Saturday, September 29, 2012

Celebrate National Coffee Day with NesCafe & Coffee Mate

It's Saturday morning and of course The Boy is up at 6 am. There is no such thing as 'sleeping in' at Casa de Fontanez. And so when he gets up, I get up. Because if I don' usually results in spilled milk, melted ice cream or crushed cheerios.

And the first thing I do when I get up is make a cup of coffee.

I'm a mom who takes my coffee seriously. Because if my coffee isn't made right, my day doesn't feel right. And my coffee needs creamer. I love Coffee Mate's Natural Bliss creamer. It's rich and creamy and I can enjoy my coffee without a lot of guilt.

And mid week, if you're at work and in need of an afternoon pick me up - the NesCafe Memento is the perfect choice. The slim packs fit in a purse or a pocket, making it convenient for the office or school. All you need is a cup and hot water. NesCafe Momento will warm you up on those cool autumn afternoons.

What makes coffee even better? Having coffee with friends so I'm excited that I get to share. I'm giving away a 5 coupons for a FREE bottle of Coffee Mate Natural Bliss cream (16 oz bottle, up to $2.79 coupon void in Colorado, Missouri, Louisiana, Tennesse)  and a box of NesCafe Memento. 

So let's celebrate National Coffee Day and have a cup together.  

How to enter? So easy...Just leave a comment.  

This giveaway will end Saturday October 6th at 11:59pm EST. Winner will be announced on Facebook & Twitter by Monday, October 8th.  Be sure to follow me on twitter @LaliQuin  and/or “Like” the AutismWonderland Facebook pageWinner will have 24 hours to reply.

Disclaimer: I was provided with a complimentary coupons for Coffee Mate Natural Bliss coffee creamer and Nescafe Mememto . All opinions are my own. 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

10 Things I've Learned About Blogging In The 2 Years I've Been Blogging

Today is my Blog Birthday! I'm 2 years old. This last year especially has been insane and looking back, I'm incredibly grateful for...everything.   

I've also learned a lot in these last two years and I needed to remind myself with this list:  

10. Don't share your blog with your school district and then trash talk about how your kid's school is failing to provide a FAPE. Because they will read it.  And they won't like it.  (I know...seems like a no brainer. But um, I learned the hard way.)

9. Be okay with random people knowing personal sh*t about you. And wanting to talk about it. Even if you think "I just want to write to get it out...there's no need to address it after." 

8. Blogging is hard work.  Seriously. And takes a lot of time. At times, an embarrassingly amount of time. And often without a big financial pay off.

7. Be 100% certain about a post before you hit the publish button. Once you publish something - it's out there. There is no going back to delete. By the time, you second guess yourself and try to hit delete - someone has seen it or taken a screen shot. Someone may have printed it out or cut/copy and pasted into an email or word document. When in doubt about a post - wait until you are absolutely certain you want those words out there. (see #10 & 9 if you're not sure what I mean.)

6. Don't quit your day job thinking blogging is the road to riches and free vacations. (see #8)

5. It's okay to say NO. Just because someone emails you saying they have this amazing product or book or website, you are not obligated to write about what they want you to write about. 

4. Don't take it personal.  There will be times when no one comments, it's okay. There will be times when people attack you.  My wise creative writing professor (Terrence Cheng) once said, "If you expect to be told what a great writer you are, each and every single you write something - go show it to your mother." The same can be said for blogging. If you are only interested in praise - write for your mother, your husband, your BFF or anyone else who loves you enough to lie to your face or blow smoke up your butt.   

3. Bloggers are people too. I've met some really amazing people through blogging. I'd even go as so far to say, I've made some genuine friends - especially in the autism mom blogger community. And then I've met some not so nice bloggers. And this may totally surprise you especially if you've follow their blogs and seem like the nicest person on line. But mostly, I am incredibly grateful for all the wonderful women and men I've met through blogging. Like I said, I've made some real friends - there are too many to name but they will know who they are - thank you for your friendship!

