From the St. Paul Pioneer Press Opinion Page, February 2, 2020 It was about this time, 26 years ago, that my toddler stopped talking and started moving at the speed of sound. It was the beginning of an unexpected journey marked by an unexpected discovery, shortly after his second birthday. I laid awake at night,…

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Image from pyschsciencenotes.blogspot.com This op-ed appeared in the St. Paul Pioneer Press on August 25, 2019 After the early morning rain ended, the promise of sunshine lured us outdoors. Traffic and parking notwithstanding, it was a good morning to visit the St. Paul Farmers’ Market. The air at the market was dense with humidity. Musicians…

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July 12, 2013 I couldn’t help but hear the conversation between two women sitting an arm’s length away. The more boisterous of the pair had spent the holiday weekend with extended family members, including her 8-year-old nephew with autism. He would not listen and would eat only pizza, she vented. I bit my tongue as…

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May 3, 2013 Patrick was a 19-year-old who didn’t have a friend to call his own. While living with his parents, he enrolled in a local community college, where he met a couple of guys who wanted to hang out. When his parents learned their son was going out for the first time, they were…

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January 18, 2013 Several years ago, I wrote an essay that was published in an anthology of works by mothers of special needs children. “Dancing with Despair” recounted the first 14 years after my son’s autism diagnosis, during which life was overrun by doctor and therapy visits, special diets and behavioral programs. Sleepless nights followed…

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October 28, 2011 Two decades ago, autism was a mysterious condition known to relatively few. These days, media reports about Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) appear daily; it’s rare to find someone who doesn’t have a connection to the lifelong condition affecting between 1 million and 1.5 million Americans. The children who were diagnosed with ASD…

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My guest blog post that appeared on Laura Shumaker’s San Francisco Chronicle blog (SFgate.com)  on October 20, 2011. I sat down at the table for our 2 p.m. meeting and looked up at the clock. We were about to design my son’s last IEP (Individualized Education Plan) – the roadmap for his final services from…

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September 30, 2011 Jimmy Reagan’s story unfolds through pictures. It begins with baby photos his parents treasure: Jimmy as an infant, snacking in his high chair, impish grin stretching between rosy cheeks; Jimmy frolicking with his dad in a pile of leaves, bright eyes focused on the camera. Then the images reflect a dramatic change.…

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July 8, 2011 Helping our children to feel both grounded and independent is a fundamental tenet of parenting. So we give them roots and wings by imparting skills and values. We harp on them to buckle their seatbelts, eat their veggies, and treat others with respect. After we’ve counseled them on how to do their…

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