Monthly Archives: July 2014

What Really Happened When I Drove Him to the Grocery Store

I don’t know what was tougher—the pitocin drip during my induced labor, sending my son off to school for the first time or what he asked me to do last week. All three reduced me to tears.

Last week I gave him a ride to his first part-time job. Talk about heart-wrenching! It sure reminded me of his first day of school when he walked in and didn’t look back. He did the same thing this time. He sat in the car with me for a few minutes. Yes, he was anxious and nervous. I said a few things (some quotes/lines from his favorite movies) to get him laughing, then he was off. “Okay, I’m going in.” He walked through the door and didn’t look back. His first day on the job was supposed to be a short four-hour shift, but someone called in sick and the manager asked if he could stay and work another shift. So he said yes. Is someone becoming flexible or what? 

He texted me once to tell me he was staying longer and that he’d need some food and once more to declare “I’m almost done! Tomorrow I’m sleeping in.”

Such an important milestone!

Such an important milestone!

When I picked him up, he sauntered out of the building and I immediately noticed that something was different. He’d changed. He wasn’t the unsure teen I dropped off hours earlier. He’d had a new experience so there was a bit of measured cockiness in his step. Like the Henry Hill character in “Goodfellas” the first time he got “pinched” and Paulie Cicero (Paul Sorvino) congratulated him declaring, “You broke your cherry!” 

He was carrying a huge jug of drinking water. He opened the car door, sighed and said, “Well, I made about $70 today! Tomorrow I’m not doing anything, mom. My legs and feet hurt from standing so long. This is good training for marching band. And I thought band practice was a bitch!” (He took a swig of water.) “Look, I bought this for two bucks! Well, it only cost $1.20, but I gave ‘em $2 for it.” Knowing how he is with money, I then asked if he got change. “Well yeah, of course, mom.”

Wow. Who knew that one day on the job would change him in so many positive ways?

Money is a great motivator!

Later on when I said good night to him I again told him how proud I was of him and in my moment of weakness I suggested he take his first paycheck and spend it on whatever he wanted. We had already had discussions about saving some, but I wanted to reward him. His response floored me. “No mom, I think I’ll save it.”  

I hope you all get to experience this exciting adventure with your kids when the time comes. As we tiptoe through the process, we learn new things every moment. From struggling with scheduling to self-advocating to attitude, transitions and more. What a treasure trove of life lessons each workday brings us. Please share your stories of your kids’ employment—we’d love to hear them!

What fun! What growth!

I’m feeling more and more like an empty-nester. What a weird feeling that is! Time to clean some closets.


IHSS Workshop! RSVP Now!

In-Home Supportive Services:  Eligibility, Services, and Preparing For Assessment

If you’ve ever had questions about In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS), this is the workshop for you. Topics include:

  • IHSS Program Overview
  • Eligibility
  • Services Offered
  • Protective Supervision
  • Preparing for Your Assessment or Reassessment
  • Resolving Disagreements / Appeal Process

See attached flyer for more info.

Presented by Area Board XI

When:  Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Time: 6-8pm

Location: Area Board XI Office— 2000 East Fourth Street, Suite 115   Santa Ana, CA  92705

(Located inside the Citizens Business Bank building at the cross streets of 4th and Golden Circle)

RSVP REQUIRED! Call (714) 558-4404 or email

Please indicate if you are a parent or professional at the time of RSVP!

 Please note that parents of children with disabilities receive registration priority.

Teaching Kids to Speak Up | JIE Workshop


Think about it. What could be more important?

  • Learn Critical Tools and Strategies to Respond to Bullying
  • Suitable for students (8 years and up) and parents
  • Improve student-teacher/staff relationships
  • Prepare students for IEP team meetings


Natividad Chavira, General Counsel

Michael Clements, Advocate

Rebecca Jurado, Elementary School Teacher, Attorney

No Cost – Interactive Discussion


6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

See attached flyer.

Justice In Education

RSVP:  714.542.1707 or

2101 N. Tustin Ave., Santa Ana 92705 (park in rear)

Santa Ana Ca  92705

Don’t Miss This Week’s TIP from ARM!

