About

photo (c) 2010 Kelly Nicolaisen
I'm Shannon Des Roches Rosa, AKA Squid Rosenberg.  This is me goofing around with my handsome son Leo. He's ten. He has autism. He's so awesome that this blog revolves around him. He has two rock star/guest star sisters, big (Isobel, or Iz) and little (Mali). I'm married to and adore the kids' dad, Seymour, whose online producer job is weep-with-envy cool, damn him.

I've been writing about autism and parenting since 2003. Right now, the heavy rotation topics are autism and iPads, vaccines, and evidence-based autism advocacy at The Thinking Person's Guide to Autism. I occasionally write about being a wistful Facebook-stalking birth mom with no regrets.  

Leo and I recently made a conference hall full of tech journalists weepy when we appeared in Apple's iPad: Year One video (at 4:40), which Steve Jobs introduced personally at the March 2, 2011 iPad2 launch.

My writing has been featured on PBS Parents, Autism Speaks, Shot of Prevention, SFGate, Moms With Apps, and BodyImpolitic. I'm also BlogHer's contributing editor for parenting kids with special needs.

I've been quoted in the Wall Street Journal and Brain, Child magazine, interviewed for KQED Forum, Seattle KIRO, the SF Weekly, CafeMom's the Stir, Autism Hangout, Comcast's Upside, and have been on Parenting Magazine's Must-Read Moms editorial board

I've interviewed some amazing people: Holly Robinson Peete, Rupert Isaacson and Kristin Neff (The Horse Boy), Alison Singer, Susan Senator, Vicki Forman, Monica Holloway, and heaps of other compelling autism parents and professionals (list coming).

I was a speaker and moderator at two BlogHer conferences. I contributed to the books for the Can I Sit With You? project and My Baby Rides the Short Bus books, for which I've given readings and sat on panels from Seattle to New York to San Francisco

I also speak at schools and conferences. Please contact me if you'd like me to speak at your school or conference.

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I started this blog in 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 Jennifer Byde Myers from www.jennyalice.com, and The Thinking Person's Guide to Autism project that I run with Jen, Liz Ditz, and Emily Willingham.

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.

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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!).

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 five 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.

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