January 7, 2021

This Too Shall Pass

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:32 am by autismmommytherapist

When Covid first began nine long months ago, I remember thinking about what impact this disease would have on the autism community. My kids were 13 and almost 17 when it began, my oldest being severely autistic and non-verbal. I recall thanking my stars that this pandemic had not taken place years ago when Justin, my eldest was younger. Back in the day he would throw his shoes at me every single day so I would take him someplace. It didn’t matter if it was a holiday or a raging snowstorm, he wanted to go out.

With age he has mellowed considerably, and he has taken his semi and full quarantines in stride. I’ve even been able to get him out for walks around the neighborhood which I hadn’t tried in years, which is good for both son and mama. Overall he has done really well during Covid- the only time I’ve known he was missing something was when he thrust Jenks boardwalk tickets into my hands and looked at me like “Woman, why don’t we go there anymore?” He has handled everything as well as can be expected, and so has my other son.

I think things are beginning to wear a little thin now however.

The few times I’ve had to take him to an in-person doctor’s appointment his enthusiasm knew no bounds. I felt kind of guilty not going anywhere fun, but he seemed okay with the excursion.

Maybe, after all, it’s just his mama who’s over all of it.

While my family has been lucky with the way my kids have handled the pandemic, I am certain there are other autistic families in the community who have not been as fortunate. I have friends with kids on the spectrum who not only love traditions around the holidays but have been quite vocal about wanting to continue them, even if they aren’t allowed to at this point. A few of my friends just had to quarantine their kids for two weeks, which basically means with winter break their kids are home for a month. Explaining why to an autistic child does not always translate well. It can be very stressful having any change in routine or any omission of a favored tradition.

I just want families to know many people are going through this- you are not alone.

I hope some relief is on the horizon, although four to six months seems like a long time away particularly with the next four months or so being winter. I hope all of you are coping as well as possible, and that somehow you’re able to carve out a little time for yourselves if you don’t have your kids home 24/7.

As my grandma would always say, “this too shall pass.”

And my wish for all of us is that it passes very soon.

Follow me on Facebook at Autism Mommy-Therapist

December 21, 2020

The Other Side

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:13 am by autismmommytherapist

He draped his entire body over mine, my severely autistic teenaged boy. We were getting dressed and ready for in-person school which he loves, and he suddenly looked me in the eyes, gave me his half-grin, and pulled me close. He is inches taller than me now so has to lean over to hug me, but we make it work. After a few minutes we had to disengage to greet the day, and the moment was gone.

Gone, but not forgotten.

Three years ago when Justin was fourteen if you had told me he would once again bestow spontaneous hugs on me I would not have believed it. From age fourteen to fifteen we were immersed in a hellish world with him, with behavior that merited diagnoses ranging from dystonia to catatonia and beyond, multiple doctors visits in a myriad of states, and the complete absence of my son’s personality that we all loved. It was a year devoid of joy, which took its toll on me and my husband, but mostly on Justin himself.

Fortunately, we got the correct diagnosis of tic disorder, put him on the right medication, and much of what plagued him was eliminated.

I can’t tell you how many times in the past ten years or so I’ve had people tell me that fourteen has been the witching year for their moderate to severely autistic child. Puberty seems to wreak havoc on them, and co-morbid disorders that have been lurking in the recesses of their brains seem to rear their ugly heads. What got me and my husband through this was hearing time and time again from friends and acquaintances with older kids was that their children eventually came through the other side.

With time, they got them back.

Justin’s personality changed with this latest diagnosis, although it has been suggested to me that part of the changes can be chalked up to being a teenager, which I can’t argue with. I am thrilled to say that three years later most of the movement disorders that plagued him have disappeared, and his tic disorder does not seem to interfere with his life very much. His capacity for joy, although appearing to be somewhat diminished from my smiley younger son, has returned to a degree. He still reaches out for that contact on occasion, those hugs he still seems to need, much to his mother’s happiness. Sometimes he just turns to me and plants a big kiss on me for no reason, to my delight.

