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A + for The A-Word: The most authentic look at Autism on screen.

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I worked for several years with a succession of autistic children—which mostly means boys—kids who were mainstreamed in regular education classrooms, with a classroom aide assigned to shadow them. That was me, the shadow. 

We also lived next door to a family who had an autistic son who became one of our son’s closest playmates, until we moved away at the end of elementary school. Chris, with his funny idiosyncrasies is the source of some very sweet memories, as well as moments of high drama. That’s what you get with autism, children who can be deeply involved when their needs and passions are directed and shared but who can sometimes find it frustrating when those needs are brushed aside. 

It’s typical for an autistic child to want to talk about dinosaurs—or whatever the passion is—and be frustrated while the rest of the kids have moved on to another topic. The autistic child is focused on that stegasaurus and exactly how cool it is, just not quite getting that the others don't shar…

Signs of Spring

It must be Spring. The leaves that fell from the tree last fall and landed on the patio have been rained on and rerained on so many times they’ve formed a rich carpet of mulch on the cement that only a shovel will be able to remove. The umbrella that was hanging from the front hall chair has been put away deep in the closet and the empty planter swinging from the shepherd’s hook just beyond our front door is crying out for color. A pair of ducks from the pond across the street, a dazzling green headed male and his mousy brown spouse, have taken up residence on the lawn across from our townhouse. The hills are still so green here in the Conejo that if you squint and block out the freeway exit signs you can almost trick yourself into believing you’re in Ireland on holiday. And at the end of the month, the kids at least, will be on spring break.
Maybe the luck of the Irish has rubbed off on you and you’re off to some exotic locale - far enough away to escape your day to day world as well as the thousands of American college students looking to rip off the heavy cloak of winter - and in some cases, a tad more. For the rest of us who are homebound this spring there’s still plenty to do to celebrate the rites of spring. Tomorrow, a look at some of those ways.

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