Showing posts with label The World According To Ben. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The World According To Ben. Show all posts

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Adventures in Autism - 08/18/2012

Ben is addicted to Minecraft. Worse than that, he is addicted to Minecraft YouTube videos.

You see, I refuse to buy the full copy for Xbox. A major reason is exactly what the conversation between ben and his Grandfather pointed out.

Granddaddy: "So, what's the point of this Mindcraft game?"
Ben: "There is no point to it."

BINGO! Regardless, it's entertainment so normally I wouldn't mind a bit. My frustration comes from the obsession of watching hours upon hours of videos of people playing the game. Not even playing the game, just WATCHING people play the game.

I'm running Windows 8 and thank God it doesn't want to run properly. I would fight with it and get it to work except for the fact he keeps making me angry to the point I hate the game.

This evening he watched videos for three hours. THE WIFE had mercy on him and allowed him computer time even though he had no cleaned his room as he was told. At the end of three hours I told the kids it was time to start getting ready for bed and they needed to straighten up the living room. Ben took his nightly medicine and I told him to log off the computer and began to re-enforce the evening procedure. I was calm and matter-of-fact, but Ben became infuriated.

The transition to bedtime and looming school year seem to be taking their toll on him as this is a pretty volitile time anyway. Any parent of an Autistic kid will tell you transitioning is a very difficult process for the kids. The fact Ben has developed bad habits about staying up late and sleeping in only add to the problem.

When Ben became agitated I asked if we needed to go through who is the parent and who is not again. Ben made the statement he was going to go to the computer and watch a few more video. I explained he was not and him telling me he was going to made sure he absolutely would not.

It took one more, "Yes, I am." I then walked over to the computer and unplugged it to make sure it went down without the need to have a physical confrontation over the shutdown. He stormed off to his room and slammed the door.

We've tried to explain when we get yelled at and treated disrespectfully we aren't going to reward him with what he wants. He also fails to see anything other than total agreement with what he wants as unreasonable.

I guess I will have something to bring up at the next meeting with his psychologist. Being a NT sucks sometimes.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Scholastic Adventures Of Ben

We are considering putting Ben in a private school.  I know it sounds like I am bragging to make everyone think we are made of money.  In actuality I am running a money scheme through my head.

I'm thinking about Sally Struthers kind of thing, where you help contribute to his tuition.  In exchange you will get a picture of your Ben to hang on your refrigerator along with a dictated letter (or mp3 file of him talking) for you.

Periodically you can get updates from your Ben so you can keep track of how he is doing.  Report cards and photos. (If you miss a payment you may get a box with a code brown in it ;) ).

For less that the payment of a luxurious home, you can make a difference in an autistic kid's life.

(Or you could just send cases of beer and he can play X-Box all day while I drink!)

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Bullies Are Dumb

I've written many times about my son Ben who is on the Autistic spectrum.  Ben is a very loving and kind young man who will grow up to be a wonderful productive adult.  Unfortunately he has to deal with being a kid first.

A little while back we got him a three wheel bicycle for him to ride.  He was learning to ride the bicycle and had a crash and since then has refused to try two wheelers anymore.  He love his bike and loves to ride it.  Unfortunately he has to deal with the neighborhood kids.

The kids are the normal, we see something not completely like what we see everyday and so we have to make fun of it.  Poor Ben came in crushed because every time he rides when kids are around they taunt and tease him.  Tonight they called him "Pip Squeak."

Ben's a big, burly 13 year old and I can vouch as a 270 pound adult who has had to wrestle him and hold him down, he is extremely strong.  These kids don't realize when we bring Ben in, or won't let him ride around them, we aren't protecting him from them, but rather them from him.

Of course, if he beat the ever-living snot out of a couple of them he could ride his bike in peace.

If only I was a little less of a good parent. *sigh*

Monday, August 01, 2011

Hot Enough For Ya? / The Ben Cave

Here in Dallas we've been blessed with some mild summers for the last several years. This year is just brutal hot though. I have to admit, I am impressed because it was so hot over this weekend that as I sit and type this I feel the same way I do when I have a sunburn. That sickly, radiating heat feeling.


In other news, we have completed phase one of "The Ben Cave."

