happened right before Johnny hit the teacher? What happened earlier in the day? Is this a build up or was there a trigger? Oh there was a disruption in the schedule. Ok what can be done in the future. We can warn Johnny of the change ahead of time when ever possible.

Behavior is communication. When everyone takes a step back and looks at the whole picture not just the act solutions can be found. Sometimes in this process you may find that Johnny is not in a proper placement, it can be as simple as changing teachers or as extreme as switching schools. When it comes down to it everyone's best interest needs to be making sure Johnny is in a setting that he can reach a full potential.

So my suggestion to any parent that finds themselves on the receiving end of phone calls from the school to come get Johnny. Demand a meeting. Sit down with the team. Demand answers to why the behaviors are occurring? What is the school doing? Are they trying anything or just skipping to calling home? Would a placement change help Johnny? Get a plan in line for appropriate actions that can be used rather than calling home. Make the school do their job. Make them answer. If your child is old enough an d wants to bring them into the meeting, let them have their say on what is going on.

The number one thing I would like to say is you are not a failure. Your child is not a failure. There is no shame in asking for help or making the school step up and help you find solutions. Remember in the end it is not about you, it is not about the school, it is about what is best for your child.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Disagreement vs. Bullying

A group of us noticed an increase in cyberbullying in the blogging community. Now we also noticed that what bullying is is very undefined. Disagree with someone oh your a bully. Call someone out on their behavior your a bully, call someone names bully, direct threats bully. We set up a flash blog to try and define this.  I will try to keep this one short.

Someone disagreeing with you is not bullying you. That is a difference of opinion. As long as they are not bring derogatory nope sorry not bullying. Example:

You say the sky is purple
Person A: says no it is not (not a bully)
Person B: not where I live (not a bully)
Person C: in my experience this is not true (not a bully)
Person D: not true posts article refuting your statement (not a bully)
Person E: you dumb ass can't you see the sky is orange. (Bully)
Person F: geeze can't you use proper grammar. (Bully)

Now you see there are many ways to disagree. Many times just disagreeing you will be called a bully, just because you do not agree. The real bullies are trashing the original poster in their responses. You can disagree but do not become derogatory or you are a bully. Do not attack with name calling. Do not be passive aggressive with grammar checks. Do not throw out statements you know will rile people up. That is all bullying. If you are doing it knock it off.


Thursday, February 27, 2014

Eligibility in High School

I have entered a whole new world at the High School. Eligibility. Eligibility is where they decide if you are eligible for special education services. This must be redone every three years. Sometimes everyone decides no further testing and you move on in the process. We were not so lucky.
During the three years since our initial eligibility we have moved school districts plus entered high school. So at our first meeting eligibility meeting it was said the school wanted to redo many of the tests that have already been done. This is partly because of the school district change and we have all of one round of testing for them to look at. So yes they need more information. We are not doing educational testing because it is not needed. We are also the only family that has a child in STAT academy with a IEP.
That's where things get fuzzy. It has already been said that they don't know how he will qualify again. The thing is while there is no issue with his grades right now all A'as and B's, if he loses services through the school he will lose the ability to use his iPad in class for schoolwork. If that is lost we will see a drop in grades. It is documented that since the implementation of the iPad his organization is better, work is getting turned in on time, and no more frustration with handwriting. You take it away and the frustration comes back, the behaviors gone back, everything.
This was just the first step. Next up is the actual eligibility meeting in May. Which will be good for another three years and will need to be done second semester of senior year.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

I'm Back

Ok so we had some issues with trolls. You know middle school like personal attacks. I mean really get a life come up with something better. Just the number of comments from one person I had to shut down for a bit. I mean really they used a fake profile. Didn't even have the balls to use their real name.

Which brings me to a new thing. Apparently rumor has it the new cool thing for bloggers to do is get fake profiles. These are not to protect their identity or anything like that. Nope it's to harass and be outright rude to others yet keep their squeaky clean I'm so great blogger act up. My understanding is the intent for these profiles is to cyber-bully.

Trust me I know by writing this the comments are going to come, they will bitch, they will cry. Even play the victim because someone wrote a blog about them. Well guess what if you think this blog is about you than you are a bitch who is doing more harm than good to our community. Go ahead whine. Get your mob to take up the pitchforks and come at me. In the end it speaks more to you and your mentality than it does me.

I will not be bullied into staying silent, just because I don't sit at the cool table. Your middle school behavior calling me fat, lazy, worthless, slut, etc.. Is just that middle school mean girl attitudes that you never grew out of. Your life must be pretty pathetic that you have to attack someone online that you don't even know. Cyber-bullying does not only affect kids. Adults can be victims as well.