2. Content & Consistency matter.  If you want people to read your blog, your content needs to be good. And if you want them to return, you need to be consistent. Especially in the beginning.

1. Always remember the reason why you started to blog. You may want to write it down and post it everywhere you write because there will be days when you will wonder: I don't know if I want to do this. Does my writing even matter? or Why didn't this post get any comments?

There have been so many times over this last year I've wondered if my blog matters, if it's 'successful.' This usually occurs when I see little to no comments on something that I've written, when something I write doesn't get shared, tweeted or retweeted, when I visit other blogs and see that their posts have like 30, 40, 50 comments and I'm hoping for just 1. And every so often, I'll read a comment or get an email or even a text from another autism mom I know with a simple, "thank you for writing what I cannot say," and then I remember why I started to blog. If anything I've written has helped just one person, then that is my measure of success.

Thank you again for stopping by, for reading my random thoughts, for crying with me, for sharing my joys, for cheering me on, for offering me advice and for being a part of our journey. 

Did you know I'm nominated as a Yahoo Women Who Shine? 
Read why I'm nominated & vote click  HERE.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Moms Defying Gravity

If you’ve never met an autism parent before, one thing you need to know about them is this: when they see a need, they work to fill the void.

Two moms filling the void in their neighborhood are Alysia Butler and Tina Perriello. Recently, they created SenseAbility Gym - a non profit parent led sensory gym for special needs kids. 

I've been following Alysia Butler's blog - Try Defying Gravity - every since I started blogging two years. And I had the pleasure of meeting her while at BlogHer12. 

Anyway...I had the opportunity to pick her brain regarding her latest venture.


AW: You wrote in that starting SenseAbility was something you had to do? Why?

AB: There were two reasons why we felt that we really needed to do this. First was selfish. I have three boys, my youngest two are both on the autism spectrum. It's my middle guy who needs the sensory integration supports. In school, he has a "sensory diet" built into his day - meaning he takes breaks from the classroom when it becomes too loud or overstimulating for him, he'll jump on a trampoline when he's having a hard time sitting, he has a weighted lap pad that he actually sits *on* to help him be comfortable at circle time, and around his chair at his desk he has Therabands to exercise his legs while he does his work. All of these activities help him in the classroom.

At home, we don't have the space or the money to have all the equipment that he uses at school to help him calm his body. When we attended some open sensory gym times at local OT clinics, I could see how much it helped him feel more comfortable in his own skin. And how much happier he was. I wanted to have that smile last forever. By opening our own gym, I could do that.

Stemming from that, at those open sensory gyms we saw how happy all the other kids there were as well. We watched the parents interact with their children in such a warm and accepting way. No one there cared if another child was melting down, or spinning, or making eye contact. We were all there together. There were no stares. Only support. Again, we knew we needed something like that in our area. Even to get to an OT clinic is a far drive. This was something our community was missing and we knew we had to fill that void.

AW: What do you hope SenseAbility will do for your community?

AB: We really believe that SenseAbility Gym can become an area resource and meeting place for families with special needs children. Our goal is to create a community where its members feel welcomed and supported, where parents and children can go to socialize with other families who share similar challenges. The environment will be one that recognizes that all special needs children are different and that all learning styles, personalities, and abilities are welcome.

Our area is already incredibly welcoming and inclusive. We have very strong autism resource centers and foundations that support families like mine. This will be another piece of that support system.

AW: Starting a non-profit is no easy task, especially when resources are limited. Any tips on how to make the process easier?

AB: Starting a non-profit is hard, very hard. There were definitely moments along the way when we questioned why we were doing it this way. But we knew we couldn't do this as a for-profit venture because of the very nature of our beliefs and mission. Our goal is to reach as many families as we can who can't afford the type of equipment we will have in the gym.

Our best advice is to find people to help you. My late father used to tell me all the time to "use your resources". He would say that it's called networking, not using. He would remind me that I would help someone else if they asked, so why shouldn't I ask for their help?