So, I just want to say this to any parent with an autistic child approaching puberty. Be prepared for changes both emotionally and behaviorally. If things go south, if progress made is erased, don’t give up. So many families have been there before you, and things have eventually improved. Keep hope alive, take care of yourselves in the meantime, and remember this.

Your child can come out the other side.

Follow me on Facebook at Autism Mommy-Therapist

December 7, 2020

The Weight of Worry

Posted in Uncategorized at 2:30 pm by autismmommytherapist

It was just another day, nothing special. I was six months in to being my then almost two-year-old’s primary ABA therapist in our home in Virginia, and my son was being his usual receptive self, eager to work for his spinny toys. We had just finished working and I was preparing to take him on a much needed walk when a wave of fatigue hit me that had nothing to do with my prior night’s sleep. Suddenly, I just really needed to sit down, which was not something I did a great deal of in those days.

I sank into our sofa, watched as Justin played eagerly with his new toy, and realized I needed much more than a walk for a break.

My eldest son Justin was diagnosed at seventeen months with autism, a very tender age for a diagnosis back in 2004. Unfortunately my adopted state of Virginia did not recognize an autism diagnosis at that time in terms of dispensing therapies, so no Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) was offered to us. At that point we contacted a local ABA agency, got myself and two therapists trained, and began working with him. The two therapists came in for a total of five hours weekly, and I did another thirty to thirty-five hours with my toddler.

To say I was exhausted was an understatement.

Honestly, the fatigue ran far deeper than multiple hours of therapy daily and somewhat fractured sleep. I was exhausted from how difficult my lovely boy could sometimes be, from anything to eating to sleeping to simply leaving the house. I was worn out from the worry, the wondering if he would ever talk, handle school, be independent one day. The weight of the future weighed heavily on me every moment.

And I knew something had to give, or I could no longer continue to give my best self to my boy.

I couldn’t speed up time and get him into full-time school to give me some much needed respite, so I knew I needed to look for other options. I also knew that my husband and I needed some time together too, and fast. I realized I needed to let go of some of my fears, find a sitter once a week, and start taking my mom up on her offers to watch her grandson when she came to visit every month-and-a-half or so.

I finally let people help us, and it was exactly what I needed.

I found a sitter who could come in once a week during the day for a few hours, and I ran errands or sometimes just went to the mall and sat with a hot chocolate and read in their bookstore. When my mom came down to visit we started taking her up on her offers to let us do dinner and a movie, and we began letting her. We eventually even found a sitter with whom we felt comfortable letting her put Justin down at night, and we were able to finally go out with another couple, even if it was brief.

These outings saved my sanity, and probably my marriage.

If your son or daughter has just been diagnosed with autism I’m sure going out to dinner is the last thing on your mind. You may be embroiled in arranging Early Intervention providers, or beginning the myriad of assessments to get your child admitted to a special education program in your district. You may be trying to figure out insurance, special diets, or trying to find an appropriate social skills group.

In short, you’re probably exhausted too.

When the absolutely critical things have been achieved, make yourself a promise. Carve out some time for yourself. Make sure your spouse does the same. Take up some of those offers to babysit, and if no one is offering, ask. Get out with your partner or spouse. Try not to spend the entire evening talking about autism if you can. And I know, that’s a tough one.

Try your best to take care of yourself and your relationship, because those are two of the best ways to help your child.

Try, if you can for a few hours, to let go of the weight of worry.

Follow me on Facebook at Autism Mommy-Therapist

November 9, 2020

Make Friends with Parents with Autistic Children

Posted in Uncategorized at 2:21 pm by autismmommytherapist

Sixteen years ago this fall my family and I entered the world of autism through our son’s diagnosis at seventeen months of age. I remember being so overwhelmed with my new “to-do” list; diets, Early Intervention, ABA, sensory issues, sleep (or lack thereof) disturbances, eating problems, etc. It was difficult to know where to begin.