What is "The Ben Cave" you ask? Well, as my constant readers know, my middle kid Ben is an Aspie (on the Autistic Spectrum for us Nuero Typicals) and as he approaches his 13th birthday he is not only trying to struggle with dealing with issues most people take for granted, he also has a freight train of hormones running through his body. For example: last month our church put on a block party for a neighborhood as outreach. Everyone had a great time, but at the end of the night Ben was so overstimulated we had a full on meltdown complete with screaming, hair pulling and trying to jump out of the truck...

And that was just me. ;-)

OK, so this month we had a repeat and once again everyone had a great time. Ben had a bad moment with one of his friends at the end of the party, but when we headed out this time there was a little bit of yelling, a lot of tears, but no violent outburst. (Praise God).

A major part of this is due to the fantastic job of his team of doctors. His developmental pediatrician Doctor Mike Rios is not only a true Star Wars fan, but he has helped Ben with his meds and has given him someone he can relate to and look up to. His psychologist Doctor Denise Wooten is a women sent by God as she has helped him, and us, to learn coping mechanisms.

One thing that she recommended for Ben was to give him a small quiet place he could go to. Ben has been sharing a room with his sisters and they all wind up freaking out, getting angry and shedding tears. She and THE WIFE talked over things and THE WIFE came up with the idea to make Ben his own "Man Cave" (so to speak).

So now (like Harry Potter) Ben is living under the stairs. We had been talking about sheet rocking in under our landing to make a small play room for the kids. With the idea, we simply moved quicker and decided to at least do a temporary measure to see if this would help Ben before we went full bore. Obviously there will be some paint coming soon so it loses some of the trailer park look, but it's functional right now.

As I type this Ben is sleeping quietly on his mat in his cave. He was EXTREMELY excited by the fact I built a special room just for him. I also have to say, while I was enclosing it, I noticed you could lay with your head under the stairs portion and it was very quiet and peaceful. Also, because it's a million degrees outside (and inside tonight) we have a fan blowing into the upper portion to keep some air circulating. This is also giving him some white noise.

Everyone who is so inclined, I would sincerely appreciate a prayer for my little man. He's quickly becoming a big man and I want him to keep his heart of gold forever. If you aren't inclined to pray, just some good thoughts are appreciated.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my rambling. I hope God blesses you.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Rules? Who Needs Rules?

Today was interesting.  First off we had to pull Ben out of school after the school gave THE WIFE notice that he wasn't doing so well.  They felt like he isn't doing so well, blah blah blah...

Whatever, the writing is on the wall, so the boy is now home schooled for the rest of the year.

Now, in dealing with this, I got called by some managers about a site that is so angry. (Score one).  They are threatening to pull our server. (Score two).  They don't feel like they are getting good enough support. (Score three).  And several more sales depend on this getting fixed which will result in thousands of dollars in revenue. (TECH SUPPORT BINGO!!!!)

Here is the situation; our sever has a list of phones we have tested and deemed to be fully compatible.  The salesholes push the fact we are SIP based and that any SIP phone will work on our system, but tend to forget that if we haven't tested for full compatibility, there may be some things that don't work right.  This can be caused by things being implemented in different methods or a bug on one side or the other.  I admit, we aren't perfect, but we are pretty good.

The important thing is to remember if the phones have not been fully tested, we do not guarantee full compatibility.  Basically that is a big red flag which stops troubleshooting.  If it works on a phone that is fully tested and not one one that isn't, boom, we are supposed to punt the problem away.

So of course we have a HUGE site which just purchased our server with a bunch of Cisco SIP phones that are not on our fully compatible list.  Sure enough, there is a bug with the Cisco terminal.  Does our reseller call Cisco and demand they fix the bug?


They call us and demand we figure out some way to make these terminals which are not on our fully compatible list and have a bug (a bug that I have proven is legitimate and Cisco supposedly fixed several loads back) because THEY SOLD THEM TO THE CUSTOMER!

What's really sad.

Because cash is being threatened, I have been asked to try to figure out some way to make it happen.

Why make rules that you won't enforce?  Why not just say, sure we'll have our minion get right on it.

