Autism: Talking about sex

Excerpt from: A REGULAR GUY : GROWING UP WITH AUTISM The morning of May 22, 2006, I set my alarm for 4 a.m. I wanted to be the first one to wish Matthew a happy birthday. He was in a college program year at Camphill Soltane near Philadelphia. Matthew answered the house telephone on the first ring. He knew I would call. “Matthew!” I said. “You’re 20! Can you believe it?” “Yes,” he responded flatly. “But Mom? I have something very important to ask you. I’ve been thinking about Amy. Can … [Read more...]

A Great Loss

Mom with newborn Matthew

An excerpt from A Regular Guy: Growing Up With Autism “Grandma, I don’t like you to wear that,” Matthew said, standing in the doorway of my parents’ bedroom. He was referring to the plastic tube that cradled Mom’s face, pushing oxygen through her nose. It was the last day of August 2002, just before Matthew was to return to Camphill for his second year. “Matthew, you can come over and sit next to me. I’ll show you how this works.” He plopped onto the bed next to my mom and listened as … [Read more...]

Finding Help

An excerpt from A REGULAR GUY: GROWING UP WITH AUTISM It was after a public anxiety attack at California Pizza Kitchen, where our family of five was celebrating my birthday about a week after the babysitting fiasco, that I came to the inevitable conclusion: I needed to find my own therapist. That night, Peter and I had just suffered through a particularly grueling meeting at Matthew’s school, where he was now in the fourth grade. One of the behavior specialists had come up with the idea of … [Read more...]


  an excerpt from A REGULAR GUY: GROWING UP WITH AUTISM Matthew was always in the same spot when I came to pick him up from Merriewood preschool, shoving pieces of tan bark from the play area through the chicken-wire gate at the school entrance. No matter what the weather, his handsome face and blond bangs peeked out from his blue corduroy hooded jacket, and his rosy mouth curved in a slight smile. He was always alone. “Someone has been looking for you,” Gretchen would say, and … [Read more...]

Autism: How I defused a scary meltdown unscathed

Our family was having dinner one Sunday evening when Matthew, who has autism, became distressed because his potatoes were touching his meat. My husband Peter, who was tired after pruning trees all day, told Matthew in a loud voice "Don't be ridiculous, just eat your dinner." Matthew yelled no, that he was the boss of his food, and picked up his plate and threw it across the room. Peter was ready to lunge out of his chair in anger, as were Matthews two younger brothers, but instead they stayed … [Read more...]