Here's what I did yesterday:
- Launched The Thinking Person's Guide to Autism book/blog project with Jen, Liz, and Emily. We're going to be a little bit of Snopes for the autism community. And we want the community to participate, too, so ping me to pitch a post.
- Wrote a BlogHer article on finding feminist mentors so girls like Iz can continue to love superhero comic books without internalizing their objectification of women.
- Got invited to read my My Baby Rides the Short Bus story at a bookstore in Manhattan August 7, 7 PM, details forthcoming, Jen's reading too!
- Put Leelo to bed in underwear -- not pullups -- for the first time in his life.
We're still flying high from Leo's acceptance into what Jennyalice calls "Wunderskool."
Now the only issue is whether we'll be allowed to retain the behavioralist services of Supervisor M. I think it's reasonable to reduce her hours given how well-suited the school will be for Leo, but as they do not officially use a behavioral approach and Leo can have crappy winters, I think it would be reasonable to engage her on a limited and transitional and need-based basis. I hope the school district agrees. Our transitional IEP is in three days; we'll see then.
As for how Leelo did during his Wunderskool tour: we walked in and they whisked him away before I'd even, finished signing in. I freaked out a bit -- there has never before been such thing as casually handing Leo off to strangers -- but he didn't mind, so off he went.
I waited in the office, showing the staff Leo's iPad and blowing their minds a bit, and then ... Jen showed up! And listen to me fret a bit. And then had her own meeting with the school district.
Halfway through Leo's visit a class aide came in and asked if Leo had any dietary restrictions, I said no but he was picky and I brought him a sandwich, they said no worries, if he didn't have restrictions then he could have snack with the rest of the class ... and he did. Whoa!
Then a few minutes later they brought him back, said he was wonderful, and that ...he was in on the spot! YEAH! Community! Friends! Community! Good autism school! Community!
Then Jen and I took Leo to lunch - at the OMG gargantuan, SoCal-style mall two blocks from the school. What a contrast to the sad sad piddly malls in our own county.
The restaurant gave Leo a kiddie activity book. He used to ignore them completely, but now he will do dot-to-dots, coloring, and drawing. His current favorite things to draw are a rainbow and a happy face, so I asked him to draw both. And then for fun asked him to draw legs. He did (!). So I asked him to draw arms. He... did! So Jen asked him to draw fingers, and he drew five (Jen watched him count them out), and then by request he drew shoes, hat, ears with whorls inside... so, what what the hell else can this kid do that we just haven't asked him about yet? Of course I left the drawing at the restaurant but I'll have him do it again on DrawFree and share it right here!
Then we took him to a brick and mortar shop I've been trying to hit for almost a year because they make the shorts that fit him best but not all of their shorts fit him best and sometimes it's hard to tell which shorts are which on the website. Leo not only tolerated being in the store (though he did ask to go back to the car) but ... tried on clothes! I think it was his first time ever. If not, still huge - especially as he did it all with verbal prompts and no protest over the fairly illogical process of being asked to remove his pants and try on other pants and then put the original pants back again. I was especially impressed by the deft way he was able to take off the pants both time *while keeping his underwear on*. One of those skills that seems straightforward but for a kid who struggles with motor issues and planning ... it was impressive. Much like Saturday when he told me he was all done swimming and ran out of the pool and into the bathroom and hopped in the tub - and I told him "Leo, no bath" because it was mid-afternoon, and he looked at me like I was an idiot and proceeded to hang up his bathing suit over the bathtub spigot so it could dry - just like I normally do for him but he had never done before.
Then we walked back to the car. Along the way I bought three more things at three different shops (ear buds with a mic so I'm not just yapping right at my laptop screen when I record interviews, the Aveda facial lotion that smells so lovely that even Seymour loves, and a 2-shot latte) and that was a good reminder that I hate malls not just because they're temples of needless consumerism but because I am helpless before them. Leo tolerated it all.
We're having lots more good days like that, lately. In which even the bad was good -- earlier that morning Leo got mad at me for denying him extra food and gave me a push; when I then told him I was sad and made a sad face, he came over and hugged me. That's new. Can't tell if it was emotional or observation of proper ways to react but I'll take it either way.
A maturing, growing boy.