Whatever; you guys pay my salary.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Life Is Strange

In addition to getting a foot of snow last week in Dallas, I am trying to adjust to other things, obviously Ben is too. The teacher I was thrilled for him to get has a problem with her work Visa and cannot continue working for the school. My frustration boils over because I am called "Racist" or "Heartless" for wanting everyone to follow our immigration laws, but seeing someone who is working and following the rules fail drives me insane. Knowing that there are millions of people here who just walked across the border and either stole an identity or are living off the grid while this woman gets harassed by Homeland Security is nothing but CRAP! We need immigration reform in this country and I openly admit that, but with that said, we HAVE to secure our borders. We can't just keep giving amnesty to illegal immigrants every 30 years or so and calling it "Reform." We also have to streamline the process to get immigrants INTO the country because there are a lot of people who want the American dream. I have hopes for Ben, I know God is watching out for him and his situation is better than is ever was before even with all the turmoil of the last couple of weeks. I still have my faith. I just hurt to see my son having more frequent meltdowns and fighting more frequently with everyone. I have also noticed he isn't sleeping in his bed anymore, he has pulled his bedding off and is sleeping in the floor of his closet. I don't understand, but all I can do is try to help and trust in God.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Thanking God For A Moment

I wrote about Ben's troubles at his old school.  We moved him after THE WIFE spent the last of his third grade year homeschooling him.  His fourth grade year was much better as we changed school and got him into a class with a teacher who loves him and worked with us to help him succeed.

This year has been rougher because he had to move to fifth grade and had a new teacher.  She was great with him and worked hard to understand him and try different things.  Unfortunately her class is basically a bunch of hoods.  For some reason parents are blinded into never seeing when their kids misbehave and think their little "Prince" or "Princess" can do no wrong.  That is the situation there.  Throw on the fact this is the teacher's first year and you have a recipe for disaster.

Because of all the problems with the other kids in the class we were frantic because we started seeing behavior problems which were not related to his Asperger's.  Backtalking people, refusing to do work or co-operate in addition to real problems and shutting down.  We were mortified and all of us (home and school) were trying to find a solution.

Now there has been a shake up at the school and Ben's teacher was moved from fifth grade to first grade.  That meant Ben was getting a new teacher.  We were terrified.  How would Ben handle it?  What would she be like?

I need to learn to relax and trust that God has his hand in this.  Ben's old teacher is LOVING teaching first grade and now realizes what a great job she has.  Ben's new teacher is a wonderful woman who is full of love and IMMEDIATELY spotted what was going on.  She talked with a friend of THE WIFE and mentioned she has noticed all of the kids in the class are picking on Ben.  This alleviated our fears that Ben had just "Turned Bad."  She even immediately picked up on a situation where Ben was being blamed for instigating problems with another kid, when she picked up on the other kid instigating.

Thank you God.  Thank you for watching over my boy.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Happy Birthday Benjamen!

Today Ben and his Star Wars hair turn 11. Congratulations big guy and good luck on the rest of them. May you have many many more!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Thanksgiving Quotes

Ben: Hey! Everything on this menu is in Spanish!
Me: That's because we are at a Mexican restaurant, son.


Lucie: We have to put the star on top of the Christmas Tree so Santa knows we have one.
Me: So without the star on the tree he won't notice the tree?

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

More Aspie Fun

Time for more idiocy from LISD in the ongoing adventures of Ben.

For those of you who have kept up for a while you will remember we pulled Ben from his school he was assigned to and finished the 2007-2008 year by homeschooling him.  In the 2008-2009 year, he moved to a charter school and has been doing much better which is in a huge part because of the school's willingness to work with him and listen to suggestions we offer.  They also are actually familiar with things such as Autism and Aspergers.

Today we had a shocker from the school as they said he needed to be doing all of his math work (he was doing a reduced work load as part of his IEP (Individual Education Plan)).  The Occupational Therapist said she was sure he was doing all of his work last year (which he was at the beginning of the year).  They pulled the IEP and sure enough, no shortened assignments for math.

THE WIFE called me and told me what was going on and we BOTH remembered him having shortened assignments from his old school from our last ARD.  She said she would pull our files as soon as she got home, she did and...

He had shortened assignments in multiple areas including math.  The IEP sent to his current school didn't match our paperwork.  So the school is going to run with our version of stuff until our next ARD.

What a mess.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Bedtime For The Kiddos

Ben decided he was going to sleep in the girls room (sleepover-party-time-kinda-thing). The great and terrible malfunction tonight was Ben insisted he wanted to watch "Good Burger" with the girls. The Girls wanted to watch "Ariel."