A lot of times, we don't want to ask someone to help us because we don't want them to feel like we're using them. But people will say no if they don't want to help.

No one said no to us. We relied on family, friends and the kindness of strangers to help us. We had people review our materials to make sure they were in order. Neighbors took their personal time out of their evenings to walk us through the steps. We connected with friends who connected with friends. When you believe in your project, people will want to come help you and support you. 

Most importantly, though, is to do your homework. Understand your state's rules and laws around what forms you need to file and when. Make sure you aren't breaking any laws that you didn't know existed. Have a lawyer review your materials a few times.

And breathe when you take that leap of faith that it will all work out. Because in time, it will.


Alysia's blog is called Try Defying Gravity after the song in the Broadway musical Wicked. With moms like Alysia and Tina there is no try - they are defying gravity.

For more about Alysia and Tina's amazing fundraiser for SenseAbility, check out my - click HERE

To read more about their plans, click HERE.

To make their dream a reality, click HERE.

Monday, September 24, 2012

10 Things You'll Find In My Home (Autism Edition)

It's been a while since I've linked up with my favorite Northwest Mommy who has an affinity for punch buggies.  This Monday Stasha's asking us to take a look around our place. So here's my list of things you'll find in my home and if you're a special needs mom, you'll probably have these too. 

1. A Bosu. It's usually smack dab in the living room. It's supposed to be for The Boy but sometimes we use it too. Try balancing on that thing after a few glasses of vino. 

2. A weighted vest. Though we've had it forever, we'll need to replace it soon.   

3. A scooter board. Which is interesting because we live in an apartment. And when we use it, we use it in the hallway. Oh yes, we are totally capable of being those neighbors

4. Playdough. I have to hide it from The Boy otherwise he'll mash all the colors together into one big puke colored blob and that drives me crazy. So I don't keep it in his room, I bury them in places throughout the apartment and then forget where I put them. I have been know to find playdough in my underwear drawer.

5. Legos. It's super fun, when I stumble on them at 2 am! 

6. Flash cards. We have them for almost everything.

7. A Calendar. He currently has one date only in mind.

8. A huge plastic bin full Thomas crap Trains. Which is also stored in the living room. 
Which means (check all that apply): 
(a) The Boy has too many toys 
(b) I need more space 
(c) I think Thomas the Train adds to the decor or 
(c) I better be careful before I find myself oh Hoaders

9. A seat disk.  We actually have two. (You may need to rethink your answers in #8.)

10. This little wooden boat. It may be broken in two pieces but I just stick it back together and put it back on The Boy's book shelf. The Husband and The Boy had a great time putting it together. I guess I could just frame the photo, but that's not the same thing. 

So...your turn. Watchu got? 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

See What Unfolds

The Boy is busy. Always moving, running, jumping. It's pretty hard to keep up and often hard to calm him down. In Sensory Processing Disorder terms - The Boy has an extremely high level of energy. A few years ago an occupational therapist suggested we give The Boy gum to give him the input he needs.* So we send gum to school and we use it during therapy to help keep The Boy focused and on task.

Needless to say, we go through a lot of gum. For Christmas The Boy's Nino (padrino/godfather) often gives us boxes of Trident Layers gum as stocking stuffers. Trident Layers is The Boy's gum of choice - it gives him that burst of fruit flavor he loves and provides the oral sensory input he needs.

Typically, I don't give The Boy gum while we're out and about. This afternoon we did a little shopping and then hit the playground. I had just bought a few packs of Trident (Orchid Peach + Ripe Mango and Wild Strawberry + Tangy Citrus) to send to school and decided to give him a few pieces (I give him 2 or 3 at a time). Since we had the playground to ourselves I was able to sit and relax. (I may have stole a few pieces for myself.) And then something happened...