Click here:  


Get to work!

A special shout out to a certain fella who’s on the first day of his first part-time job! Everyone here at ARM is rooting for you! We know this is a big step — as scary as it is exciting. If it’s worth anything, I shoutOUT4was nervous and anxious for the first weeks [months!] of each new job I faced. All of us at ARM are proud of you as you take one step closer to independent adulthood. Bravo! 

GUEST POST FRIDAY & FREE Offer! Music to your ears!

Michelle Lazar, owner of Tuned In To Learning, wrote today’s guest post on music therapy.

Michelle Lazar, Autism Specialist and Music Therapist

She’s generously included a coupon code for my readers to receive a free month on any of Tuned in to Learning’s subscription products. Coupon Info:

Use this Coupon Code to redeem your free month: ARMsub

In order to help support families and educators working with children and adults with autism and special needs, Tuned in to Learning offers music therapy for special education products. In recognition of ARM and its readership, we’d like to extend a special coupon code for a free month on any of our subscription products. Use Coupon Code: ARMsub to redeem your free month!

Music Therapy and Autism:  Tips, Activities and Research

Guest post by Michelle Lazar, MA, MT-BC, Autism Specialist and Music Therapist As Music Therapists, we see the smile that appears on our students’ faces when we bring out the guitar or start singing one of their favorite songs. Music helps create a joyful connection which we can use as an in-road to target more challenging or non-preferred tasks.  While we experience these positive results, what is the scientific basis which supports this intriguing relationship between music and autism and how can parents and professionals use music to help their child or students? Continue reading

BRIGHT IDEA | Employment for Individuals on the Autism Spectrum

John Elder Robison has the TCS Auto Program in Springfield, MA.*  And Chicago-based Aspiritech has done it for software testers. I’d love to see this trend of putting people with autism spectrum disorder to work go viral — across all business sectors. Because everyone on the spectrum has something to offer. They just may need some support.


Here’s an entree from a group in Encinitas, CA —  Positive Action Community Theatre [PACT]** — that is hoping to do the same. Goldmine Entrepreneurs is looking for interested individuals who want to start enterprises eventually headed and operated by individuals on the spectrum. Read more here.

* This is a satellite campus of Tri County Schools, part of Northeast Center for Youth and Families [NCYF] of Easthampton, MA. NCYF is a private nonprofit corporation serving young people and families with emotional and developmental challenges.  The TCS Auto Program is located in John Elder Robison’s Springfield Automotive Complex right next to Robison Service.

**  PACT Saturday workshops held at:  535 Encinitas Blvd., Suite 101  Encinitas, CA 92024      Ph: 760-815-8512


ACES’ Sibshops Offers GET SAFE Class

ACES has a group just for siblings of kids with special needs — Sibshops. And on Sunday, July 27 there’s a Safety & Empowerment Class from 10am to 1pm. 

RSVP:  Marilyn Lord (714) 438-9464

For details, click here to see flyer.

DON’T MISS! ACES Educational Series on Sensory – July 16, 2014

Behaviors and communication delays are often linked to poor sensory processing. Learn more at a free, interactive lecture at ACES on Wednesday, July 16 from 6:30-8pm. RSVP to

For more details, see flyer: ACES Sensory Flyer

Learn About Due Process on July 24

GREAT OPPORTUNITY TO LEARN!”Understanding Special Education Due Process”6 pm to 8 pm at Whittier Law School – OC Location, 3333 Harbor Blvd., Costa Mesa, 92626

View Map (Get Directions)

When families and school districts disagree on placements or educational services for a child with disabilities, due process may be a last resort in resolving the dispute. This workshop helps demystify what due process is and how it works. Learn common mistakes for families to avoid and gain insight into how judges decide outcomes.

FREE but RSVPs are required. Call 714-558-4404 with your name, email address & phone number and any requests for language translation services by July 17, 2014.

For additional information, see the workshop flyer. July 24 2014 Due Process Trng_flyer