"Ben," I said, "the girls want to watch either a cartoon or something girly. You should pick a cartoon."

Ben turned to Sadie and asked "Do you want to watch this?" Sadie immediately agreed.

Knowing this would immediately result in an explosion as Sadie had no idea what she was voting on I sent Ben on to sleep in his room and the girls on to bed watching "Peter Pan." I gave it one more shot and asked Ben if he would watch "Peter Pan" with the girls.It was met with a big "NO." (It's an Aspie thing, once his mind is locked in on one thing it is nearly impossible to change it.)

BTW. If your name is Marshall you might be a "BAD FRIEND." Of course if some people spent time with us and loved us, they might move up to "FRIEND EXTRAORDINAIRE!"

Thursday, June 04, 2009

A Selfless Act

Things are going on around the house I can't share, but I think (hope, pray) the bad stuff is under control. Since I have chosen to keep that private I will share something which made THE WIFE and I burst with pride.

At Ben's school the kids have the ability to earn "Dollars" for good behavior and accomplishments. Those "Dollars" are saved for the end of the year where the school has an auction and the kids get to buy donated stuff. Today was the day of the auction and Ben had all of his "Money" ready and this morning he went in and spent all of his money on one thing.

A football for his big brother Christopher.

He did it because it hit him his brother would probably like to have a new football.

He is now trying to find the ball needle and pump to make sure it is inflated before he gets home. This simple act of selflessness is the kind of thing that makes me so proud of my children and makes me so happy to be a father.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

The Birth Of A Sweatshop

OK, so THE WIFE and I wanted to do something nice for Ben's class. This year his Aspie tantrums have been much better and everything has been manageable for the most part. His new school has made all the difference in the world and I would love to thank them and dance at all of their weddings, but alas I am a terrible dancer, so we settled for this:

That's right folks. We "Borrowed" Michigan J. Frog from Warner Brothers and made a batch of shirts. (and before the lawyers call we DID NOT CHARGE FOR THIS and we only made 20 shirts for the kids. Think of it as free advertising for you).

We were going to make a batch with me printing off the graphic and then tracing and inking each shirt by hand. Fortunately for everyone involved Ben's uncle Louie dropped the suggestion to try iron ons. A quick trip to The Wal-Marts and BLAMMO! We had a graphic which once run through a mirror effect was printed, ironed on and ever so stylish.

Iron ons took me back. Now I am thinking we should start doing retro shirts with iron ons for some side cash? Starsky and Hutch, The A-Team, Battlestar Galactica style iron on shirts, but with the modern shows cast and stuff. I think I could even add the weathered look.

Anyone interested, let me know if the comments. Make up a request and I'll work up some graphics. This one got banged out pretty quick and I think it didn't look too bad. Here's a close up of the final product.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Writing Projects

Well, I was a good boy last night and spent some time on my writing projects. I decided to clean up and prep some of the illustrations for one of the kid books I am writing. I also printed off the opening couple of pages to one I was writing to educate kids on Asperger's syndrome so Ben could read it.

Ben started reading it and said, "Hey this kid sounds like me!"

"Really," I said while being totally happy he had connected with the character I had modeled after him. I was ready to get the big head and listen to him talk about how I was spot on in nailing his feelings and putting them to paper. I imagined how my kids book would revolutionize the way Asperger's and Autism is viewed by the world.


"So, what about the kid reminds you of yourself?" I had to know.

"Well, he does imitiations. I do imitations, I can sound just liek anyone."

"... Uh Really? Any thing else?" Confusion was setting in. I never included anything about "Imitatation" in the opening draft.

"He like to act like a cat. I like to act like a cat. He's just like me."

"Cool." I was still confused. I started thinking back through the draft and then a line jumped out at me:
He could talk like everyone, but his voice sounded different, kind of like a robot.
Oops. May need to do a bit of a touch up there. I think Ben kind of missed the point of the statement from my 8 year old narrator.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Nice Weekend

This weekend Ben got to go to an outing to DFW airport to have tour of the Air Traffic Control Tower. A friend of his from Karate has a parent who works there and arranged for a group of special needs kids to get to visit the airport, speak with some of the controllers and see the tower in action.

