From the St. Paul Pioneer Press Opinion page, May 3, 2020 It took many years and many hands to assemble the scaffolding that provides the structure for Lucas Houk’s life. When coronavirus infiltrated our communities, the structure toppled. Like my son Jack, Lucas was diagnosed in the 1990s, when little was known about autism. His…

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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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From the St. Paul Pioneer Press Opinion Page, Oct. 27. 2019 “One is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do… .” So begins a Three Dog Night song that hit the airwaves when phones were still connected to the wall. I listened to the song many times in my youth without reflecting on the lyrics.…

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  This op-ed appeared in the St. Paul Pioneer Press on June 23, 2019.  Two weeks ago the Internet was abuzz when a joyful Minnesota mom posted a video of her 4-year-old son singing his first tune. The world beamed along with Sheletta Brundidge, for young Daniel Brundidge wasn’t just singing – he was speaking…

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As seen in the St. Paul Pioneer Press on April 21, 2019. A familiar knot formed in my stomach as the words scrolled across the bottom of the TV screen late last month. A 27-year-old non-verbal woman with autism was missing from her Texas home. My mind flashed back to 2007 when, in the span…

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Child with special needs holds paper heart

This piece originally appeared in the St. Paul Pioneer Press on May 13, 2018.   One in 42. That was the prevalence of autism in 8-year-old Minnesotans in 2014, the CDC recently reported, compared to one in 59 nationally.   So for an awful lot of moms, “our day” triggers a constellation of emotions: sadness,…

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A man in Peru showing his gratitude

1/3/17 Everyone is talking about gratitude these days. It’s good for your soul to feel grateful. Gratitude fosters resilience. What’s even better than experiencing gratitude?  Expressing your gratitude – to your boss for the great year-end bonus, to your spouse for giving you a day at the spa, to your neighbor for shoveling your walk…

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Have you noticed that blue is the new pink? It’s Autism Awareness Month, and following the lead of breast cancer advocates, autism advocates are bluing it up to highlight a condition that is near to my heart. Ten years ago I began writing about autism and the challenges it presented for my son and our…

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As seen in the St. Paul Pioneer Press on 5/3/15 My son Jack turned 16 on the same day in June 2007 that a Wisconsin toddler drowned after wandering away from home. Though we never met, my heart ached for the parents whose fate I had feared. I’d worried about a number of scenarios that…

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