Wednesday, August 29, 2012

This Years Letter

This is this years teacher letter, updated and edited hopefully to help for the year. I leave out IEP info because teachers can read that themselves and I don't want to start the year off seeming like I think they don't read it. I also leave out any medical descriptions of any of our dx's. I assume they know what autism is and if they don't they can always ask. I always felt it was patronizing when someone would start explaining autism to me. Yes please tell me about your autism, yourself, your child, but leave out all the medical stuff. When I was in the schools if I didn't know what something was I would ask or go look it up, so I always assume and give the teachers respect that they are professionals. I do tell them about my child though, that's where I'm the professional.

Dear Teacher,
We have set up this form letter to give to every teacher to help them better understand our son, Roger.  His IEP has all his testing and the education plan so I will stick to some things you may experience with him.   Roger has been diagnosed with autistic disorder.  The co-existing conditions that Roger has are: Sensory Processing Disorder, Auditory Processing Disorder, Anxiety, Executive Functioning Disorder, a movement disorder, as well as a history of what we believe are absence seizures.   I just wanted to let you know a little more about him in writing and it’s easier than verbally trying to explain it all.

While these issues are complex, you probably won’t be able to tell anything is different, at least for a while.

Roger is a very smart child that pays attention to very small details and can get “lost” in the shuffle of daily activities.  Working together as a team with open and frequent communication is the key to helping Roger manage himself and find his place.

We have been working with Roger to develop self-help and coping techniques so that he can manage the over-stimulating and confusing world around him. This year we are hoping he begins to use some of the self advocating skills we have worked on, such as asking for help, knowing when he is overwhelmed and asking to leave to regain composure, and asking for clarification on directions.

Some of the things we have found that help Roger are:

One of the challenges with his auditory processing disorder is sometimes he does not always hear what was said to him.  Visual Cues are key:  Charts, Outlines, Graphics (Visual will always work better than auditory).  He will have a folder for each class, inside of it I will place a checklist for him to look at to help him remember what supplies to bring to class. He will also jump into following directions as he thinks it should be done. A example from home is emptying the dishwasher, if he is told to empty the dishwasher he will, but he will not look to see if they are clean, so he will do as he was told empty the dishwasher but skip looking to see if they are clean first.

With The executive function disorder Roger has almost no organization. In the past, he would often forget his belongings and then later would “melt-down” over forgetting something.  He is determined this year not to improve on this.  Roger almost never relays information to me about his day and would never remember verbal instructions to be told later, using a planner has been a struggle for Roger.  He doesn’t know what to write down or how to write it down. We have found that by using technology such as his iPad he can place reminders in and use the alarms to remind him about important assignments. If he gets behind on assignments which he has done I ask that I am notified immediately preferably by email.  If I know about it at the start I can assist him in getting back on track before it snowballs into something that overwhelms him.

With the sensory processing disorder little things in the environment will distract him.  He does not have problems with the loud noises it is the little noises that affect him.  An example is the sound of pencils on paper. When the environment becomes too much sometimes he needs a short break to clear his head.

Some things you may notice are Roger has a few what we call tics.  He constantly has small movements, tapping legs, moving arms, and some facial and head tics at times.  He cannot control these movements and when they are pointed out they become worse as he tries to control them.  When he gets anxious or frustrated these movements also become more noticeable.  There have been a few occasions that this has looked like a seizure.  He has had extensive testing and does not have a seizure disorder it is just anxiety.  Usually removing him from the situation for a few minutes will calm him down and help him to regain his composure. Again the best response is to allow him to leave the room and regain his composure.

While he does not have a seizure disorder he does have a history of what may be absence seizures.  There are no movements with these. More often than not he will just have a blank stare, if he is speaking during on his speech will slur.  They are very quick and often not noticed by anyone around. Rarely he will get a headache after a episode and become very tired.
Roger is a very mild mannered boy and won’t cause any trouble in class.  He is shy at first and then he becomes very entertaining the more he opens up to people.  School can be difficult for him. Especially the social aspect of it.
We appreciate your willingness to educate our son.  We are looking forward to working with all of you and having a great school year this year.  Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions or if any problems that arise.