"Open it and see what unfolds"    
A little boy - I'll call him "Manny" - ran into the playground and asked The Boy if he wanted to play tag. And The Boy said yes. For the next thirty minutes, I watched as The Boy played with Manny. Yes, The Boy needed some prompting and redirection. Even when The Boy didn't seem interested, Manny persisted on playing with The Boy. And it was Manny who first approached me asking for The Boy's name.   

I had never seen The Boy engage like that before. I had never seen a little boy like Manny try to engage The Boy the way he did. It was only a few weeks before at the very same playground, two girls were laughing at The Boy for being different. And here was little Manny, wanting to be The Boy's friend.

When we left the playground, I thanked Manny and his mother. It was also the first time, I had taken the time to talk to another playground mom. She totally seemed to get it, she asked questions and offered words of encouragement. I hope we see them again. And next time we see them, I'll be sure to prompt The Boy to share his gum with Manny.   

Disclaimer: This is part of a sponsored campaign with Latina Mom Bloggers and TRIDENT. However, all opinions expressed are my own.

*Before engaging in new therapies or techniques for a child with Sensory Processing Disorder, parents should consult the family pediatrician or occupational therapist.
Read more: How to Calm Children with Sensory Processing Disorder 

Sunday Review: Love Anthony #giveaway

Love Anthony
by Lisa Genova

Gallery Books
Hardcover, 320 pages

New York Times Best Selling author, Lisa Genova's new book, Love Anthony is a book about two women dealing with loss, love, loneliness and autism. In Love Anthony, Lisa Genova has created two believable female characters trying to find the meaning of life and rediscovering their own personal identity.

Olivia's idea of a "normal" life seems hopeless when her son Anthony was diagnosed with autism at three years old. And just as Olivia comes to a place of acceptance, hope and happiness - Anthony died.  Beth also deals with loss after she discovered her husband of fourteen years has cheated on her.  As Beth copes with her husband's infidelity, she realizes that being wife and mother to three girls, she has lost herself in the process. Olivia and Beth's life become intertwined in the most unexpected way and it is their unlikely connection that brings them both a sense of peace.     

While Genova does not have a child with autism, she writes as if she truly understands the mind of a special needs parent. There is a scene early on when Olivia is reflecting about the day Anthony is born and all the dreams she had for him, the moment she held him in her arms for the first time. And she thinks, "She didn't know then she should have had simpler dreams for her beautiful son, that she should've looked upon her newborn baby boy and thought, I hope you learn to talk and use the bathroom by the time you're seven." Or the way Olivia constantly watches other children, looking for signs of autism.     

Being an autism mom, it was natural for me to relate to Olivia but I found myself relating to Beth's storyline also. Beth was once a writer but after becoming a wife and mother, she puts her own self aside, "stuff[ing] so much of herself into a box, banished to the attic for so many years." And through her own sense of loss, she slowly begins to reconnect with the woman she used to be before marriage and motherhood. I believe this is something many women go through. It is easy to forget who we once were. Reading Beth's journey was extremely empowering for me. I learned about myself and my marriage in Beth's story.

Love Anthony is one of the best books I've read in a long time. I related to Love Anthony is so many ways - as a woman, a writer, a wife and a special needs parent. There were moments while reading that I had to close the book, shut my eyes and take a deep breath.  Love Anthony, made me smile and cry. And when I read the last page of the book, I was sad because I wanted to follow these women for the rest of their lives. Beautifully written and painfully real, Lisa Genova, taps into every human emotion. 

Love Anthony is available for preorder and will be available on Tuesday, September 25, 2012 but you can enter to win a free hardcover copy here - see below for details.  

Lisa Genova discusses Love Anthony 


Now for The Rules:

  • You must post a comment with each entry.
  • Comments will be numbered in the order they are listed and a random number generator ( will be used to select the winner.
  • If you combine entries into one post, you will only have one chance to win rather than up to three.
  • Giveaway is open to Continental U.S.
Mandatory entry: Leave a comment. (I'd especially love to hear if you've read anything by Lisa Genova before.) 