The truth is all of my personal needs went on hold for, well, years, but there was one need I did pursue, and I am grateful to this day I have always made time for this endeavor.

And that, my readers, is making friends with other autism parents.

I have dear friends from all walks of my life- high school, college, work, and the ones I inherited from my husband who became my own. They are all wonderful and supportive people, and I do often talk to them about the challenges of raising my severely autistic son. They get it to a degree, as much as a person can who is not walking in my family’s shoes. I am fortunate to have these outlets, and have had these people stick by me especially during the years I was so enmeshed in autism I didn’t have much time for friendship. I value them all.

But at the end of the day, sometimes you just need a friend who gets that when you say your son hasn’t slept for three nights what you’re really saying is that you’re afraid he’ll never sleep again. And you need that friend to talk you down from the ledge.

I have had the great fortune to make a number of “autism friends” over the years. I have two children on the spectrum, one mild and one not, and to be honest I’ve found I needed to bond with moms and dads who were raising both types of autism in order to find the sounding boards I needed. I’ve found their two types of autism to be so different there is almost no commonality- subsequently it was important to me to befriend people who had similar experiences to the ones I was having with both of my kids.

I want to share with you now that along with exercising and chocolate (I know, they shouldn’t mix well but they do) having people to vent to and ask questions of has saved my sanity numerous times over the years. The connections I’ve made have been invaluable, and here’s how I’ve made them. As an aside, all of these opportunities were pre-Covid of course, but hopefully will be again available soon!

1. When your child enters school, see if you can make contact with other parents in your child’s classroom. One of the best ways I did this was attending every little performance they did and chatting with the moms before and afterwards. If your child’s teacher does not offer opportunities to come to school I would suggest asking him or her if you can send notes home through each child’s backpack. I know it’s awkward to approach someone you don’t know, but some people will love that opportunity and be thrilled to reciprocate. One of my closest autism friends is my son’s preschool classmate, and they are friends to this day. Playdates can be a wonderful offshoot, don’t forget to include that request!

2. If your school has any type of special education PTA, beg borrow or steal a babysitter and get yourself there. Not only do they usually have very pertinent topics discussed at these meetings, but it’s usually a wonderful environment to meet people. Many will be a bit further along in autism world than you, and can be invaluable resources. Sometimes staff from your child’s school will attend and it’s a great opportunity to meet them in a more relaxed setting than across the table from each other at an IEP meeting. I attended my son’s district special education PTA meetings, and learned invaluable information that really helped me make decisions down the road.

3. If there is a local autism organization in your area, join! I live on the Jersey shore, and we are so fortunate to have POAC Autism services in our backyard. They run parent support groups which are wonderful ways to meet other parents, and dozens of fun events for families which are also a mecca for meeting people. Attending these events will also get both you and your child out, and start acclimating them to being in public, which is so important. I met one of my dearest friends through a support group.

4. Last, if you can swing it (and you get a day or night out too!) participate in some local charity events. We met a wonderful couple through a charity gala, the wife of whom I friends with ten years later. This checks two boxes- meeting people and having fun which is equally important to your sanity!

For more on my family visit my blog at autismmommytherapist.wordpress.com

Follow me on Facebook at Autism Mommy-Therapist

August 24, 2014

Zach’s Brush with Politics

Posted in AMT's Faves, Fun Stuff, Life's Little Moments, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , at 6:29 pm by autismmommytherapist

102

Recently my youngest son told me he wants to lead his own country when he grows up (watch out world, he just might do it.)

I figured in that case, it was time he had a brush with politics.

Zach’s timing couldn’t have been better, as the Autism Cares Act was due to expire on September 30th, and I thought I could tie his newfound love of politics in with a lesson about the impact this legislation has had on millions of US families . We’d been talking a great deal about what this act has meant personally to our family, and the fact that US Representative Chris Smith of New Jersey had been one of the co-authors of the bill.