"Why Don't We Call Adult Cyberharassment "Cyberbullying"? Parry Aftab reminds us that, with cyber-bullying and harassment, what we need to know as adults we already learned in kindergarten. How does that work when the Internet was a twinkle in Vint Cerf's eye when most of us were young? It's not complicated. We all understand name-calling, being excluded or being threatened at some point in our young lives. Now imagine that we could retaliate against anyone who has wronged us, made us angry, jealous or unfairly-judged and not get caught. If we were invisible, what would be do or say to those we dislike or hold in contempt? How would we lash out against others, what would we do that we would never consider doing openly? That is cyber-harassment, and when it involves spying, tracking and targeting our online activities, communications and friends, is "cyber-stalking." But for all purposes, they are interchangeable terms. Several things motivate cyber-harassment. These can range from boredom and the harasser seeking entertainment to personal vendettas, and include:
  1. Revenge
  2. Jealousy
  3. Righteousness
  4. Bigotry
  5. Fear
  6. Anger
  7. To get the attention of the target or others
Sometimes there is no motive at all, and the target was targeted merely because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. It becomes a cybercrime of convenience." https://www.wiredsafety.org/subjects/cyberbullying.php

Facebook also has this mob mentality to it it. One person says something and then all of the sudden a bunch of people grab their pitchforks and jump in. Just watch it. If person A doesn't like person B Than none of their friends will like that person either. They do nothing to stop it they just join in. No one says hey wait this is wrong. Nope they just grab a pitchfork and attack. Frankly that is just as bad as the person who started it.

People are so tied up in people on Facebook liking them. people they don't even know. sure you think you know them but really you don't. You know what they allow you to know. What they want you to know. SO in this quest to be liked we give up common sense and decency and jump on their bandwagon. A simple Google search will bring up multiple articles on the mob effect. These two are just examples of hundreds.

"Individuals do not always think critically about the information they receive when they are in a crowd. It’s simply easier to go along with what everyone else seems to be supporting.  "  http://www.pennlive.com/editorials/index.ssf/2011/08/mob_mentality_shows_dark_side.html

This is a great article on the Lynch-mob mentality of Facebook. "As mentioned earlier, social media has been lauded for the way it allows anyone with a social footprint to share their point of view. The trouble with anything that offers this kind of untethered “freedom” is that it often leads to untethered hate.
Instead of needing the bravery (stupidity?) to face someone head on and in person, the web allows the comfort of a screen and being thousands of miles away from the target of their abuse. Instead of leading to mature discussions around common goals, frustrations and injustices, it’s led to the bear pit mentality that we seem to be seeing more of. Ironically, as social media matures, the audience seems to be going the other way." http://dannybrown.me/2014/01/07/social-media-bullying-and-the-growing-lynch-mob-mentality/
Here is the thing cyber-bullying can have legal repercussions as well. There have been a few cases of cyber-bullying that ended not only in suicide but the tormentors being charged with murder. So you think its cute and just a little fun to be a jerk well it could land your butt in jail.
Some legal ramifications include but are not limited too: (vary by state as well
" Civil causes of action for alleged torts like defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence, premises liability, vicarious liability, and damages;Civil causes of action for alleged free speech, equal protection, and privacy violations;
• Student and employee discipline for harassment and violations of institutional policies and codes of conduct—Effective July 1, 2012, California elementary and secondary schools will also be able to suspend and expel students for cyberbullying that satisfies certain legal requirements under California Education Code section 48900(r); and
• Criminal charges and prosecution for hate crimes, impersonation, harassment, cyberbullying, and violations under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA)." http://safely.yahoo.com/blogs/expert-advice/civil-criminal-consequences-cyberbullying-064931462.html

So what should you do. http://www.stopbullying.gov/cyberbullying/how-to-report/index.html says:

"When cyberbullying happens, it is important to document and report the behavior so it can be addressed.

Steps to Take Immediately

  • Don’t respond to and don’t forward cyberbullying messages.
  • Keep evidence of cyberbullying. Record the dates, times, and descriptions of instances when cyberbullying has occurred. Save and print screenshots, emails, and text messages. Use this evidence to report cyberbullying to web and cell phone service providers.
  • Block the person who is cyberbullying.

Report Cyberbullying to Online Service Providers

Cyberbullying often violates the terms of service established by social media sites and internet service providers.
  • Review their terms and conditions or rights and responsibilities sections. These describe content that is or is not appropriate.
  • Visit social media safety centers to learn how to block users and change settings to control who can contact you.
  • Report cyberbullying to the social media site so they can take action against users abusing the terms of service.  

Report Cyberbullying to Law Enforcement

When cyberbullying involves these activities it is considered a crime and should be reported to law enforcement:
  • Threats of violence
  • Child pornography or sending sexually explicit messages or photos
  • Taking a photo or video of someone in a place where he or she would expect privacy
  • Stalking and hate crimes
Some states consider other forms of cyberbullying criminal. Consult your state’s laws and law enforcement for additional guidance.

Report Cyberbullying to Schools

  • Cyberbullying can create a disruptive environment at school and is often related to in-person bullying. The school can use the information to help inform prevention and response strategies.
  • In many states, schools are required to address cyberbullying in their anti-bullying policy. Some state laws also cover off-campus behavior that creates a hostile school environment."
"While we may feel it’s funny to latch onto a trending topic or viral event, it’s all too easy to forget in the heat of the moment what the eventual outcome may be.
I'm just trying to say stop being jerks. The drama and bullying distracts from any message you may really have.

The following movie is long but worth a watch. 



Friday, February 7, 2014

YAY

We went to the eligibility meeting yesterday at Roger's school and he is eligible.  Now we just have to get together and write his IEP.  Good thing I went to an IEP writing seminar last month just so I have an idea of what I want in and how it should be written (detailed vs vague) Tomorrow's fun will be the dentist.