When I first started blogging on Open Salon, Little Man was two years old.
My first post on OS was a hyper-political post about the 2008 democratic primaries. Back in those days, OS was still in its “beta” form, and the small community of people that wrote and commented here was vibrant and committed. Many of the people I met in those early days of OS have become treasured friends.
But the thing that has meant the most to me during my two years at OS has been the opportunity to share the experience of finding out my son has autism, and everything that has come after.
When I joined OS, we’d already spent months struggling with Little Man’s feeding disorder. At the time we’d been told he probably didn’t have autism, that he was one of thousands of kids who simply don’t eat. We didn’t know what was in store.
Then came our first parent-teacher conference at the Montessori preschool Little Man was enrolled in. For the first time, it was confirmed that something was amiss. It would be several weeks before we had a diagnosis confirming that Little Man had aspergers syndrome, a form of autism.
But finding out about his neurological disorder was only the beginning. Our son’s school made it very clear that he was not going to be welcome as part of next year’s class because of his autism. We were devastated.
But the work of raising a child doesn’t stop, and we were hoping that the early identification of his condition meant that an aggressive program of speech therapy, occupational therapy, and even tweaking his diet would help his progress. And of course, the stress of having a disabled child threw a monkey wrench into an otherwise happy marriage.
And after much thought, I finally found a way to respond to the school that had so casually rejected my son on the basis of his disability. It wasn’t as dramatic as a lawsuit or a media expose, but maybe, just maybe, schools will be a little bit wiser about how to deal with kids with autism.
Through all of this, the OS community has been tremendous support. Many of you also have children with spectrum disorders or disabilities, and you have given me glimpses into my future, and inspiration. Both on the pages of OS and in person, many of you have followed us on this journey. Your encouragement and support have meant the world to me.
I started out here on OS as a political geek, a social commentator, with some liveblogging thrown in for good measure. Over the course of the past two years, the Little Man Chronicles have become the heart of my blog here at OS. This is only natural, as Little Man is very much at the center of my heart, period. And I have to say, I have received so much more from OS than I have contributed.
So on this, my two year anniversary, I really only have one thing to say:
Thank you, OS. For everything.