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Posts Tagged ‘family’

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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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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So, here in Dubuque, IA, they think Italian means Olive Garden and pizza and red sauce and lasagne.  I thought I’d share for some readers the simple thing I made for dinner tonight. I even ‘cheated’, and used some processed food, although you can do the dough part on your own, if so inclined.

I took sausage meat, Italian sausage meat, not in the casings. Just the fillings. You can take it out of the casing, buy it like that at some stores, or leave it in but make small circles of the sausage when raw.  I sauteed it in a bit of olive oil and garlic, and then added some peppers and onions. I cooked everything until the veggies were wilted.

Then I took some pizza dough from the refrigerator section of the supermarket.  In Brooklyn, some people just go to the local pizza place and buy some pizza dough. Some bakeries might sell dough. There’s frozen dough. Or, if you are a better woman than I am, you can make your own. Whatever works.

I then made some nice sized rectangles, (when you read this through you will be able to judge how big you want them) and put some of the sausage and pepper in the middle. I rolled it/wrapped it up, tossed some olive oil on it, sprinkled some sesame seeds on top, and stuck them in the 400 degree oven, because that’s what it said on the tube of dough.  When it’s brown, I’ll take them out.  They’re a bit bigger than a hot pocket, but more of an egg roll shape. 

So it’s not some sort of fancy authentic I-got-the-recipe-from-my-Nonna thing, it’s just something I enjoyed getting from the pizzaria by the McDonald Avenue L in Brooklyn.  But it’s not pork chops, or cheesy potatoes, or meatloaf, or whatever regular stuff people eat around here. It’s a little taste of home, nothing more.

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I no longer think that Dubuque is a good place to raise a family. In fact, if you have a child with a disability, you may be better off elsewhere.  It’s not bad, and better than what we would have had in New York City, but I’ve been looking around and there seem to be better places.  Madison, WI is one place we’re looking at, and if it wasn’t for Walker, it would be close to perfect.

But the bloom is off the rose, and Dubuque, which once seemed a very grounded and open place, has turned to the usual bad habits of many cities.  The politicians are inaccessible, the police are unethical, and the laws are now going from protecting citizens to generating money off of them. Schools get cut, but special pet projects do not.  Small businesses suffer at the hands of larger ones. They found a way to get rid of undesirable “people from Chicago” (code word for black) legally.  Discrimination is almost as rampant as apathy and ignorance.  There are few people with strong convictions here, and it shows.

I want to fight for a community that fights with me, for me, alongside me. I’ll be the best thing that ever happened!  

We still have to ride it out more than a year, since we do want our daughter to graduate from the local high school. It would be foolish to pull her out now.  But if we can figure out how to make it work, we need to go to a good city, one that is family friendly.

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We finally got Ted an iPad, primarily for use as an AAC device, but we knew there were other apps out there that might be useful.  We’ve found autism related apps, educational apps, some really fun apps for rewards, and lots of communication apps.  We also found a fantastic case for it, too!

It’s a shame that insurance does not cover these. An AAC device starts at around 3k.  An iPad with a good case, good AAC software, and some other apps? About 1k.  But the insurance would rather pay 3k and up, because those devices are for communication only.  Heaven forbid someone has something that can be used for things other than the intended purpose. They’d rather throw money away. No wonder premiums are so high.  Insurance companies will not use common sense when it comes to deciding what to pay, and what not to pay.

I hope to be reviewing some of the apps we’re using.  The whole experience is a real game changer. It’s made an impressive difference in my son’s life.

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If you’re a parent with a child on the spectrum, you’ve probably responded to the same annoying remarks and questions a thousand times. Here’s a handy list of responses that…you’ll probably never use out loud (but are fun to imagine using)!

via Top 10 snappy answers to annoying comments about autism | Autism Support Network.

I need to memorize these…

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Earlier this week I woke up to my driver’s side window smashed in (by a spark plug, apparently a common way of breaking car windows quietly and quickly).  My GPS, which I normally take in every night, was stolen.  I was supposed to go out for one more drive, but Ted wanted to walk, instead, and after the walk I put him to bed and forgot about the GPS. (And my backpack AND my radio.)

I have an idea who did it — waiting for the police to finish their investigation.  There was one person who rode in my car, who knew all about it, who was curious about it, and the first day it is left in, it’s gone. A family that always asks for money and items.  Who knew too much about other things. Most importantly, I was woken up twice by noise from their door that night — they claim no one was up and about.  A bunch of other thoughts too, but for now, there is nothing I can do.

The police who responded, and the investigators I spoke to later on in the day, were absolutely brilliant.  They made something scary and upsetting, bearable.  I didn’t expect so much attention and concern, it was a pleasant suprise.

Dealing with Progressive was pleasant too, although my deductible is rather high, and I wound up paying out of pocket. But they found me a local division of Safelite, which is prompt, affordable, and on site.  The GPS was not covered, though, as it wasn’t a permanent part of the car. (That’s being taken care of though, at least.)

I am very disappointed that this happened in a place I moved to that I went in with bright expectations about safety.  I let my guard down a little bit.  I should have known better. What bothers me the most, though, is I’ve done a bit to help this family out, and support them in ways I could, and it felt like “no good deed goes unpunished”.  Plus they knew that I wasn’t rolling in cash.  That I couldn’t help them too much because I had my own tight budget to adhere to.

However, given the outpouring of support from family, friends, and community, if this is my punishment, keep it coming.  Although I am still rattled, and this hit me at a time where I really didn’t need to get a (financial) hit, in ways I’m better off than I was before it happened. I found support and caring from places I didn’t expect it, and had other parts of my network re-affirm how wonderful they really are.

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