@Oprah, You’ve Got to Put Your Behind in the Past.

“You’ve Got to Put Your Behind in the Past. “

Pumba “The Lion King”

Are you there @Oprah? It’s me Toby.  #TheDude did something amazing at school. It was great but bittersweet. I was so proud of what he did, but at the same time it reminded me of people who told me things he would never be able to do.


#theDude is there in the first pic under the orange sign. His homeroom class had to stay in for recess. The class all decided and asked that instead of playing games, they wanted to learn how to draw Princess Peach. Each morning, when #theDude comes to class, he always has a picture of Princess Peach. He draws her, colors her, and thinks she’s the best. Since #theDude always asks his teachers to draw Princess Peach, they wanted to be able to draw her for him too.

The whole class was SO INTO this how to video that they asked the teacher to let a step play, pause it, and then go on once they all got the piece drawn.  #TheDude ‘s FORMER teacher told us he would never be able to spend more than ten minutes in a regular ed classroom. That day he spent over two hours. His special education teacher was near, but wasn’t needed.  I can’t begin to tell you how happy it made me that the class and regular ed teachers took the time to form a bond with my son. They did not have to do it. They are not autism specialists. They are just good people who wanted him to belong. We need more people like them. You don’t have to know everything about autism to help a child with autism. The teachers and kiddos at Richland Upper are a prime example of that. Plus, I finally get to put the teacher who told me what he would never do behind me in my past. Thank you for reading @Oprah.

May the Force Be With You,

Toby @jedipadmaster


#theDude, his finished picture, and his buddies 17780348670_112dc935cc_o


Are you there @Oprah ? It’s me Toby. May 28, 2015

May 28, 2015


Are you there @Oprah? It’s me Toby.


Leah, my wife, explains to me that life is like a puzzle. We only get to see bits and pieces. God is the only one who knows what the finished puzzle will look like. With time, the tiny pieces start to make sense and give a better idea of the finished product.  Looking back tiny pieces make more sense now.

I remember when Addison was born. The doctor’s first words were, “ Look at all that red hair.”  When we took Addy in to see her pediatrician he told us, “Woo! She has a Red Headed temper too!” Some of my earliest memories of Addison include walking back and forth with her in a dark room over and over long into the night until she would fall asleep. Sleep was always the hardest for Addison. She would fight sleep for what felt like hours at a time. I would pace back and forth in our mud room. It was a closed in back porch area. She would quiet down when we would watch the TV show Scrubs. “I’m No Superman” playing over and over while we walked back and forth hoping to get a few hours sleep.

Looking back I have a better picture of the puzzle that was slowly coming into view. Addison has autism. The memories I have are big red flags now. Her “Red Headed Temper” was an early indicator of a child having a hard time adjusting to the world around them. Holding Addison tight and walking in a dark room, were indicators of sensory issues. She could not calm her body to let her sleep. Today, 13 years later she still loves watching Scrubs. The memory, the show, the theme song became part of a routine and comfort that she still holds on to today. Looking back, I didn’t get it. I could have done more. I should have seen the signs. That’s the thing about autism, Oprah, no matter how much you are doing. You always feel like you could do more. I know you may never write me back, but that’s not the point. Most days parents of kids with autism don’t need someone to tell them what to do. We just need someone to listen. You are a great listener @Oprah.


May the Force Be With You,


Toby @jedipadmaster

WHO GETS HUMPERDINK? #TeachlikeaGeeK #autism


Never seen the Princess Bride?

Let me explain.

It’s too much.

Let me sum it up. Wesley, the hero, had been mostly dead all day. His two friends, Fezzig and Indigo, had Miracle Max make a miracle pill to bring Wesley back to life. They needed Wesley’s help storming Prince Humperdink’s castle. Humperdink was about to force Wesley’s true love,Buttercup, to marry him and become queen.

SPOILERS AHEAD: Wesley was able to locate and rescue the Princess. Since he was mostly dead all day, Wesley was too weak to battle Prince Humperdink. Instead, he used his quick wit to escape and ride off into the sunset with his true love and friends.   Leaving Fred Savage to ask, “WHO GETS HUMPERDINK?” Surely, someone kills Humperdink. He’s the bad guy? Bad guys don’t win.

When my kids were diagnosed with autism, I wanted someone to get Humperdink too! I wanted someone to pay. I wanted someone to be responsible for what had happened to my son & daughter. I wanted vengeance. It has taken me almost 12 years to start to let go of that anger. Anger is a heavy burden to carry and will stop from enjoying your spouse, kids, and yourself. Wesley left Humperdink behind because enjoying his true love was sweeter than gaining revenge on someone who had wronged him. Leave behind your own search for vengenance and enjoy those wonderful people around you.

I used to want someone to pay for my kids autism. Not any more. I am too busy teaching them. I am too busy trying to enter their world. I am too busy being challenged by them. I am too busy laughing with them.  I am so busy living my life with them, like Wesley, I don’t care who gets Humperdink any more either. 

May the force be with you.