I’d discussed with him that I hoped it would pass again, and how Autism Speaks had created a campaign to encourage families to visit their Congressman and urge them to vote to pass the bill. When I told him Representative Smith had an office not far from our house he turned to me and said “I want to go thank him in person.” I then had to explain to a seven-year-old how extremely busy our Congressmen are, and how that probably wasn’t in the cards for us.

I will share with you that this initially did not go over well.

I figured out a way to placate him however with a promise of a trip to his office to meet his incredibly patient assistant Jason, a trip which would include a hand-written thank-you note he would personally deliver himself.

I was informed the trip would also include a stop for ice cream. My son has his priorities straight.

So on a cloudy Wednesday morning I packed my son, his note, and enough money for chocolate chip mint ice cream cone into my SUV. We soon headed out 195 to deliver our heartfelt thanks for Representative Smith’s hard work to help authorize the Autism Cares Act, which eventually culminated with President Obama signing it into law.

I think it’s obvious from the photo how Zach felt about the trip.

I’d like to take a moment to thank Senators Menendez and Enzi, as well as Representatives Smith and Doyle for their tireless work to bring this law to fruition, a law which dedicates 1.3 billion in federal funding for autism over the next five years.

And believe me, our families need it.

Special thanks also goes to Congressman Smith’s office for welcoming my son’s “mission,” and for responding so promptly to our calls.

My son is even more inspired to start his own country, or at least help govern this one.

And as I’ve said for years, with this child, with the right supports and help from our government, anything is possible.

Follow me on Facebook at Autism Mommy-Therapist

April 30, 2014

Camping Conquered/Autism Awareness Month

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , at 10:13 am by autismmommytherapist

z h of b

Since I’m continually asking Zach to step out of his comfort zone I recently decided to step out of mine, and so I took my mildly autistic seven-year-old into the wilds this weekend for our first (hopefully) annual McCafferty family camping trip.

 

Before I go any further, I should mention the camping ground is a ten minute walk to Great Adventure.  This is my idea of roughing it.

 

To be fair however our campsite came replete with, well, nothing, and my son was baptized in the use of port-o-potties, a distinct lack of running water, and a dearth of electricity (save for Sandy he’s been a bit sheltered.)  Except for the port-o-potties he thought it all a grand adventure, as did his mom (except for her entirely stiff, aching body the following day, apparently cold hard ground is not acceptable when you’re almost fifty.)

 

We made it through however with only minor blips in our twenty-four hour excursion, which culminated in his waking and his rather loud declaration to the world that he LOVES CAMPING.

 

In the future my back is going to hate me.

 

Frankly there’s not much I won’t do for this kid despite my being such a girlie-girl (yes, my nails were done before the trip,) in part simply because I love him, and in larger part because he tries so hard in every endeavor and deserves to have his mom suck it up for him.

 

I could write this post today about how he waited patiently in line for over an hour to get into the park because Great Adventure dropped the ball when it came to security checks.  I could tell you how he wanted so much to help, and loved being engaged with the other boys.  Trust me, I could wildly brag about this kid, but I won’t, because in many ways the weekend wasn’t about him, or about his personal success.

 

It was about community.  Because in our world it doesn’t take a village.

 

It takes a planet.

 

It’s the last day of April, which technically brings Autism Awareness Month to a close.  With April 30th brings an end to the discussion of how in some ways we should be so beyond simple awareness- that our community needs to be accepted, to be embraced, to be truly and authentically included.  I’ve read posts this month by writers wanting to move past mere acceptance, and I get what they’re saying, I truly do.  I always want more for my boys, I push for it, demand it.  We still have such a long way to go until everyone witnesses the beauty in boys and girls like mine.

 

But I’ll stand by awareness too, by educating one person at a time to the gifts and challenges of autism, because awareness is what made this weekend a triumph for Zachary and for me.

 

We would never have pulled this off even a few years ago without the support and understanding of his den and pack leaders, many of whom have taken it upon themselves to learn about autism and its many manifestations.

