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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…

On Doing Nothing #ThrowbackThursday

I don’t know how my son went from being my own teeny tiny beany baby to the smart, sweet, funny, handsome millennial who is just about to turn twenty three. All I did was blink. What the what! 
I wrote today’s #ThursdayThrowback piece back when he was in elementary school and I could see time spinning out of control. Published in Childrens’ Magazine, here in L.A. I had no idea the years would move so fast.
What I Like Doing Best is Nothing! 
"What I like doing best," said Christopher Robin, "is doing nothing"
"How do you do nothing?" asked Pooh after he had wondered for a long time.
"Well, it's when people call out at you just as you're going off to do it, 'What are you going to do Christopher Robin?' and you say "Oh nothing' and then you go and do it"
"Oh, I see," said Pooh.
"This is a nothing sort of thing that we're doing now."
"Oh, I see," said Pooh again.
"It means just going along, listening to all the things you can't hear, and not bothering."
"Oh!" said Pooh.
So that's what doing nothing is.
Even back in 1928, when this Pooh story was written, the notion of letting children do nothing didn't last. When Christopher Robin prepares to go off to school he tells Pooh, "I'm not going to do nothing anymore." Pooh says 'Never?' and he answers, 'Well, not so much. They don't let you.'
These days we don't let them do nothing before they can even walk. Before we know it, we're arranging regular playdates and signing our children up for a dizzying array of Kiddy Klay, Swim and Gym, Pre-Tap and Toddler Tumbling classes.

Suddenly it's time for preschool and we think ... 

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