Friday, June 5, 2009
Strangely, for someone who has only sent a handful of text messsages and who is woefully unacquainted with the "shorthand" techniques widely used for that purpose, just such a phrase jumped to mind when titling this post.
"IRL" means "In Real Life", and this post is to perhaps explain to ongoing as well as potentially new readers of One Dad's Opinion that life has been going full speed ahead despite my uncustomary lack of attention to the blog. Writing this blog in many ways has been a transformative experience, in that it creates a de facto personal journal, public (though shaded) record of the early years of our complex family, a window to One Dad's thoughts and how those thoughts shft and change over time, and a self-proclaimed cul-de-sac in the online neighborhood of autism parenting. So I always end up regretting not dedicating the time to keeping up. Apologies, and on with it then!
Okay, so back to Real Life. L (my lovely wife) and I were thrilled when, in the mail a few weeks ago, we received notice that we had been nominated for - and in actuality had won - an award for "Excellence in Special Education"! Hooray for us! Hooray for J! Hooray for Baby C, who will be soon entering the selfsame system that has awarded us for our efforts!
I have written several times about our great school district on this blog - here, for example, is a post from May 2007 detailing what seemed then to be (and indeed turned out to be) a successful IEP development process. It provides a glimpse at the type of marvelous people we have had the pleasure to work with, as well as how we have approached the sometimes-contentious process of requesting services for J.
As it turns out, the same Special Education Director has worked with us since the first day J was brought to the school system. She was the one who nominated us and gathered a consensus from within the school district to present their case. The award we won was for "Collaborative Parents". Upon first being informed of this, the skeptical side of me was like "so, collaborative means Pushover, right?" When I had some time to think about it, I realized that there is power in that word. Collaboration is "the act of working together, in unison' ... for a common goal. Despite all the "autism wars" being fought on so many fronts out there, we had somehow found a groove in which our son's needs were best met through cooperative, mutually advantageous scenarios.
Upon receiving the award, I couldn't help but include in my brief words on stage (as L stood in the background, not at all comfortable in the spotlight) that this award really is for her. Look, I may write a decent blog post now and then, and autism advocacy has led me from presentations at academic conferences to interviews on NPR, but nothing I have ever done holds a candle to the work that my wife has done. She is the one who built these strong bridges, she takes him to school everday, she has shared a zillion small successes with him that so many moms and sons would take for granted, she has helped him in more ways than I can invent to write about. So here is One Dad's Opinion that One Dad's Son has One Great Mom. And now? Now we have the hardware to prove it!