 

We would never have survived our stay without the compassion and patience of all his educators and school staff, individuals who have gone out of their way to celebrate his differences, and encourage his unique world view.

 

We would never have reigned victorious in the “wilds” of Jackson save for the kindness and respect of his karate instructors, his baseball coaches, his church school teachers, or the understanding of his autism sibling support group instructors.

 

Honestly, without their interventions, after our first look at the port-o-potty we would have been hoofing it home.

 

My son had a wonderful time entirely out of his comfort zone this weekend because for the past six years the people in his community, his world, have gone out of their way to do far more than accept or tolerate him.  Instead, they have consistently, purposefully, enthusiastically gone out of their way to embrace him.

 

We didn’t just survive this weekend.  We “thrived” it.

 

As as “our month” draws to a close, my hope is that this awareness, acceptance, or celebration, whatever you choose to call it, continues to spread like the warm blanket I cocooned Zach in Saturday night, enmeshing us all in the realization that it is our differences that make us all the glorious individuals we are.

Despite how divided our community can be I will tell you I now have hope, drawn from the well of individual acts of kindness my son has been the blessed beneficiary of all these long years.  So I will end this piece with a thank you to all who have contributed to enabling us to reach this place, to every person who fueled my hope when many times the fires were dim.

 

Thank you.

 

 

 

March 18, 2013

The Whole Tooth, and Nothing but the Tooth

Posted in Fun Stuff, Life's Little Moments, My Take on Autism, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , at 9:41 am by autismmommytherapist

Xmas 2012 057

“Mom, I lost my tooth!” my youngest son cries with wonder, a shout coupled with excitement and tinged with a bit of disgust. I run over to the kitchen table and respond “Let me see!”, and indeed, when he carefully unfurls his fingers, it appears the tiny white object nestled in his palm is one that formerly resided in his mouth.

He smiles up at me with his new toothless grin, which I know I’ll come to adore as long as it lasts, and asks me if we can put it under the pillow tonight. I respond with an emphatic yes, and ask him what he’d like the tooth fairy to bring to him. He looks me straight in the eye and answers he wants to go to China.

That’s my boy. No pedestrian quarters for him.

I tell him that although the tooth fairy is quite efficient in her prize dispensing that unfortunately travel agent is not part of her job description, and he begrudgingly knocks his request down to a Phineas and Ferb book, a desire his mother actually can fulfill. He then runs to the bathroom to see the gap where his tooth once resided, touches it gingerly with his finger to see if it hurts.

It doesn’t. Satisfied, he runs back to his seat for lunch, already asking me if we can go somewhere today as his mother simultaneously figures out how she’ll escape to Barnes and Noble before nightfall. Soon he is focused entirely on consuming his lunch, tooth loss forgotten as he regales me with his day in the fast-paced world of kindergarten.

We’ve entered the arena of lost body parts. My little boy is growing up.

There are signs of it everywhere. I see his growth in the way he’d rather struggle to put on his gloves by himself than deign to ask for help. I witness his independence when he pushes his father and me out of the room at bedtime so he can read his last story alone. I acknowledge his progress when he clamors for privacy in the bathroom, an enclave which previously required adult attendance for him at all times. My not-so-little one is intent on figuring it all out for himself, and that’s as it should be.

He’s fine with it all. It’s just his mother who has to learn to adjust.

It’s not that Justin doesn’t strive for independence too. In the past year my eldest son has acquired so many new and important milestones, from completely dressing and undressing himself without prompts, to helping clean up at dinner which requires a number of prompts (I can’t blame him, I don’t like to do it either).

He no longer shadows us constantly, prefers to be with us but not on top of us in a room unless he’s hungry, then all bets are off. Justin’s making his way in the world too, at a different pace and trajectory than the rest of us, but his way nonetheless.

It’s simply hit me that while on some level my firstborn will always need our care, his little brother will not.

