Category Archives: Special Needs Kids

Yes, My Kid is Retarded

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Go ahead. Call my kid retarded. I don’t mind. No, that’s not a challenge, go ahead call my kid retarded I DARE YOU. (And then WHAM! Off with your head!) It’s not a trick. It’s not. Really. It’s … an invitation. Retarded. We say that word while conjuring thoughts of kids who drool a little, […]

Don’t Tell My Kid He’s Okay

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Eric and I were in a hotel lobby. We had a date to climb the stairs to the second floor together so he could see me watching him jump down them again one by one, but before we could do that I had some business to take care of with the people behind the lobby […]

Having a Sibling With Down Syndrome

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Nathaniel and Serena, Eric’s older brother and sister, arrived in Seattle last week to visit me before school starts. They got in my car, looked around, and then at each other. “It feels weird without Eric here,” Nathaniel said finally, seeming a little lost without the familiar presence of his little brother, a kid eight […]

This Year, He Gets a Pony

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So your kid’s going to kindergarten in the fall. Congratulations. Quick! What should his college major be? YOU HAVE TO KNOW NOW. [insert Jeopardy music here.] What’s the matter, can’t decide? Maybe because Junior still can’t properly pronounce his R’s (he’ll grow out of that by the time he turns 7, I swear) and picks […]

Heads: Rocket Science; Tails: Basketweaving

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My son Eric is being kicked out of preschool. Kicked upstairs, really — next year he’ll be thrown into kindergarten instead, stepping into the flow of his next 20 years. Public education, special-needs style. Short bus stuff. The Transition has been taking place for months, with teams of therapists and others with a flurry of […]

I Have Down Syndrome Radar

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I spot them, the people with Down syndrome, a mile away. There’s something about them that’s instantly recognizable to me, something in the way they hold themselves or the way they look at other people. It’s like they are my son Eric, just in different bodies. He’s a five year old boy but I still […]

Off to never never land.

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They’re talking about school next year. My kid is going to school. Not the special ed preschool he’s attended for the past three years, but school-school. Big Kid School. Short bus school.  Maybe even mainstream school. I don’t want it. When Eric was born I got this idea in my head that someday he’d be […]

He’s not quite for sale.

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You sort of have to admire anyone—even if it’s a child of just five—who honestly doesn’t care what people think of him.  A kid who seeks to simply enjoy himself, not at anyone’s expense, but just from the joy it brings him. I wish I were more like that. My son Eric is like that. […]

Revising the rules.

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He was clearly excited and he clutched his ticket tightly, keeping his eyes on the airport gate agent. From time to time he glanced at other passengers milling about and waiting to board the plane, answering their questions—if they acknowledged him at all—with a quick nod and a smile. His brother, younger but over a […]

Bumpy Roads and Poop: The Big Oh-Five

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Eric, my baby, turned 5 last week. The big oh-five. You remember five? At five I was in kindergarten trying to figure out what “playing house” meant and why anybody would even want to and arguing with other kids about things like what day of the week is the first day of the week and […]