Kids are awesome! #manvsautism

My wife has been subbing in 5th grade for the last few weeks. The other day during recess, #TheDude ‘s class was out at recess while they were. All of their teachers do an amazing job of making sure they are around typical kids as much as possible. (Not just at recess) I went outside to say hi, and check on all of them. I saw my wife speaking to #TheDude .  I could tell he was in trouble just by reading their body language. I was right.

He had peed on an anthill during recess. My wife and I both were upset. Mostly, for him. We always fear that they will do something that draws unneeded attention to themselves. But something odd happened. No one laughed. No one pointed. They were not talking about it at all. It only happened for a few seconds before he was corrected.  The kids were totally understanding. But, they did not stop there. Some of the boys could tell Mrs. Price was still upset about what had  happened. They came to her later that day and said, “Mrs. Price, I pee on anthills all the time at home. I like watching the ants run around. I bet #TheDude did too. It’s not a big deal.”  Several of the kids echoed their own peeing on anthill stories during the rest of the day. They all said the same thing. We did it too. It’s not a big deal. I am so grateful to work with such awesome kiddos.


TP @JediPadmaster

It made me think of this awesome Kid President quote.



My 9 year old therapist… #manvsautism



The other day my kids iPad mini was bricked by the iOS 9.3 update. It would go online, but would not connect to the app store or any other apple server. The browsers were not working correctly either. I went through all the normal steps I knew to try and reboot it and or restore it.  We don’t have a working home button so a hard restore was impossible. I was running out of ideas. I am supposed to be able to fix anything. I could not connect to the apple server to turn off find my iPad to restore through iTunes.  It was late in the day. I was out of options. I did the one thing tech guys loathe doing… I called tech support. Before I got on the phone with someone, I found a reset that actually worked. I had to start back over from scratch with everything.  I could download some of the kiddos favorite apps so, I was happy.

When I finally got home that day my tech Cheese touch continued.  When I walked in the door, Leah had that look. The look that matched the sound coming out of Addison’s room. She was howling. For some reason, the kids iPads were all asking for our home wifi password. Which thanks to AT&T, is a cryptic mix of numbers, letters, underscores, hieroglyphics, and punctuation marks. Basically, it was hard to put in for kiddos with fine motor skills. It is almost impossible to type in while two of those kids are pretty ticked off that the internet isn’t working. I got a hold of each device and got them all back online. Everyone was happy. Everyone except me. I could not get my mac air to sign in. I tried everything. I was tired. I needed to work on my book. I broke down and called tech support. Yup, two times in one day. I am so glad I did too. I never would have known to do the trick the very kind lady on the phone taught me. She got me back online in no time. But then I worried. I call myself the @JediPadmaster. I am supposed to be able to speak to the tech with my mind. Am I slipping? Have I lost my touch? Am I going towards the Dark Side? Is my lightsaber even real? Is it just a toy from the Walmart?

I was asking these questions out loud while getting ready for school the next day. MKP answered & decided to help clear it up for me….

MKP our 9 yr old… Dad, the problems you had with the computers were not because you were losing your Jedi Powers. Jedi are fictional characters from a movie. (She went all Affleck in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back)


She was not done. “I think it’s cool that you have an active imagination, but you are not a real Jedi. You are just really smart with computers and stuff. Plus, calling tech support is smart. It is ok to ask for help if you run into a problem you don’t understand. You are still a Jedi if you believe you are…”

She’s my 9 year old therapist. I wanted to be mad for the whole Jedi are fictional characters comment but she was spot on. I said, “Hmm you are right! I am a Jedi! Plus, my lightsaber is real!”

Believe… May the force be with you!

TP @jedipadmaster


She gave me my kid back… I was glad to return the favor

Earlier today, I heard someone’s horn honking in the front yard. Most of us would not think twice about it, but we aren’t most people. Because our kids have autism, and have left the house so many times on their own, we jump when someone honks near our house. I went outside and found cars backed up and down the street. They were desperately trying to corral a small friend who had left their house with out a grown up.



She was adorable. She came right to me. I was super worried that someone had hit her with a car she was a little wobbly. We didn’t put her on Facebook or list her as found because she was a fancy dog. Pugs like her, would have had everyone and their mother coming to tell me she “belonged” to them. We were just going to watch the message boards and take her to our vet to see if she was chipped.


