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A Flash of Recognition

I was running errands, when completely out of my way, I saw someone with a cardboard sign. I had no cash, and couldn’t read it, but something about the man standing there set off some sort of alarm in my head. I wasn’t sure what it was, though.  So I mentally decided to get some cash back from my purchase, and swing by his street corner on the way home, and if he was there, I would give him some money.

Well, the light was green but he was near a parking lot, so I pulled in.  With a bit of Brooklyn still in my bones, I stashed my purse in the back seat in case it was a ruse to lean in and rob me.  I rolled down my window, and the man came over.

By this point, his sign was folded over. He had been by the road but not holding up his sign.  He was rocking, and pacing, like Ted does when he is distressed. Instead of a sign to alert people of his need for money, food, shelter, it had become to him something to ‘stim’ with.  He folded it and moved it in his hands like Ted does with rectangular objects.  

I told him I had seen him before, but couldn’t pull over. He said thank you, and then some unintelligible words.  They weren’t like the jibberish of a homeless ‘crazy’ person on the subway. My experienced ear recognized it as the sounds and attempts of speech of a person with very little ability to speak. Half words. Constantants and a vowel after.  He couldn’t make eye contact, he continued to rock and stim, and stuck the money in his pocket without looking at it, as he walked off to pace and rock by traffic again, his sign unable to be read by someone because he did not even have the ability to understand socially that to beg for money from strangers, your sign has to be able to be read by them; they have to be able to see you.

Ted does that. He often picks out something he wants to do, see, or eat on his ipad. He will find a picture or go to an app or website, pick out something, and make a noise, “ba”, which means, “the thing I have a picture of here is something I need or want”. But because of the lack of social understanding, he doesn’t actually make sure the volume is turned up, or that he is showing me the screen. If HE knows what is on the screen, he assumes everyone else does.  

All my son has is a very expensive piece of cardboard.  He tries to communicate to the world, just like this man did.  My son usually communicates that he wants some french fries, or that he wants to watch some sponge bob. Maybe he wants to go to the park.  My son will be ok if he doesn’t get to watch an episode of Invader Zim.  

This man needed to communicate the message to the world that he was in need. In need of things more important than a cartoon or some french fries, but he was unable to communicate as well.  

This is a paradox of autism. Often, people will pass IQ tests, and not be able to get much assistance because of this.  Their disability can be severe because of this lack of ability to communicate and read social cues.  But it isn’t the RIGHT kind of disability to get help from others. I know many people who fell through the cracks.

I left, teary eyed, and for once glad that my son’s disability is so severe that he probably won’t have to beg on the streets.  He may face many other challenges and is at risk for other things, but for once, his IQ problems and his complete inability to communicate fluently was a plus.  On some levels he is at risk if he IMPROVES, and may be pacing on a corner somewhere, alone, when Dan and I are gone, because he will be “too smart” for disability, “not disabled enough” to get any help.  This man is someone’s child, and no one has a child expecting their life to be like this, and they certainly don’t want it for their children.

Please don’t let someone’s child starve alone on the street.

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Update on iPad

We have a very strong lead, thanks to the internet community of people. Thank you and I will keep everyone posted!

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Last month, Ted’s ipad went missing. Since Dan wasn’t working, we couldn’t replace it, until today. I downloaded his stuff on the new one from the icloud thing, and found THREE VIDEOS by the thief (or child of). PLEASE pass this on. The ipad was Ted’s way of communicating (we have an app called TapSpeak). He’s been lost without it. Even though we replaced it, there was plenty of contact info on the ipad. They could have got it back to is. PLEASE help us find this family. IF you’re in Dubuque especially PLEASE PASS THIS ON. The most recent 3 videos are the kid with the ipad. PLEASE HELP US.

With more digging into the ipad, we found an email address for the person who has it, too.  It was obvious it belonged to a child because of the apps on it. There were also apps that had the word AUTISM in the title.  Lastly, besides the communications software, there were other apps that would indicate that it belonged to someone who had some sort of disability or cognitive problems.  The parents of this kid had to know. They knew enough to turn off FIND MY IPHONE, but not enough to realize I had it automatically sending stuff to icloud.

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Political Correctness

I was thinking about the Tosh joke about rape, the R word, the N word, other slurs, other things people say, and their attitude about people taking things too seriously, about political correctness gone awry, and I just want to address that.

