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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…

New look, same old me

Camille Pissarro, Les chataigniers a Osny (The Chestnut Trees at Osny), 1873

I'm changing up the look of my blog again. I knew my old design, which wasn't really old at all as I'd switched up the format just a few months ago, wouldn't last. I know myself. I get itchy, restless. Some women change their hair color. Others go shopping for a new pair of shoes. Me, when I get twitchy like this, I usually think about moving. Over the past month I've found myself looking in the windows of a vacant property I pass on my morning walk. I love the layout, the light that puddles across the hardwood floor, the glimpse of the stairway that disappears to who knows where. I go round back, peer in through the slats of the blinds at the patio door. The pull is nearly irresistible. But that fantasy won't fly. We can't move again. We simply can't. We've moved so many times, mostly when I get that itch. My husband would almost certainly—and rightfully—divorce me. 

Instead I retreat to our upstairs bedroom where a large window looks out over our courtyard. Open to the breeze and the faraway voices of toddlers at play drifting in, the window reveals some neighboring buildings but mainly the view is of the upper branches of the large Ficus tree outside, green and leafy, with the soft blue California sky behind.  The trunk disappears below the second story window, the leafy treetop lies somewhere up and beyond what's framed within my view, like a painting.  The tree branches, long outstretched fingers reaching upwards, bejeweled with dots of emerald and jade, every shade of green, from deepest forest to palest celadon.  

Taking a deep breath, I open my laptop and ponder the new template sample I've been toying with. It's nothing fancy, but like the view from my bedroom window, it feels light and airy.  The background, a pale shade of California sky, is the same color I use on Chapter1-Take1. A color I love. I don't have to move. All I have to do is press "apply to blog" and I can breathe again. I can own my little corner of the sky.

What do you think? Do you like the change? 

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