Additional entries - you must leave a comment for each additional entry:

This giveaway will end Saturday September 29th at 11:59pm EST. Winner will be announced on Facebook & Twitter by Monday, October 1st.  I will contact the winner and you will have 24 hours to reply.

Disclaimer: I was provided with a complimentary copy of Love Anthony. All opinions are my own. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

If You Won $10,000 What Would You Do?

I could pay off my student loans, a few credit cards, take a (much needed) vacation or put it in the bank.

But if I won $10,000 I wouldn't do any of those things. I'd use the money to better my community. Last year, my friend and I decided we were going to start a non profit and open up a school for kids with autism in The Bronx. My Dream School. Because as of now, there are no appropriate schools - public, private, approved non-public - in The Bronx for kids like The Boy. And as a result, The Boy is bused to a school 22 miles away from home.

When it comes to special needs resources and schools, The Bronx is grossly under serviced. Everything seems to be in Manhattan, Queens or Brooklyn. I shouldn't have to move to make sure my son has the services he needs. Every child has a right a free and appropriate education regardless of their zip code. And when it comes to special education and resources - the appropriate, shouldn't be seen as a privilege. That's why building a Dream School in The Bronx means so much to me.

Starting a non profit takes money, time and more money. Money that 2 working moms struggling to make ends meet don't really have. And so our dream of building a school in The Bronx is one that has been deferred (for now).

And then Nicole of Presley's Pantry nominated me for Yahoo's Women Who Shine. And the grand prize is $10,000! Obviously I will need much more than $10,000 to build a school but it would be a really good start. 

In a few days, I'll be celebrating my blog birthday - 2 years old. And when I first started blogging I never really thought that my words would or could make a difference. I was so moved reading why Nicole nominated me and her words really validated why I continue to write and share our story.

Lisa Quinones Fontanez
Category Mother
Lisa has touched my heart time and time again. I read her blog Autism Wonderland as if it's my personal bible. She is a woman warrior fighting for her autistic son's rights on a daily basis. She has been recognized by Babble as one of the top 30 Autism Blogs, and is a regular contributor to Parents magazine. Unlike many bloggers who use blogging as an outlet to escape into their own private internet world, Lisa dives into her reality and brings wisdom and hope to parents who are going through the same diagnosis with their child. If it wasn't for her blog, I would have NEVER known the signs to look for in an Autistic child.... because of her I was able to recognize my son's early signs of autism, and intervene right away. She is a huge inspiration to many parents who are lost in the autism fog trying to find answers and fearful of what the future holds for our vulnerable delicate children. She is not only changing her son Norrin's life, she is helping hundreds of parents take the right steps to help change the lives of their children too. She is a modern day hero who wears her heart and emotions on her sleeve, and in her darkest moments she is still strong enough to share her own fears with the world.

If you would like to help me win so that I can build my Dream School, you can vote for me by clicking HERE.

If you've voted already - THANK YOU! If you're off to vote - THANK YOU! Would love for you to share with your friends and family. 

Whether or not I win the grand prize - a Dream School in The Bronx will be built. It will not be a dream deferred for too long.

And if you'd like to read about why I starting blogging and how it's changed my life, feel free to click HERE.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

September is World Alzheimer's Awareness Month #EndAlzNow

Today is my birthday. I am one year older - officially late 30s. (Or as The Husband calls it, "the wrong side of 30.") And I worry about getting older more and more. I want to try to live for as long as a I can and to be healthy for as long as I can.

Part of trying to live forever is being aware and trying to take care of myself now. I know I need to lose weight, eat better, brush my teeth twice a day and remember to floss - these are all things that will help improve/maintain my overall health.   

But I also worry about Alzheimer's.  Both of my grandmothers had it.

I remember how sad it was seeing my grandmothers and have them not remember me. Even though they both lived with us for significant amounts of time. It was sad that when I saw them, I could no longer communicate with them because they had both lost the ability to speak English. They lost all track of time, forgetting where they were and who they loved. Alzheimer's robbed both of my grandmothers of their memories. And it was extremely difficult for my family.   

