Hi, I'm Shannon Des Roches Rosa AKA Squid Rosenberg, and holy hell,  I'll be updating this sad outdated About page by December 2010. 

Until then, please browse all the things I've written or said about autism & iPads, and peruse my guests posts and interviews round up


Important Autism Links:

  1. New autism families need hope and support more than anything else. Feel free to pass on my open letter to any parent who thinks their child may have autism.
  2. A child's autism diagnosis can make parents desperate and vulnerable in their search for support. Be careful about identifying and avoiding autism cults.
  3. We were on fear-induced vaccination hiatus for three years, but now vaccinate all of our children, Leelo included.
  4. Jenny McCarthy means well, but her partisan take on autism and vaccines is doing many children a grave disservice.
  5. I also write about parenting special needs children as a BlogHer community editor.

I have been blogging about autism and parenting since July 2003, initially to provide a pressure release valve during the emotional thunderstorms that followed my son's autism diagnosis, and while my husband and I sifted through the various autism therapies, treatments, and cures!! being offered at the time.

"Autism" is helpful as a general shoehorn term for school districts or insurance companies, and to help facilitate accommodations in hotels, theme parks, airlines, etc. Otherwise, people with autism are as varied as any other population. We try to focus less on Leelo's autism and more on the areas in which our son needs help learning to be independent.

My original title was "The Adventures of Leelo the Soon-to-Be-Not Autistic Boy and His Potty-Mouthed Mom," if you can believe it. But 2003 was a geologic era away, with regards to autism information, approaches, and awareness, as well as my own attitude. I have long since turned my energies away from theoretical and unproven "cures" and focused my attention on the cute, sweet, challenging boy of the present. My own initial bewilderment about being the parent of a special needs child long ago metamorphosed into mama bear fuck-you righteousness: take your pity elsewhere.

We have had access to some of the best autism therapies, support, and approaches available. I continue to blog largely because I feel it is my obligation to document Leelo's progress for other families and professionals who either cannot afford or get their school district to pay for the help we have, or who may not have considered some of the methods we use.

I also firmly believe that blogging can make a difference in the real world. Readers of my blog have funded equipment for our school district's occupational therapy program, helped my daughter Iz raise money that was hand-delivered to an education project in Cambodia, and contributed hugely to the content and success of the Can I Sit With You? book/blog project that I run with Jennyalice from jennyalice.blogspot.com.

If you know a parent of a child with autism, please ask them how they are doing. I get heartsick each time I hear parents of special needs children talk about how isolated they feel. If you have a friend or acquaintance with a special needs child, please believe me that they could use your support no matter how competent and independent they may seem, how much help you think they already have, and despite how uncomfortable you may feel in asking.

At the moment we are spending most of our time in our backyard, in Leelo's beloved pool and on his trampoline. We put every last bit of our resources into this house, but it was worth it: Leelo now has the space and more of the resources he needs, his sisters have their own separate space if they need it, and our house is enticing enough that our friends and their children want to visit -- and can stay over. The latter factor is increasingly important, as it is becoming difficult for us to socialize when Leelo is off his home turf, and we don't want him to become the odd boy in the high tower.


Squid D'Artagnan Rosenberg is a pseudonym, as are the names I use for my husband Seymour, and children Isobel (Iz), Leelo, and Mali. That is my preference for the writing on this blog. Anonymity, however, is not the concern it used to be (hi, Mom!).

You can reach me at shannonrosa/@/yahoo.com, or at twitter.com/shannonrosa. My Facebook account is private.

This blog is also my sole personal journal, and as such is not always tuned to the autism channel.

I occasionally do reviews for products and services that I think my family and readers might enjoy or find useful -- but on a separate blog, Squidalicious Reviews. I am always honest in both my opinions on the products, in disclosing exactly how they came into my hot little hands, and whether or not I was compensated for the review.

I migrated from an original to a comment-enabled Blogger template in 2008, and in doing so severed access to 5 years worth of HaloScan comments. If anyone knows how to import those comments into the current version of Blogger, let me know. The raw file is sitting on my desktop, mewling.