My Name
Phone number and email address

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Literal Thinking

One thing we have to remember in our house is that the kids think literally. By this I mean what you say is what they expect. Couple of examples of this.

Once someone said its raining cats and dogs. Lucy ran to the window expecting to see cats and dogs falling from the sky. Of course they were not. She said its not raining cats and dogs it's raining rain.

Yes Gordon Ramsey comes into this. Roger got up early today. He was hungry so he used his iPad to look up how to make scrambled eggs. Then he waited for someone to get up so he could cook. Husband walked by and asked what's up with Gordon Ramsey here? Rogers response I'm not Gordon, if I was I would be blond, speak in a french accent, and be yelling at her to get out of the kitchen. Husband just laughed and walked away.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

All Cats By: Roger

**This is Rogers Review of All Cats Have Aspergers.  We checked this book out from our local library and the views presented are his views.****

What Roger says:  It basically says that people with Asperger syndrome are like cats. I HATE CATS!!!!!

What mom Says: Cute pictures, a lot of the stereotypical things are said such as likes to be close to people they love but not held by them. Attached to objects not people. Even though stereotypical examples are used they are used well by saying he may or its possible rather than he will and everyone with aspergers does. Overall I think it had a good message of acceptance in the end. Also one of the few I have seen that points out strengths as well.  Lucy liked the pictures, Roger is allergic to cats so that is where the I hate Cats comes from.

a youtube video of aspergerkid (his youtube name) reading the book. I do not know him just found the video.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Petitions and Why I Avoid Them

Don't get me wrong I'm not living in Lala land where discrimination never occurs. I know it does and I'm sure many petitions are valid but you have to remember it is only one side of a story without both sides you really don't know the whole story. I know things are not black and white there is a lot of gray and their are always exceptions and extreme cases that need to really be looked at where the status quo wont fit.

Here's my example from clear out in left field, A person puts a petition up against oh lets say a concert venue. The letter is full of feeling and emotion saying how they went to see their favorite band play and were so excited but when they got to the door they were denied entry by staff. They claim it was because they have a disability, everyone jumps on board signing the petition that the person should have been let in and some compensation should be made. You with me so far? Finally the public hears from the venue itself. It comes out the person had a ticket for the following night's performance and that is why they were denied admission. 

  OKI know my example is a bit extreme but you get the point. You never really know what the situation is unless you can see all the documents and evidence from both sides of the story. Just remember it's easy to claim lots of things against a party who legally can not respond to allegations due to privacy laws.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Somewhere Over The Sea Review and Giveaway

Somewhere Over the Sea: A Father's Letter to His Autistic Son
In this deeply moving and elegantly written book, Halfdan W. Freihow takes Gabriel, his young autistic son, on a journey through the full spectrum of human experience. With great love, profound tenderness, and gentle wit, Freihow captures Gabriel’s triumphs and disappointments, his joy and frustration, while struggling to help him make sense of a world that he himself does not, and cannot, fully comprehend. A powerful, honest, and achingly beautiful narrative, Somewhere Over the Sea describes a complex, loving relationship that is sometimes fraught with misunderstanding, but always bolstered by unconditional love. A must-read for all parents.” (

This is not your typical autism parent book. 

First this is a dad’s perspective, second it’s 

not doom and glum.  It is a sincere and loving 

account of a fathers love for his child. It’s 

not all rainbows and flowers he does show the 

hard parts but shares the rewarding aspects of 

raising a child. There is a very brief 

explanation of autism and ADHD at the end. 

Great story that everyone should read. Gabriel 

is shown as a real person, a person with 

feelings, a person who thinks, feels, and 


Thanks to the publisher I am doing a giveaway 

of one copy of Somewhere Over the Sea. If you 

want to win just leave a comment. Winner will 

be picked at random (name in hat method) by 

Roger on Friday August 31, 2012 at 4pm EST.