I admit, I spent the whole day snuggled up with her and was becoming attached. We leave the windows open a lot. Around 7:30, I saw a car driving slowly down our street. Their windows were down.  They even had their flashers on. I could have ignored it. Kept the awesome puppy, but I knew I could not do that.My conscious would have worn me down.  I went outside, sat down and waited.  Eventually that car came back up our street. I stopped her and asked her what was wrong. She said she was looking for her pug puppy. I took her inside and Leah helped reunite them.  I was sad, but grateful I did the right thing. The lady was super sweet and the puppy, Gracie, was so glad to see her owner. After she left, Leah looked me in the eyes and said you did the right thing. Yeah, I know. She said, “Do you know who that lady is?” Umm not really.

Seven years ago, that nice lady heard her dogs barking around two am.  When she went to check on them, she saw my Addison, six years old, at the time running down the street. She knew about Addy but wasn’t sure where she lived. She knew she needed to call the police. Because of this nice lady, the firemen, paramedics, and police were able to get Addison back to us. I was super happy to return the favor today.  It’s amazing how everything happens for a reason.





Who would be on your Zombie IEP support team?

My name is Toby, and I like the Walking Dead. First, let me state. I do not let my kids watch it. I will not have it on if they are awake. It is not for kids. Second, I do not like scary movies. I have three kids, two with autism and work in Education in Mississippi. My real life, at times, is scarier than anything on television or at the movies. But, I love this show!

It’s the people that draw me in. At the heart of the it isn’t about Zombies aka Walkers. It is about a family.  It is about a dad that is trying to take care of his kids in a scary, dangerous, and unpredictable world. His family is made up of people that were brought into his life when their world changed drastically. I can draw so many weird parallels that help make this show so relatable.

I am a dad. I have three kids, two with autism. I am terrified of the things that could happen to them on any given day. I wake up each morning trying to teach them how to survive in a crazy, dangerous, and unpredictable world.  Just like Rick on the show. Most of our “family” consists of people who may not share our blood but they are closer to us than the people who do. We look out for each other, offer support, and keep each other safe. Just like the family on the show.

What really draws me into the show is that the people there are looking for hope. Hope in a world that is bleak and desolate. They wake up each day hoping that it can be better. Who does not need more hope? I know I do. My wife and I discuss the things that happen a lot on the show.

We were speaking the other night and we got to talking about which walking dead character would you most like to have at an IEP meeting with you? We had a long conversation.  I had some thoughts and decided to share them on twitter. I asked my friends in my PLN the same question. What character from the show would you want as an advocate and why?  Tonight’s #manvsautism  chat will ask that same question. Who from the Walking Dead would you want in your corner? Answer from a parent’s perspective. Answer from a teacher’s perspective. Then lets start to think about why we would want them? What characteristics do they bring to the table? How can we introduce those same characteristics into our own IEP meetings? (Without Rick, Daryl, and a bunch of Walkers showing up!)

Tonight we talk IEP, WALKERS, and who you would want in your corner. Stop by #manvsautism  chat on twitter at 8:30 central! See you then!









A different way to think about Spring Break

I am excited about the upcoming Spring Break. My wife and I are looking forward to reading, wearing out some Netflix, working on the yard, and playing with the kids. I am so pumped, I want to turn a cartwheel. But I won’t ( I could break something).  My own kids would rather be at school each day. They love being around other kids and thrive on the routine school gives. School is one of the few times, they get to be around typical kids their own age. (Especially kids who know them and treat them like friends) My own kids don’t like the break. I bet you have a lot of kids who would rather skip the break too.  School offers a lot of our friends things they can’t get any where else.   School gives a lot of our students two guaranteed meals. School is the only place where someone is happy to see them. School is a break for some of our kids. A break where they just get to be themselves & don’t have to tend to their younger siblings. School is a place where they get to make things with cool markers, crayons, papers, duct tape and glue. School is a place full of wonderful books to read. School is consistent, constant, and safe. Not every kid dreads Spring Break, but for the ones that do let’s try this…

  1. Ask them if they want to take some books home to read over the break.
  2. Let them borrow some markers, colors, or paper. You know who likes to create and may not have the materials at home.
  3. Find a way to load some up with some snacks, if you think food may be an issue over the break.
  4. Remind them that you will be there for them when they get back!
  5. Let them know how you “secretly” don’t like these long breaks either and can’t wait until we GET to come back.

So celebrate the break with your family and friends. Also, think about  your students who understand that school is something they GET TO DO not just something they have to do. Help them by showing them just a little bit of extra time, attention, and kindness.

May the force be with you.