Wednesday, August 20, 2014



Please feel free to change the terms of any of these prayers** if they feel useful to you! For example: *“Middle School,” might become ANY school or institution or event or transition; **“prayers” might become wishes or hopes or a more formal type of prayer…

This post comes out of our Middle School Special Education Transition Orientation meeting, in which most of the parents were crying – and shared many of these concerns; it also comes out of my own fears about this transition; and from a few things G – who’s playing it mellow on this one -- has said. But I think the generalities and specifics may apply in a lot of situations.

I open with “Dear Universe” because it seems most inclusive and I love how the literal translation -- “one song” – includes and unifies this big ol’ glorious mess of a world. Please substitute God (however you mean this word, or whatever word your faith uses), or any other concept here, including “Dear me, may I do my best to ensure that…”)

Dear Universe,

May our children have a gentle transition to Middle School. Specifically,

1.      May they not succumb to the horrors of Homework –

a.       In the DOING of the Homework, may they not find it such that it is “the last straw” in a day in which there have already been enough struggles to succeed, often in areas of extraordinary challenges,  whether social, academic, emotional, neurological, physical...

May they have time, still, to be kids. May they have time to play with their families, rather than always trying to “catch up” on all these many levels – and rather than their families having to spend most of their time together waging mighty battles in the effort to compel our children to complete said Homework.

May you uplift the brave Mama of the Middle School Special Education Transition Orientation meeting who saw fit to refuse to force her child to do Homework because she chose, instead, to let her child have fun following her child’s very, very hard work during the school day.

b.      And, Dear Universe, even more specifically, in the matter of the KEEPING TRACK OF the Homework, may we all gain skill and patience in this area, for  it is immeasurably harder to get kids who are already at their limit to bring home extensive and organized information about assignments.

While we may take advantage of online and phone resources at the Middle School, may that extra step send neither we nor our children “over the edge.”

2.      May our children be undaunted and unbowed by the rigors and pitfalls of Physical Education --
a.       May their PARTICIPATION be unmarred by being always last chosen and barely tolerated…May all games be inclusive – and may the choosing of the teams, if teams there be, occur by fair and just and random means.

May the words of the outgoing principal at the Middle School Special Education Transition Orientation meeting, “We think it’s important for all students to fully experience this social, competitive aspect of middle school,” have been misspoken, for, when they were spoken, you, O Universe, could hear the air go out of the room. You could hear, surely, the thoughts of the people of the Middle School Special Education Transition Orientation meeting and they were: Compete? Really? Some of our kids can’t catch balls. That does not make them “less than,” but listen lady, for most of us P.E. is not gonna be a strong suit for our kids…

b.      May the new ritual of CHANGING for P.E. be less agonizing and costly than we expect. Please watch over our children as they attempt to tie their shoes, maintain a modicum of executive function, not lose EVERYTHING, put on and take off the right clothes at the right time and in the right order, not stare inappropriately, and so forth.

And, lo, though they may not succeed in these efforts, may they nonetheless not get teased in the locker room for these or any of many other possible reasons…:

1.      In the matter of our kids’ UNDERWEAR, may you ensure that nothing too awkward or inappropriate happens during the aforementioned change? Please? One parent asks, as she did of me yesterday, may we ensure that my child does not have little kid underwear on? Also, may the underwear be pulled neither way too high nor way too low? May G, for example, not wear his underwear backwards and in a total wedgie as he is generally wont to do?  

We are not asking for a trade, Dear Universe, but we do agree to do everything in our power to make sure these risks are minimized, such as the pre-departure underwear check; it’s just that the locker room itself is out of our hands.

3.      Bullying. Universe, You know this is a HUGE one for those of us with differences and/or with children with differences!

a.       May our children not BE BULLIED.
Yes, Dear Universe, we know that Middle School is the world epicenter of bullying, and we know that kids who are different get bullied MORE …yet we dare to dream that our prayers that our children not be bullied might be answered, whether by a zero-tolerance school environment, social skills classes, that one cool kid is who so cool he or she doesn’t need to shun someone who’s “weird,” some combination of these, etc.

MAY NO CHILDREN - ANYWHERE - BE VICTIMS OF VIOLENCE FOR ANY REASON, O Universe. And may this particular prayer be as unnecessary as it should be, rather than as ridiculous and unrealistic as it actually is. 

b.      May our children not be misperceived as BULLYING -- or pushed into BULLYING by peer pressure or anxiety, or by being BULLIED:
There is then the type of scenario where our kids act in ways that appear to be bullying when in fact they are just clueless…and sometimes, like my G, really large and intimidating despite being a gentle and loving lambikin.

And there’s the scenario where someone who is already struggling is forced over their sensorial or social tolerance limit to a point where they lash out in what feels like self-defense.

The overall high levels of social awkwardness and hierarchical jostling that accompany this transition make these kinds of mixups more likely and we pray, Dear Universe, that our children be kept safe from these dreadful possibilities.

4.      May the issue of varying levels of Maturity – Or lack thereof -- …combined with hormones…oh dear.

May we somehow help our children navigate this particular minefield with aplomb.

