Of Pills and Panic

It’s astonishing just how finely tuned our brains are–and how small changes in what goes into our brains can change so much about how and who we are.

Back in late April and much of May, Secular Jew, Jr. (“SJJ”) was hospitalized twice in pediatric “stress center” units. “Stress center” is the euphemism du jour for temporary place to put people with acute psychiatric symptoms that cannot be managed at home and that may be resolvable without permanent institutionalization, usually due to substance abuse or severe depression. SJJ is not yet even a preteen, and most of the kids in these units were teenagers, so these were really very extreme places for SJJ to be. But after two stays, in the course of less than a month, the issues SJJ was experiencing seem to have boiled down to medication issues; medications were removed, SJJ stabilized, and things seemed pretty okay.

Until yesterday. Continue reading

Jewish education, or, frustration incarnate

The school year is starting up (actually, here in Indianapolis it started a couple of weeks ago!) and we’re back to thinking about doing Jewish education for our son.

We’ve got some criteria here:

  1. We’re not members of a synagogue, so synagogue schools are out;
  2. We’re not going to be members of a synagogue as though it’s a fee-for-service model (I don’t really like that model of Jewish life; I don’t think service extortion is the right way to do it); and
  3. We’re not going to avail ourselves of the centralized option in the community because:
  4. Our son is autistic, and the above options wouldn’t work for him anyway.

He’s now nine, so we’re about a year late for starting Hebrew school, but neither of us really have any expertise in doing education for kids, let alone education for a kid with special needs, so we don’t really know where to start in terms of structure. Fortunately, our son’s lead ABA therapist will be helping us, but I worry about what we’ll teach him because it’s so hard to communicate principles and abstract concepts.

In the spirit of being the change you wish to see (that’s how the phrase goes, right?), I’ll likely be figuring out a bit of the special needs educational stuff. But that’s okay–it’s actually important for me to do, for reasons I’ll be revealing in a couple of weeks when some new things start up on my end.

Until then, stay tuned!