Thursday, February 24, 2011

getting my groove back

I was really overwhelmed on Monday when I spoke with the lawyer regarding Elliott's case and his school district. I cried and thought and cried and thought and talked and talked with Ryan. I emailed all of my crazy awesome mom-of-autistic-kid friends on Facebook who know so much more than I do about all of this stuff. I have decided to stay in Redlands for now, not to hire the attorney, learn the law myself and advocate for Elliott as best I can. I'm prepared to politely but assertively take on this district and go to mediation and due process if we need to. I'm ready to attend school board meetings and notify the newspapers as well. I'm motivated and therefore less depressed about it all. Next Friday is the big meeting. Bring it on.

Monday, February 21, 2011

rise to me

The Decemberist's lead singer wrote this about his son with autism. It makes me cry.

when all of your options suck

I went to see a lawyer today and though he was telling me stuff I already kind of sort knew in the back of my head but had suppressed, it was overwhelming and I cried in his office. It was embarrassing. He told me that he was expensive. He told me that Redlands Unified is one of the most difficult districts to work with in terms of autism education. He asked me if I was attached to living here. He gave me my options:

1) Stay in Redlands and hire a lawyer for a lot of money and fight the man. This will likely be long and costly and frustrating because this IEP team is particularly undereducated and overenthusiastic.
2) Move. Go to a district that is better equipped to handle the needs of kids with autism and more likely to include him in a comprehensive program. Even if we'd need to retain a lawyer, it would be minimal. Our options? Etiwanda and Riverside.
3) Keep doing what we're doing. Knowing that Elliott isn't fully getting what he needs or is entitled to. Knowing that this district sets low expectations for kids with autism and doesn't provide those kids with comprehensive, inclusive, appropriate education. Sure, we are getting some of this for him, but I know it's not what it should be. It's been a stop-gap measure.

I don't have a lot of money. I don't have any money. I don't want to move. I don't want to have to uproot Ben and Elliott. My stomach is all tied up in knots over this.

Also, we found bed bugs in our room last night. And Ryan suffered a neck injury. And I started my period today.

Ugh. Elliott's IEP is overdue, and I don't even know what the next step should be. But I'm pretty sure those bed bugs are regretting ever meeting me. I spent a full four hours today dealing with those little bastards.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

e's birthday party

So here are some ideas for gifts for Elliott.

My wish list from Super Duper Publications (games for kids with autism):

An ipod shuffle (which we'd load with kids' songs for him).

A kids' boombox with a microphone.

Fisher Price record player...the vintage one (we're going to hunt this down...I think he'd love it!)

Cars or trains

Two tickets to Vegas

Thanks! Love you all. More to come probably. :)

Sunday, February 06, 2011


For the past 9 months or so, I've been fundraising for autism research and preparing to do the Surf City Half-Marathon in Huntington Beach. I raised almost $1400, thanks to the generosity of my family and friends. I trained for 12 weeks to prepare. The night before the race, I got a text from one of my friends asking me if I got my bib yet. I just figured I'd get it the morning of the race. I wasn't too concerned until, as I was finishing loading music into my Shuffle, I looked for the race day instructions. And there in bold it said: There is NO race day pick up.
I started freaking out. I cried. I emailed everyone on our team. I hyperventilated and I may have thrown something. Then, I got a call from someone on the team who I hadn't met before and she kindly told me to show up at 5:30 a.m. to beg for my packet. I was so grateful, but still had a hard time sleeping.

So I woke up at 3 a.m. to drive to the beach. I got there at 4:30 and waited outside the tent until it opened. I was so relieved when they gave me a bib number! I could race!

13 miles is long. And I'm sore. Ryan met me at the end and he, I, and our friends from our team had a bunch of beers and hamburgers together. The fog cleared and it was 70 degrees and beautiful.

I'm very proud of myself for actually doing this. In some weird way, training for this and raising the money makes me feel like at least I'm making some contribution to help Elliott and other people with autism. On top of that, I ran it in 2 hours and 8 minutes, which was way faster than I expected!

It was a beautiful day.