Or at least a minimum of outright disastrophes.

G and his peers on the autism spectrum may by definition have developmental delays and those, combined with certain physical developments, make for a complicated mix.  Other non-spectrum-y kids in Special Education may have similar issues, including challenges around judgment and impulse control.

Heading into a context where almost everybody is a seething mass of hormonal, social and mental changes will be…interesting at best.

Dear Universe, you’ll recall when I was a VERY young 12. Curious about sex, hormonal, but very, very innocent. G is similar, but, if it’s possible, even more oblivious. What G lacks in commonsensicals, he certainly makes up for in heart-of-gold, but I am not convinced this combo will serve him well for the next year or two.

Therefore, in your infinite wisdom and harmony may you at least try to help him and the rest of our children entering Middle School to not embarrass themselves unduly.

Please watch over our children and prevent them from seeming to be stalkers. 

We beg - beg! - that you not let them be taken advantage of. 

Also, please see that the age of their bodies and the age of their minds and emotions correspond at least slightly, both within their own beings and amongst their friends.

And may they find friends, O Universe. Even just one friend. One who doesn’t care if they still like playing, for instance, pokemon.

5.      May our children operate their Lockers –

Dear Universe, can you see our kids being really great with the whole locker thing? The whole make way directly to locker/remember the combination/get the thing (or things) that was needed from locker and/or place the thing (or things) that was no longer needed in locker/close locker/find way back to where supposed to be thing?

Yeah…no. We can’t either.

Well what about the part where someone goes with them and oversees the whole thing – we’re so sure that will go over great in Middle School. Not.

Or maybe we could give them a list of the above steps to follow (read: give them a list to lose on the first day of school)?

Dear Universe, can you please O please manage this one somehow for the sake of our dear children?

Because this is one where our fear is mighty and legit, albeit probably incomprehensible to some.

6.      May our children learn Self-Advocacy –

For we are not omnipresent – and we are sometimes, we admit, exhausted. As well, mortal.
If possible, may they begin to integrate, for themselves, some components of self-advocacy development, however small, however basic: what questions will I need to ask to complete this assignment? Where will my challenges be and how can I access the help I need to be successful? What are my rights and responsibilities -  here, now?

If possible, may their Executive Function improve such that they are developing in awareness of what they need and how they may best be served in their own actions and in the resources available to them…

And, whether or not our children are mainstreamed or in more specialized programs, semi-independent or not-,

7.      May the help they are given be Helpful and not Non-Helpful –

Over the years there have been periods where I would begin to see some or all of G’s work and assignments written out in someone else’s handwriting. Dear Universe, as you are no doubt aware, G is able to write. Does it take him longer to write something than the average student or adult paraprofessional? Yes. Does he have dysgraphia and other learning differences around writing? Yes. Yet having someone do all his work for him is unequivocally NON-helpful help. I suspect the paras in question were trying to be kind, or to speed things up, make things easier for all parties…In any case I know they were not intending to deprive my son of a learning opportunity. But that is just what they were doing.

Dear Universe, some of us fear that in the larger Middle School context, it might seem easier to just sort of pass our kids through the system, using precisely this sort of non-helpful (to our children) help. This would be a great loss for our children.

May our children instead benefit from Flexible Support, where sensitive teachers and helpers recognize when help is truly needed but pull back to allow students to fly on their own where they are able to fly; sometimes, when necessary, fluffing up their feathers and wings, and, the rest of the time, letting students make their own, probably imperfect but unique and rewarding flights…

May we, the staff, their peers, and their teachers balance our children’s overt needs – for security, for routine, for “success” and success – with the myriad of wonderful possibilities for new experiences and learning out there in Your Universe, Dear Universe.

Big thanks.

Full Spectrum Mama


  1. Amen.
    Well said for us all. And I'm throwing in my own little addendum around the horrors of the lunchroom...

    1. HOW COULD I HAVE FORGOTTEN???? Lunchroom prayers for ALL, dear, dear Universe!!!!!!!!!

  2. There is no such thing as "autism". Psychiatry itself is a bogus science. The following articles and essays explain this:

    12 Part essay that exposes psychiatry as a bogus science

    Inventor of ADHD: “ADHD is a fictitious disease”

    Co-Founder of DSM admits there is no way to scientifically prove that mentall illness is real

    One year old babies and younger being put on psychiatric drugs

    Psychiatric Drugs Shorten Life Span by 15 years on average

    Psychiatry is based on lies and falsehoods

    Psychiatry is a fake science

    Every human emotion is now a "mental illness"

    Ten Myths about Psychiatric Drugs

    Studies show psychiatric drugs have no benefits and are dangerous

    Psychiatry is now giving 3 year old children drugs

    Psychiatric drugs make you sicker

    A few free eBooks talking about how psychiatry is a massive hoax

    A list of THOUSANDS of psychiatrists who have committed crimes against their patients

    1. Dear Anonymous,
      I cannot tell if this is a spam comment or not, as it does not seem to relate to my post, except in the most general sense.
      However, I do agree that there is a lot of abuse, misinformation, misdiagnosis, over-labeling and over-medicating out there.
      This blog is my way of doing my small part towards increased understanding and inclusivity.