It was amazing to see how the third busiest airport in the country routes aircraft in and out of it's 7 active (at any time) runways. I also did not realize DFW airport takes up roughly the same amount of land mass as Manhattan island in New York. We got to visit the West tower (DFW has three active towers to control traffic) and from there we could watch the taxiways, runways and watch the incoming and outgoing aircraft. The kids were treated to getting to watch a 747 take off and minutes later seeing another one land.

My hats off to the men and women who run that place and watch over our safety as wel travel. Thanks to all of you for letting our kids get a peek behind the scenes.

Friday, October 24, 2008

I Can See Clearly Now The Hair Is Gone

Well, the latest installment in the ongoing adventures with Benjamen occurred last night. Ben was working on his homework (he was having an OK day, not the best, not the worst). For whatever reason, he was annoyed by his hair getting in his eyes so he took a pair of safety scissors with about a two inch blade and "Trimmed" his bangs.

It's a little uneven. I am sure THE WIFE will have some pictures.

I never knew the excitement we would have with kids.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Good News For Ben

Well I am pleased to say all the pain we went through last year has paid off. Ben brought home all A's on this report card. In addition he also has an "Excellent" in "Respectful" on his behavior.

Wow, hard to believe the "Teacher with 22 years of experience" had so much trouble with him.

I know it isn't right to hold such hatred anger a strong dislike for his old teacher. I should share in our joy. I believe I will fax a copy of his report card to the principal, the old witch his old teacher and the doctors associated with LISD.

Perhaps LISD should look a little more closely into what the problem was last year. I really wish they would, before it happens to another kid.

Monday, June 30, 2008


OK, so POST-Disney I have some observations concerning Ben.

1. The boy is a Roller Coaster JUNKIE! Loves them. Space Mountain, Rock and Roller Coaster etc... BRING 'EM ON!

2. He is definitely showing stims like mad now. Hitting his head with his pillow. I have also noticed he is REALLY into being a gorilla at the moment (still way into being a cat as well). I wonder if once he has been at home for a while if he will ease off, or if this is a here to stay phase.

3. Ben is not thinking through options unless you walk him through the consequences. An example is I told him to stay downstairs at my Dad's house because THE WIFE and my step-mom were talking upstairs. Ben asked why and I said because "I said so." He looked at me, scowled and went upstairs. I got him, spanked him and he denied ever hearing me tell him not to go.

The next time he was choosing not to do something, I walked him through what would happen and he chose to do what he was told to do.

4. I am more tired now than I was before vacation.

5. I don't officially start my new job until tomorrow and I am already behind.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Well things came to head yesterday with IT. I got a call from my 11 year old telling me IT had gotten into Ben's face and was yelling at him because Ben wouldn't do what IT said. He had run up to the van with THE WIFE inside and told her she needed to get over there.

THE WIFE navigated the sea of stupidity which is a school zone during kid pickup and got over during the yelling match between IT and Ben. IT was trying to keep Ben from leaving (which is a good thing because IT had him so upset he probably would have walked right out into traffic). THE WIFE asked what was going on and tried to get Ben to answer her with IT chiming in left and right. Finally THE WIFE had enough and told IT that IT needed to get out of people's faces.

IT didn't like that.

IT then got into the face of THE WIFE and yelled at her then spun to walk away. THE WIFE grabbed at her, but fortunately for IT, she wasn't able to get a good hold of her.

So Ben will be home schooled now. We have been trying to decide whether to do it or not, but this is the final straw. I spoke with the principal yesterday who assured me he was having a staff meeting and would call me with some plan of action for what to do with Ben.

Nope, WAY too little, WAAAAAAYYYYY too late.

I'll talk with him this afternoon, but THE WIFE will be sending out the letter notifying them we will be homeschooling Ben later today. Furthermore, I fully intend to follow up with the district as Ben has been undergoing nothing short of torture from this IT which refuses to acknowledge he has a disability. I realize not everything is a result of his disability, but we can't find out what is because IT treated everything as a behavior problem.

I look from my sons to be much happier. Ben because he doesn't have to deal with IT again and Chris because he doesn't have to watch his brother get bullied anymore.

My biggest regret is I gave the system a chance and made my son go through so much crap instead of being a raging jerk and demanding the world. It is my first go at being an advocate though.