  1. Dear Leelo and his potty-mouthed mom,

    I've just discovered your blog completely accidentally and I have to say I'm slightly shocked. Leelo is also my name and I'm a girl. Moreover, it's an old and quite rare Estonian name. I'm wondering if it's your real name and how did you get it.
    Now, I need to take some time to get used to the idea.

  2. Dear Squid,

    please forgive me contacting you, but I am someone who has been lurking on your blog for the last couple of years. I am a single librarian from Australia aged 35 who has no children, but enjoy your writing and am interested in how you deal with what seems to be quite a challenging set of circumstances (understatement of the year!). I was a librarian to a non-profit welfare agency who specialised in helping children and youth for a while, and found your insights and recommendations very helpful for the staff, especially the counsellors who operated a children's telephone hotline, called Kids Helpline. I found your blog through the former lamented blogger Joshua Norton. I hardly ever comment because my experience is so different and seems so limited and I never feel that I have anything helpful or enlightened to say.

    I followed your link to Gwendomama also and have been following her story, albeit with quite a lot of concern recently. Again I have not commented, because I don't think a spurious comment from an Australian whom she has never met and with which she has little in common (except music) would be helpful to her, even if I do admire her sensitive and graceful writing, loving parenting and enthusiastic advocacy. I attempted to connect to her blog today and was blocked - it seems you now need permission to read it. I
    completely understand that at present she needs to do this. I would like to contact her and ask her permission to read it, but can't find an email address for her. Would you be very kind and ask her to email me if she doesn't mind me reading it? If you know that she has restricted it only to people she knows personally I understand. The last thing I want is to bother her unnecessarily at present, but if you think that this would not be a hassle I would appreciate it. At the very least, I'd be grateful if you would convey my concern and good wishes and prayers.

    Sorry for making you wade through such a long and qualified letter! I feel a bit shy in contacting people I admire but don't know and it has made me extra apologetic and long-winded. Thank you for persevering to the end!

    Sheena Walsh, Brisbane, Australia

    P.S. I just tried to send you an email, but gmail won't recognise the address for some reason.

  3. Dear Squid,
    I just randomly clicked the "next" button on my Blogspot blog and came across yours. I can't help but feel like someone is looking out for me, as my latest research work has been in developing interactive media systems for social learning in collaboration with teachers and high school kids in special education.

    My top priority is continuing to develop learning scenarios that engage students in collaborative play frameworks (i.e., games for learning & social change), but my overall goal is to create opportunities for them to build social networks that move beyond the special education classroom. There are uncountable ways in which these kids are segregated and stigmatized through policy, educational frameworks, architecture, public perception, etc. that I would like to instantiate change from the inside out. I want these kids to be able to demonstrate their true talents by designing spaces for personal creativity that includes creating media (images, video, audio) and working with off-the-shelf robotics.

    My current interest is in getting parents involved in the learning design process for their own children. I am a graduate researcher at Arizona State University and am wondering what would be the best way to bring parents on board? What do they need to participate or feel comfortable participating? And because this work is about building social networks and inclusive opportunities rather than finding the best "clinical method" out there to "fix our children", how might I position this work to really interest parents and siblings in working closely with a team of researchers?

    I'm happy to read your blog, and I will try bookmarking to it!

    Also, just in case you or other readers happen to be in the Phoenix, AZ, area from January 29-31st, I am organizing a film festival on theme of difference and ability which looks at the multiple ways in which our cultural practices construct dis/ability in our world. This is supported by both the Mary Lou Fulton School of Education with a generous performing arts venture and entrepreneurship (p.a.v.e.) grant from the School of Theater and Film.

    Take care, and happy holidays!

    Lisa Tolentino
    School of Arts, Media and Engineering
    Arizona State University

  4. I just love this wonderful blog.

    I've watched a movie about autism lately and was deeply touched by how the parents of the victim offered tirelessly their time and money to see to it that their boy is offered the needed help that suits him.

    I can see that you're on the same tract and you ought to be congratulated.



  5. What a wonderful blog :)

    I've found my way here through my travels and wanted to say what a pleasure it was to read your posts.

    Stacie from Australia


Respectful disagreement encouraged.

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