I want people to think about what they say. I want to ask them, “Are you an adult? How did your parents raise you? Are you proud to be rude, to be disrespectful? Do you have family? I mean, this is really all about human decency. How do you wake up in the morning and think, “I like treating people like shit, I like looking like a boorish, ill mannered, classless turd.” How do you look at loved ones and think, “I am a person my parents, my grandparents, my siblings, my children can be proud of!” If you’re defending people like this, and you’re saying that people are too sensitive, and making stupid remarks about tampons, you’re really a pretty trashy person. You’re like a Jerry Springer reject, a reality TV show wanna be. You’re not a decent human being. It’s not about being ‘politically correct’. It’s about being a civilized human being.”

And that’s pretty much my take on the subject, beyond the myriad of reasons why people shouldn’t do or say certain things, it all boils down to that. Are you a jerk, or not? Are you an adult, or not? Were you raised right, or not?

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I am trying to keep track of how much time they spend sitting across the street from my house. I only caught them for one hour yesterday, but that was late afternoon. Now, at 1pm, they’re sitting there. I am really curious as to how much time they sit hanging out on a side street every day.  I think if we have that little crime, we could do some cutbacks, right?

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My son’s school did some community service work at the Dubuque Arboretum.  They have a Veteran’s Memorial there.  For whatever reason, his classmates started spitting on it. They thought it was funny; we don’t know why.

My son had the nerve to say “what the HELL are you doing?”

He got in trouble for saying hell.  Nothing happened to those who spit on the memorial.

This is what matters in Dubuque. This is how life has been at Washington all year.  My son said “hell”, and that was a bad thing. Spitting is ok, even if it is on a memorial for all veterans from Dubuque. 

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You say, “Homeopathy is like a weird ebay auction”
You say, “except the paper isnt trying to cure cancer.”
You say, “the paper won’t keep you from going to an oncologist.”

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My son finishes work early.  He has a para that takes him out to the library when he’s done, so as to not disturb the class.  He spends a lot of time there.

He has a Kindle, so he has plenty to read at all times. The school itself (Washington Middle School in Dubuque) has kindles to loan out to students, too.  

His para, for whatever reason, thinks that Kindles are a disgrace.  She first banned him from reading whatever he wanted on it, even though he reads adult science books, and Greek classics.  He could only read what was assigned in school.

Then she decided that was unacceptable.  On Friday, she ripped it out of his hands, went to the shelves, found the book he was reading, and threw it down in front of him.  For whatever reason, she would not allow him to read it on the Kindle.

It is bad enough they wouldn’t put him in gifted classes because he has a learning disability (dysgraphia, cannot write legibly), but now to discourage reading advanced books, and only read school books on paper? What is wrong with this place?

We’re taking him out of school after this year, and using the virtual public school until we move out of Dubuque. When you have staff acting against the child’s best interests, you need to pull your child out.  This is just the latest in a string of incidents with this woman, and it’s the last straw.

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They had a threat called in yesterday. It wasn’t a student. We got a self congratulatory phone call from them, yesterday. It wasn’t a credible threat, apparently.

But the real credible threat, the bullying we’ve been talking about for months, is still being ignored. The school won’t do anything, and neither will the police. Their answer is to call an IEP meeting. The children are acting like their parents, to be honest. You hear from them the same scorn and attitude as you see in parents around here. It’s been awful, and I cannot wait until the year is over. We pulled our son out so he could go to the Iowa Virtual Public school. After that, we are moving so we don’t have to subject our youngest to that horribly run school. I cannot wait.

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So, it started with the Dubuque Community School Board looking for a consultant to help them figure out what to do about computers in the district.

They hire Dell to be the consultants. Not like Dell is in Dubuque or anything, just some tax dollars going out of state to tell us what to do.

Of course, Dell said to buy Dell computers. Which we did. In abudance.

Support was needed for all those computers. Despite IBM relocating here because we supposedly have a great education system with people majoring in all sorts of computer-related stuff, hiring local people to do that support was out of the question.  So we hired Dell to do our tech support for our new Dell computers that the Dell consultant told us to buy.

What next? Oh? The Dubuque Community School Board sent officials down to Texas to visit with Dell? Really? Imagine that.  

What’s next? A penny tax for a few years, to go directly to Dell? Might as well…

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