I realize that relief is welling in me, threatening to make this an emotional rather than a triumphant moment, and I push it back for later contemplation so I can be here, in the now, with Zach. I can’t stop my mind however from briefly returning to those dark days when he stopped speaking, playing with toys, or interacting with those he loved in any comprehensible way.

He has come so far from that painful abyss, the one in which he resided for such a seemingly endless time. My boy will have choices, although I no longer feel his life will necessarily be more fulfilling than his brother’s.

Zach is forging his own path, one that won’t always include us. To the core of my soul, I am eternally grateful.

He finishes his lunch with zeal and asks to go upstairs and place his tooth next to his brother’s, in the small silver receptacle I received at Justin’s birth. I take it down from its resting place and note that it needs a good polishing (and also note that this probably won’t happen). Zach takes off the lid dramatically, declaring with wide-eyed wonder that his deposit is bloodier than his brother’s, a fact which apparently is quite cool. He places his treasure inside and bounds from the room, already on to his next quest, to best me in yet another light saber duel.

I bet you can guess who will win.

On tippy-toe I replace the tiny teddy bear in its sacred spot, then prepare myself for a battle which will invariably include several stung knuckles. I realize I will have to practice this slow attrition of need, of always being central to his life. It is both a glorious and difficult path.

And one I will gladly walk with him.

December 17, 2012

Thank- you to the Staff of Sandy Hook Elementary School

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 12:15 pm by autismmommytherapist

candlelight vigil

It’s 5:15 on Saturday morning, and I know there’s not a chance in hell I’ll fall back asleep. I throw on my robe and make my way to my keyboard and wait for the blinking cursor to arrive, that pulsing strobe I know will mock me as I struggle for words.

For once, I don’t even know where to begin.

This won’t be a post about autism, although I will remind everyone reading this that whether or not Adam Lanza had Asperger’s or not, autism did not incite him to his murderous rampage. Mental illness did. The fact that he may have been on the spectrum is no more important than the color of his eyes, or the fact that he was male, or white. Autism, in all its many forms, is not a mental illness.

Hopefully, I am preaching to the choir.

Like many people I try to make some sense of this tragedy by comparing it to others in the past, and by seeing it through the lens of many different roles, specifically those of child, parent and teacher. As I weeded my way through various media commentary on Friday afternoon I couldn’t help but think of Columbine. I can remember my reactions to the event; disbelief, horror, and eventually just a deep sadness which remained for the children, parents, and school staff who endured such terror. When Columbine occurred I was not yet a mother, and could only imagine the devastation that Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold wreaked on that terrible day. Now I am a mother, one whose youngest child turns six in a few short weeks, just like many of those lost to us forever.

Trust me, like many of you, the “what- ifs” running around my head regarding my children are without doubt my early morning wake-up culprits, and I don’t imagine they’re going anywhere very soon.

As I sit here in the wee hours of the morn I find I can’t stop thinking about those kids, yet I can’t write about them either. Perhaps it’s too close, too soon, but I can see them through the lenses of both mother and teacher, and it’s just too much. I am so, so sorry for their parents, grandparents, and siblings. I am so sorry for that entire community, who will be permanently marked by this loss, who can never fully recover from such a tragedy. I am even deeply sorry for those children who survived, because they are not only old enough to remember the horrific events of this infamous day, they are also old enough to understand what happened. Their innocence has been robbed. Their childhoods have been stolen.

And yet, that’s nothing compared to all of those little lives lost.

No, as I sit here struggling with what to say that hasn’t already been said I know I’ll focus on the teachers, because although I’m no longer “practicing”, I’ll always be an educator. I hope I would have acquitted myself with the smarts and grace of the teachers and staff of Sandy Hook Elementary, but I don’t think any of us can ever know how we’ll behave in a situation where the world has been turned upside down, where any semblance of sanity no longer exists. I do know that the teachers and administrators who perished on Friday were the absolute heart of education. Each one demonstrated undeniable heroism, from the teacher who shielded her students with her own body, to the teacher who told her students she loved them in case those were the last words they ever heard, to the no-nonsense principal and school psychologist who rushed a madman with a gun.

I will be so bold as to say perhaps they wouldn’t even see themselves that way, because to many of us, their actions were just part of the job, a sacred trust. It’s one in which these days we are constantly called upon to protect the hearts and minds of our charges, thankfully in a setting usually not rife with violence. On Friday, December 14th, that sacred trust was put into the extreme for six staff members who honored that covenant: Rachel Davino, Dawn Hocksprung, Anne Marie Murphy, Lauren Russeau, Mary Sherlach, and Victoria Soto. They were selfless. They willingly made the ultimate sacrifice.

They were heroes.

From me and my family, to their families and those who loved them, we send our prayers, and our love.

And one last thought for those who have fallen.

Thank you.

November 18, 2012

Storm Stories

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , at 4:35 pm by autismmommytherapist

It’s day fourteen post-Sandy, and my house is calm, warm and finally clean. As I come back from my run I pick up the morning’s debris pre-school bus, mostly books scattered around the front door as Zach likes a good story before he begins his day.  I finish cleaning up, and I realize there will be almost no noise or demands made on me for the next four consecutive hours, and I break into a huge grin.

School, glorious school.

At chez McCafferty we got power back in the middle of last week, and the luxuries of consistent phone, cable and internet use this weekend.  We were one of the lucky families, merely inconvenienced, no tragedy accompanying our storm.  As of this Saturday things really started to get back to normal here, which makes me both happy for my own brood who truly crave routine, and simultaneously anxious.  There are still hundreds of families in my own town without homes.  As time passes and all of our routines are reestablished, I just want to make sure we don’t forget those still in need.

Zach’s kindergarten teacher kindly called us over the weekend, attempting to locate all of her charges and make sure they were okay.  She shared with me that it is very likely that some of the students in my son’s school, perhaps in his class, have been displaced.  She also told me that in an act of typical largesse Brick is accepting students from surrounding towns as well.  It is sobering to imagine a five-year-old boy like Zach losing so much and having to start over in a new school as well.  I can only imagine the added degree of difficulty if the child has special needs.

I can imagine it, but it’s not a pretty picture.

I’m hoping when the dust clears a little we can get a handle on who is still in need, and what exactly they require at this point.  It may be the simple staples of food, clothing, and batteries.  Perhaps families will be at a point where gift cards would serve them best.

We won’t know unless we ask.  And we have to keep asking, even as more fortunate families like my own move on with their lives.

I like the idea of matching individual families with donations, and as I hear of situations such as this I will be posting them here.  Please feel free to comment, particularly if you or your company is offering specific items to people.  The important thing now is to make connections, and continue to let those whose lives were literally uprooted by Hurricane Sandy know that we still care.

And from what I’ve seen of the generosity of not only this town, the Jersey shore, and the entire state, I know we can truly help.

Places to make donations to families in need are as follows:

1) Primary Learning Center

224-260 Chambers Bridge Road

Brick NJ 08723

Need:  gift cards to Target, Walmart, Loews, etc.

Contact info:  (732) 262-2590

Cindy Dornacker ext. 1527

Magda Diaz ext. 1528

The PLC cannot provide receipts

 

2) POAC (Parents of Autistic Children)

1999 Route 88

Brick, NJ 08724

(732)  785-1099

Need:  Gift cards to Target, Walmart, Loews, etc.

Drop-off:   between 10-2 weekdays

Mail:  attention Gary Weitzen/Simone Tellini

POAC will provide a receipt upon request

 

3) Backpacks for Brick

If Brick students at any of our schools need supplies, they should let their teacher or guidance counselor know.  Supplies will be replenished this week.

June 3, 2012

Time-out…

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:03 pm by autismmommytherapist

Autismmommytherapist will return the week of 6/11 after a much-needed break.  Thanks, and see you then!

Next page