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Showing posts from September, 2011

Autism and Insurance Coverage State Laws

An update from the National Conference of State Legislatures has been posted to their webpage on insurance mandates by various states. The last change to a state law was posted in May 2011, but several changes will be taking effect in approximately a dozen states in 2012 based on these laws and language in the federal Affordable Care Act: Autism and Insurance Coverage State Laws : A total of 33 states and the District of Columbia have laws related to autism and insurance coverage. At least 26 states—Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin—specifically require insurers to provide coverage for the treatment of autism. Other states may require limited coverage for autism under mental health coverage or other laws. Some states have passed laws with num

Dealing with Minor Disasters

I've managed pretty well on my own for the last few months, with some complications, but last night was too much for any one person. For the third time, our basement area took on water. The first two were bad enough, but this was the result of a flash flood, with more than two inches of rain an hour. This morning, you can see the "water line" of debris around the lower level of the house, ranging from four to ten inches. It might be a bit deeper in other spots, but I wasn't going to measure with a ruler. I spent the entire night using a wet/dry shop vac to remove water from the semi-finished living area of the basement. That's where we have stored boxes of our belongings and large items — like a computer, an entertainment center, my CD/DVD collections, etc. Plus, it is where my books and writings are. My writings include my journals from fourth grade until now. Photo albums, yearbooks, and holiday decorations are all in the basement. Our important documents, a

A Peek Inside Our Dysfunctional Community: The Thinking Person's Guide to Autism

Apparently being busy with moving, the new job, and severe bronchitis has spared me the annoyance of the ongoing conflicts within the autism "communities." I admit my interactions with some of the people involved in the latest kerfuffles have not been drama-free. I'm not radical enough for some advocates, while some parents have accused me of being too radical. Welcome to the autism community. However, if you want some insights into the conflicts between adults with ASDs and parent advocates, I suggest you visit The Thinking Person's Guide to Autism. Read the following posts and the comments: The Thinking Person's Guide to Autism: The Self-Advocate/Parent Dialogues I concluded some years ago that the autism communities are dysfunctional, but that's not really news to anyone inside the communities. There are "trolls" in all communities, people searching for conflict and people unable to simply ignore comments and posts with which they disagree.

Blogging on Autism for Autistics, Parents, Educators, or...?

Today I was asked for whom do I write this blog. The individual asking said that I don't write much for autistics, and yet that should be my primary audience. So, was I writing for parents? And if so, which parents? You'd imagine a writing instructor would have an "audience analysis" ready. Any good author is supposed to know his or her audience, we tell our students. I must have a target in mind when I write… right? No. I write whatever comes to mind. This is a blog, a personal reflection on daily life, and I don't pretend that it is a focused work with a consistent rhetorical purpose. Some days, it is a place where I write about science and research. Other days, it is where I record the way I feel about my wife, family, and pets. This blog isn't a planned literary work — it simply happens as it happens. When I write, I'm not trying to offer my experiences as "the autistic experience" of life. I'm aware that I have limits, but I don&

Being Independent Stinks

August and September have been challenging months, yet they also demonstrate that I can live independently — at least as independently as most other working adults. In the last few months, I've had to deal with more disruption to my schedule and life than I thought I could handle. My wife has visited twice and we talk most nights, but for the most part I've had to settle into the new house and job on my own. I couldn't have done what I have without her support, yet that support has been from a distance. Having to drive from Minnesota to Pennsylvania in a single day, right after a flight from Las Vegas to Minneapolis, was too much. I was exhausted and near my breaking point the first few days in Western PA. The movers arrived a few days later. I did my best to deal with the commotion and seemed to do okay, all things considered. My wife's first visit was accompanied by J.C. getting ill. Her second visit ended with her visiting him at the pet hospital. He died only a

Twenty Years and We Are Here

For the first time in many, many years, things feel somewhat "right" in life. Not great, since I'm still dealing with the loss of J.C. Kitty and the stress of missing my wife until she can join us permanently. But, things are better than they have been in almost two decades. My wife is the most important person in my life, and the last decade has been anything but fair and good to her. Our relationship imploded for a time, in no small part because doctors (of both the medical and mental health variety) had little clue how to address physical and neurological issues. For most of the time we've known each other, I've never felt like I deserved her as a friend, much less as a companion. I wanted her to be happy — and I doubted very much that I could give her the life she deserved. We've lost a fair amount of time and money trying to earn enough to live. I dreamed of earning enough to "pay her back" for all she did. Instead, we went backwards. A comp

Another Three Weeks

A couple of hours ago, I drove my wife to the airport. She's returning to our home in Minnesota for a few weeks. Her next visit will likely be at the end of September and last only two or three days. This move has been a challenge, especially as we maintain two houses until the previous one sells. I don't mind being somewhat alone, and I definitely prefer to be alone in my office on campus when I'm working, but being without my wife is different. She's my guide and my companion. I don't like Minneapolis, but if she's there, that's where my thoughts are. As I returned home from the airport, a storm rolled into the area with rain, lightning, and wind. It was dark and gloomy — pretty much how I felt on the way home. Today was a day we remember both first responders and those called to serve in the months and years after September 11, 2001. I can't imagine being in the military and serving for months, even a year or more, away from my family. The famil

Sticking to the Familiar

My wife is visiting this week, which at least temporarily restores some familiar order to my daily routines. Even before her first visit, I'd already established some routines in and around our new home. One of the "happy things" about the new home is that I can stick to five major roads for everything from getting to work to shopping for groceries. I don't want to learn more roads, and am in no hurry to memorize new paths to anywhere. I drive down an interstate expressway to work. The same expressway takes me to shopping centers or to the streets on which shopping is located. I shop for groceries at two stores. In our previous residence, I preferred one store but shopped at several because cities are like that. Living in a rural area, there is one dedicated grocer and a Super Walmart within a few miles of our house. Those two are our choices and I'm content with that. I can memorize two store layouts and develop my routines. There is one restaurant I really like.

Meet Misty

I'd like to introduce Misty. Since moving, I've been shopping at a PetSmart location near the university. For that entire time (a month and a week or two), Misty has been in the adoption cages. Then, last Saturday, I noticed the employees had removed her tag and were sorting some paperwork in a large white three-ringed binder. I asked if someone had adopted Misty. No. She had reached her limit with the Humane Society. Misty arrived in April and August was as long as they could give her. Misty was so calm, quiet, and even "sad" looking that she didn't attract enough attention. She had been turned over to the shelter at the age of two and half, so she isn't a cute little blue-eyed kitten. But she is adorable. She is a beautiful cat, who simply needed a home. Having had an elderly owner, according to the Humane Society, Misty was accustomed to relaxed, slow moving people. The "spunky" kittens around her in other cages would run up and stick ou