    2. This comment is from a dear friend who cannot get a comment published on this site (the second to have this problem on this post, this week...sigh - please always email me if this happens:

      "Step up, Anonymous. Really you are safe here. I'd like to ask you where you feel authority lies? In loads of links? in polls, studies, academic essays? Does it not also lie in the direct experience of this author, who will site sites herself, but who first and for most is only sharing her own experience. I wish you would do the same now. Thanks, Lisa C Mendelsund"

    3. PLEASE NOTE: a fellow blogger at suggests readers NOT click on unknown links such as those above unless you've verified their authenticity. I concur.

    4. Re: Your prayer

      It's an excellent, touching prayer. Very detailed! Yes, yes, and yes. There are a lot of things outside of our control and we have to live with that, because we can't change it. But prayer helps.

      It makes me think of a line from an old television show, Dawson's Creek of all things, when Jen says to her Grams something like, "Just because you pray doesn't mean you can change God." Grams says, "You've got that backwards child! Prayer doesn't change God. Prayer changes me."

      Re: the spamish comment

      There's some truth to what is being cited. Personally, I think when we can trace the causal factors effectively, what we now call "autism" will be discovered to be many different things. Most psychological diagnoses are based on purely behavioral observations and there are many causes for the sets of behaviors that lead to an autism diagnosis.

      However, this doesn't mean that these observations aren't real or that there isn't an observable difference. It means that the science of psychology is one of the most difficult and relatively young sciences we have. We're basically using the human brain to study itself, and it doesn't work very well for obvious and not so obvious reasons. Some skepticism is definitely required, but complete dismissal is a form of blame-based denial and isn't particularly healthy.

    5. SO TRUE (IMHO) on both fronts.
      LOVE the notion about the purpose of prayer: EXACTLY! Even in this example here, I found it transformative to write and think about the ways G might need support, to hope, also, and then somewhat to let go...
      As for the "spammish" - very good points. "Fixing" or "figuring out" the mind definitively with the mind itself IS a funny thing to attempt, though we've not a lot of other options. One of my yoga teachers when I was training to teach used to say, "Trying to fix our thoughts by thinking is like trying to bandage a cut with blood." This might well be extrapolated to psychiatry in general.
      When I was going through my divorce, I went to a therapist who worked with more cognitive behavioral healing modes, rather than talk-talk-talking. I like this because i figured that I'd already thought and talked about this stuff, to little avail in healing...
      But as to autism specifically, yes: the constellation of what constitutes autism is complex and varied. Many of those who claim to define and treat it may have questionable motives and/or questionable understanding. And a big part of that overall is pure lack of knowledge in general.
      Thanks and love,

    6. I like what your yoga teacher said, but the funniest thing about that, imho, is that our bodies are designed to do exactly that. One of the functions of blood is to "bandage" our bodies by turning into scabs. These scabs seal our wounds and allow the healing process to occur beneath them.

      I think, to a certain extent, the same can happen with our minds and emotions. On the one hand, if we don't let them "bleed" long enough, then infections will get trapped inside and we'll fester and become putrid. On the other hand, our internal wounds can heal over time if we just LET them.

    7. D'oh! True!
      Oh, I have such a time, such a mixed up, spectrum-y time trying to figure out the appropriate measures for the latter analogy...

    8. Metaphors are tough. There are almost always ways to poke holes in them. And I have a twisted inkling to poke holes. Part of it is my contrary nature, of course; but part of it is my desire to get to the truth.

  3. Wow, what a prayer! We remember the days when our kids were in middle school. 6th grade was actually the year Carol decided to explore homeschooling. Stacy had already been homeschooling her oldest for four years. 6th grade was a nightmare for her younger child. It just fed her with fear. The amount of work they came home with was astronomical and the backpacks were so heavy. We had to go to the teachers and point out the impact it was having on our children's bodies, mind and spirit. We applaud parents who stand up for their children and work with the teachers to make the learning experience the best it can be. Some teachers are willing to listen and some are not.

    1. Dear Carol,
      Thank you so much for your comment.
      Presuming all the children you spoke about it made it through middle school with souls intact somehow (homeschooling, in schooling...) gives me hope! One Fantastic thing that has happened for G is that his middle school has a study period where he has oversight and help when he needs it. He come home Having Finished His Homework. Thank the Universe for minor miracles!!!!

  4. Oh how I love this Mama! The details, the analogies, the heart warming dialogue with the universe had me crying and laughing as I related to the underwear comments in particular with both my sons. I'm rushing over to read your current post on the blog hop. Much love to you and G Mama. ��❤️


Dear Readers, Full Spectrum Mama seeks to honor and represent a Full Spectrum of opinions. All reasonably coherent comments will be published. If you are having trouble posting a comment (for reasons I cannot figure out, most people do??!!) , please email FSM @: