In which The Very Hungry Caterpillar is referred to at least once
Boys Grow Up

A Guest at the Center and a Different Walk

Portrait of a biker

Charlie's erratic sleep pattern has its benefits, so to speak.

As on Wednesday, Charlie struggled to wake up and get out of bed on Thursday morning. We were again quite late getting to the Big Autism Center. 

Once there, Charlie took his time getting out of the car. We drop him off on the school's lower level; above is a bridge to an upper level, which houses administrative offices and is the official entrance. I noted that a couple, maybe several people were walking on the walkway and talking. Usually only one or two people walk in and they are usually quiet, especially if they're parents or various consultants.

Then I heard a woman say "Call me Mary Pat." And then, "Is all of this for the Big Autism Center?"

As in, the speaker, noting the size of Charlie's school (it really is housed in a big, quite new and quite nice building), was asking if the whole structure was indeed for autistic children?

(Um, yes, that's why the center's name, prominently displayed on a sign at the entrance, is what it is.) (It's not actually 'Big Autism Center' but something of the sort.) 

I walked backwards (the better to keep an eye on Charlie) into the Center, pressed the intercom button, and told the secretary that Charlie was (at long last) at school. I could just see that several students were sitting in the (usually empty) front reception area, as was (I think) the music teacher with his keyboard. I inferred the students were going to greet the guest and maybe even to perform for her? (Not Charlie, though; he hadn't wanted to sing at the school's spring concert and generally doesn't care to perform on command.)

The aide who came to walk Charlie to his room confirmed my sense of who the guest was. In regard to him sleeping late, she laughed and said, guess now that he's turned 14 he's decided to be a teenager, with teenagerish sleep habits.

(New Jersey residents, and others who follow US politics, may/will identify who was the special guest at Charlie's school.)

After a slow but steady several-mile afternoon bike ride, Charlie was out cold around 8.45pm. He woke around 10pm and tromped downstairs, iPad in hand and on. He stood around holding the iPad close to his ear for several minutes and then asked twice for a bike ride -- the answer did have to be no -- and then for a walk. 

Sometimes he likes to bring the iPad, gripping it surely as he barrels down the street. It was drizzling lightly last night and Charlie, fortunately, left the iPad playing Disney songs on the living room floor.

At a certain juncture he made a right, a move that portends a long (5 mile plus) walk. On we walked in a single file, me behind Charlie and Jim behind me. And then, as we passed a local school where he had some rather tumultuous summer school days, Charlie -- first time ever -- made a right into the school's driveway and cut the walk in half.

He still couldn't sleep till very late (very---he's still up at 'post time') and I'm wagering he'll have another super-slow time getting out of bed on Friday. But after over a year of walking the same walk upteen times, that one Charlie-initiated right turn was in the right direction: Charlie knows the score.



The image of the three of you walking in single file makes me smile (almost Abbey Road).

There does seem to be more variety in Charlie's walking and bike riding, which is good, a good development for Charlie I imagine.

Great photo!

Kristina Chew

Jim is trying out different streets on their bike routes too. Very good to get out of a rut!


Mrs. Christie, the First Lady of New Jersey?

You see a splendid BAC, perfect for caring for the needs of Charlie and other kids on the spectrum. The Christies see an opportunity for cutting the "fat." "Does the BAC really need all these amenities just for themselves?"

Kristina Chew

'Do autistic kids really need such a nice facility?'


"After all, autistic children can't rea;;y tell the difference, can they? It's bot like they were *normal*. Why don't we have such nice facilities like this for the gifted and talented?" You've got it, Kristina.

When it comes to education, I don't trust anything this administration does. Having Mary Pat at the BAC would make me fear for its continued support.

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