I don't want The Boy to experience that kind of pain. (He may not even be able to understand.) As his mother, I always want to know who he is. I don't want to be robbed of any of my memories of him.

I worry about my parents - they are both over 60 years old. Will the day come when they no longer remember me or my siblings? Will the day come when they no longer remember The Boy? The Boy is their only grandchild and he is extremely attached to them, especially my mother

The Boy with my parents
I am at the age, where I've experienced the loss of loved ones. I am at the age where some of friends have already lost their parents and I have mourned with them.

I want my parents to be healthy and live for as long as they can. Which is why I've registered for the Alzheimer’s Prevention Registry

What's the Registry?
It's a community of people interested in making an impact on Alzheimer's research to help stop the disease. The goal is to keep enrollees informed of the latest news and advocacy to drive focus on Alzheimer's.

Who is eligible for the Registry?
The Registry is open to anyone 18 and older. 

How do I join the Registry? 
It's quick and easy! Just visit to sign up. By signing up, you will have access to information and resources about what’s being done to fight this disease. (You might also be asked to be part of a research study, which is always your choice and you have no obligation to be part of!)

KEY POINTS on Alzheimer's
  • Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia and is not a normal part of aging
  • Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in the U.S. And the only one of the top 10 causes of death that cannot currently be prevented, treated or cured
  • 5.4 million Americans are affected by Alzheimer’s, and someone is diagnosed every 6.9 seconds
KEY POINTS on Alzheimer's and LATINOS
  • Latinos are one-and-a-half more likely than whites to have Alzheimer's but are less likely than whites to receive a diagnosis. The average age when initial symptoms appear in Latinos is 6.8 years earlier than in whites.
  • The number of Latinos with Alzheimer's and related dementias in the United States could increase more than six-fold by 2050, to as many as 1.3 million cases from fewer than 200,000 today..
  • Age is a major risk factor associated with Alzheimer's and life expectancy for Hispanics will increase to age 87 by 2050 - surpassing that of all other racial groups in the nation.
For  More Information on Alzheimers  

* This is a sponsored post in collaboration with The Motherhood and Banner's Alzheimer's Institute. All opinions, ideas and stories are my own. 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Some Days I Don't Feel So Lucky

While attending the BlogHer Healthminder session, I had the pleasure of meeting Kate Canterbury, who blogs at The Guavalicious Life . We chatted only briefly but she was funny and down to earth and she liked my dress (so obviously she has good taste).

I have mixed feelings about BlogHer, but attending the Health Minder session was one of my BlogHer highlights. I loved every panel I attended that day. (There were so many takeaways that I haven't had the chance to write about just yet it, give me time) But Kate Canterbury said something that has stayed with me.

During the "Blogging About Your Special Needs Child" panel session (you can read the full transcript here), Kate said: "I don't feel lucky to have special needs kids. It's extremely hard on our marriage. I think it's valid to share. But I don't want my kids to think they didn't love them. I don't want readers to think I don't like my kids." 

And as soon as Kate said it - the room got really quiet. There were tears in my eyes as I nodded and when I looked up, I noticed there were many women with tears in their eyes nodding their heads.

Kate had the courage to say - out loud - something so many of us keep tucked away in the back of our minds. Because we are scared. 

Scared of what people will think about us. Scared of what people will think about our kids. And scared because people are quick to point, fast to talk and yet so slow to understand.

I love The Boy. My family and friends who know me beyond the blog, know I love The Boy. And I hope, if you've been reading me for a while you know it too.

And I can assure you, I do not want to cure The Boy of anything. 

But that doesn't mean that our life is easy.  That raising a child with autism isn't the hardest thing I've ever done. Or that I don't get sad or mad or frustrated.  

I may be a mom, but I am allowed to have feelings - all of them.

And some days, I don't feel so lucky that my kid has special needs.

I don't feel lucky when I'm up all night worrying about IEP meetings.

