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About Dad…

How you doin’?


I have written lots of blogs, usually about the Detroit Lions or my latest project (book, movie, tree house, etc), but I have never really written about my son, Noah.

My wife writes about him often. She does the research. She is an incredible advocate.

Me? I blunder on learning from her predigested research and only occasionally doing my own when a particularly puzzling problem arises. I take care of the bills, kill the spiders, get the stuff off the top shelves, take out the garbage, do the dishes, occasionally do the laundry and try to be as understanding as possible with both Noah and the other two offspring. Noah is 8, Rylee is 12, and Dane is 20…each one has been their own set of peculiar, frustrating and humbling challenges.

Noah has been diagnosed with “High functioning Autism”, which in his case is a weird speech development away from Aspergers Syndrome. He was diagnosed at about 2 with PDD-NOS, which is pretty much a label that says “something is not right, but insurance won’t pay for anything.” Two years later, we got a diagnosis that ensured we could get some form of help in the schools and with doctors.

He is a screaming, running, flying bundle of energy. He is funny. He is smart. He is ultra loving. But he is definitely different from other kids his age.

This is one of the things I have the hardest time with. He is different, but in so many ways, he’s not. He loves to watch TV and play video games and shoot nerf guns and play in the snow…but he’ll also watch the same show fifty times in a row and recite the dialog along with the show every time and he’ll talk to you in that same dialog for days afterward as if you’re supposed to know what he’s talking about. He also has OCD routines like he has to put three rocks in every drainage cover and use the bathroom at every place we go.

So I have a hard time differentiating if, for example, Noah is just being lazy, like any other kid, when he asks my wife and I to get him salami (eight slices on a plate) or is it that he expects the routine of us getting him salami? I know he can get the plate and the salami and actually peel off the pre-cut slices…he can count to eight…

There are just so many things that I worry about for Noah that were never even a consideration for the other two children. At about the age of three, he was diagnosed with an 18 month developmental delay. It has always been my belief that, with hard work, he would eventually just make up that gap, but now he’s eight and I think he’s probably still a year or so behind. Perhaps that’s progress and when he reaches adulthood that shouldn’t matter at all, but…it’s still bothersome.

What if he can never write legibly? His handwriting is atrocious. My handwriting is bad, but it’s legible. For Noah, I have to call in the local serial killer to do translations. In fact, watching him write, is mind boggling…just the way he forms some of his letters. He does it in ways I never would have dreamed of. He spaces his letters and words in ways that don’t make any sense to me at all.

Why? Probably, because his brain works different than mine and everybody else who doesn’t have his diagnosis. There isn’t anything wrong, it’s just different. Of course, it’s not legible, but he’ll have to figure out within himself how to get his ideas across. And my wife and I and his teachers are here to try and help him–as frustrating as that may be.

Also, he’s eight now and it is obvious that he’s not quite like the other kids, which leaves him open to bullying. Noah is ultra trusting and he wants to be everybody’s friend, which leaves him wide open to be taken advantage of by said bullies.

We had several instances last year of kids pushing Noah and otherwise just being stupidly cruel to him–because kids can really be dicks. And Noah protected these punks because he was convinced they were his friends. This is another huge fear. It is especially frustrating that there are laws against ripping the heads off of bullies and throwing them in the street to be run over by passing cars…damn government….

So, anyway, I’m going to write about a lot of these fears and tell stories about Noah and about the other two…

And I’ll probably talk about my marriage too, because, if you believe some reports, the divorce rates among couples with special needs kids is atrocious.

So anyway….


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