I don't feel lucky when my heart aches seeing 6 year old boys whizzing by on their bikes, calling out taunts to their pals.

I don't feel lucky that I had sue the Department of Education just to get an appropriate education for The Boy.  

I don't feel lucky spending thousands of dollars on therapies instead of softball, karate or soccer.

I don't feel lucky that the closest appropriate school is twenty two miles away from home. 

I don't feel lucky when I have to turn down invitations because I know it's something The Boy can't handle.

I don't feel lucky asking The Boy questions and he isn't able to answer.

I don't feel lucky that date nights with The Husband are few and far between because there aren't many people we trust to stay with The Boy.

And I don't feel lucky that the thought of out living The Boy by a day, doesn't seem so bad.

Just as autism is a spectrum, autism parents experience a spectrum of emotions.

And maybe none of my feelings make sense. But you know what? The fact that I have to fight for insurance coverage, school placement and therapies - doesn't make much sense to me, but I go with it.  

But even on those days when I'm not feeling so lucky - I am lucky it's a fleeting feeling. Because most days, I feel like the luckiest mom in the world to have a boy as sweet as mine.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Hope is on the Horizon (Part 2 - What I Hope For the South Bronx School That Failed My Child)

Ever since I wrote Hope is on the Horizon (Part 1) numerous parents going through the Turning 5 process have emailed asking me about the ASD Horizon program.   I was extremely cautious but candid with my words.  And I always let them know that I was simply giving them my opinion and I urged them to tour the school for themselves.

I still believe in the ASD Horizon programBut like so many other things in the world of special education - what is supposed to be and what actually happens are two totally different things.  

It is the South Bronx Public School that implemented the program, I no longer believe in.

I was hopeful about the school and the program when I wrote Part 1.  Even though, I was uncertain about whether or not The Boy could thrive in a typical public school - I wanted him to have a chance.  And I was hopeful in the teacher and I believed the administration would do the right thing if the program was not appropriate for The Boy. 

I want it to be very clear.  The ASD Horizon program did not fail The Boy. 

The Boy's teacher, failed.

The Assistant Principal and Principal, failed.

And the School District who put the ASD Horizon into practice, failed.

I was going to write a long post...detailing our year. But I won't. It's over. The Boy is out of that school and now he's in a better more appropriate place.

Instead, this post will list all the the things I hope the ASD Horizon program at that school becomes - because The Bronx needs this program.

I hope the teacher does not give up on a child on the first half day of school.

I hope they take the time to learn about autism. 

I hope the Assistant Principal does not dismiss parents concerns, telling them to "cálmate" (relax).

I hope the Assistant Princinpal and Principal are forthright when related services are not being provided and work with the parent to ensure their child gets his/her services.

I hope they don't bully the parents within that first month of school, hoping the parent will pull the child out of the school.

I hope they do not make excuses about what they can't do because of budget cuts - that's not an acceptable answer.

I hope the teacher communicates with the parents using a communication notebook. And I hope that if the parent writes to the teacher with a significant concern - her question is answered.

I hope that the Assistant Principal doesn't encourage the teacher to cut off communication with parents.

I hope that in a kindergarten class of six children, every child gets the opportunity to be a Student of the Month.

I hope they will be honest with parents and try to work with them and not against them.

I hope the teacher remains professional and does retaliate against the child.

I hope that if they encounter another parent blogger, they don't print out past blog posts and place them in the child's file. And I hope the Assistant Principal doesn't use blog posts as ammunition to insult the parent.    

I hope that if the teacher is absent for weeks at a time, they will place an appropriate substitute special education teacher in the class.

I hope they really work with New England Center for Children consultants - I hope they value their suggestions and implement them in the classroom.  

I hope they realize that special needs parents are experts when it comes to their kids. I hope they listen to parents and learn to partner with them.

I hope they don't promote a child to the next grade, even though the child failed every single subject, because they want to keep the child in the district rather than suggest a more appropriate placement.

But most of all, I hope that they all remember the reason why they got into education in the first place.