Nat is 30
Even back in 2005 when Making Peace With Autism came out, I knew that I’d made a terrible mistake with the opening sentence: “The hardest day of the year for me is Nat’s birthday, November 15.” How could I have thought such a thing, much less published it for everyone to see? What if Nat saw? Realistically, he wouldn’t because he doesn’t read books like that. But still. Imagine a child seeing that. Further on I wrote: Of course, Ned and I are happy to celebrate Nat’s birthday, going to great lengths to come up with presents that catch his quicksilver attention and baking a cake sla...
Source: Susan's Blog - November 13, 2019 Category: Child Development Authors: Susan Senator Tags: Uncategorized Source Type: blogs

What Does Independence Look Like For My Adult Autistic Son?
Here is the latest column for Psychology Today. Enjoy! (Source: Susan's Blog)
Source: Susan's Blog - October 10, 2019 Category: Child Development Authors: Susan Senator Tags: Uncategorized Source Type: blogs

The Universe According To Me
When is enough, enough?  When do we let go and then grab onto something new? As I get older I need to be able to answer that question and not look back. I had a particularly good day at work today — I teach writing at Northeastern University — which means I got really really tired. My hour of teaching three days a week is a time period when all of my usual creative energy is compacted into those moments. If you know me at all, you know then that this is a lot of creative energy concentrated and distilled in the best, purest thinking version of me. And like the Laws of Conservation of Matter and Energy, onc...
Source: Susan's Blog - October 3, 2019 Category: Child Development Authors: Susan Senator Tags: Uncategorized Source Type: blogs

A New Year, A New Family Member — or Two
Recently I hosted a family party — my mom’s 80th — which was just immediate family and close relatives. It was great reconnecting with cousins and with my Aunt Georgia and Mom’s brother Gerard, and Aunt Rhoda, Dad’s older sister. I think Mom felt the same way. She seemed on a high the whole day. I was particularly excited about this because it was one of the few times we had really celebrated just Mom, and not as part of a really magnificent couple with my dad (82). We celebrate the two of them a lot, because they have a pretty extraordinary relationship, having started dating when she was 1...
Source: Susan's Blog - September 20, 2019 Category: Child Development Authors: Susan Senator Tags: Uncategorized Source Type: blogs

Already Missing New Orleans
“…Ole Mississippi, she’s callin’ my name.” Just got back from a trip to New Orleans for our anniversary. We stayed in a glorious old hotel, the Monteleone. Our room was smallish but very sumptuous, with a wall of windows looking over the rooftops out to the Mississippi.  Ben had given us a book about haunted New Orleans and we found out that there were twelve spirits in our hotel, one of whom hung out on our floor! Never saw him or felt his presence though. They had a nice pool on the roof, and just off the lobby was the Carousel Bar, that actually rotates. First day there we ate beigne...
Source: Susan's Blog - July 7, 2019 Category: Child Development Authors: Susan Senator Tags: Uncategorized Source Type: blogs

Someone Called the Police on Nat
The day they called the police on Nat: my latest post in Psychology Today. (Source: Susan's Blog)
Source: Susan's Blog - June 30, 2019 Category: Child Development Authors: Susan Senator Tags: Uncategorized Source Type: blogs

Fun is a Superpower
Magic isn’t real in the sense that someone can *poof* disappear or have three wishes or suddenly be “beautiful” as in magazine-pretty (Ned’s term). But real magic is about spinning straw into gold, by which I mean creating something fascinating and special out of the ordinary. On my bike rides I go to tiny spots in ordinary neighborhoods where I am entering whole worlds. I imagine and crave to be at these places, and that makes me want to get on my bike. So it’s not exercise, it’s play. I look to my right, on Old Orchard Road, and I squint a little, and that lawn there becomes like a mea...
Source: Susan's Blog - May 29, 2019 Category: Child Development Authors: Susan Senator Tags: Uncategorized Source Type: blogs

But Maybe Autism Parents Can Let Go?
What’s the other side of the “I can never die?” plaint of the autism parent? I’ve done a lot of writing about the need for more protections of our vulnerable guys who do not live with us. Even so, for many of us that is not a sustainable solution. And we are not the center of the issue, even though we love our children and want to protect them. No, they themselves are. And it is their right as human beings to claim their independence if that is what they wish. So — perhaps we parents can take a lesson from — of all things — the story of Abraham and Isaac. Not the sacrifice part &md...
Source: Susan's Blog - May 13, 2019 Category: Child Development Authors: Susan Senator Tags: Uncategorized Source Type: blogs

Why Autism Parents Say “ I Can Never Die ”
Here is my 13th column for Psychology Today. It’s been a great year writing for them! This column is about why autism parents say “I can never die.“ (Source: Susan's Blog)
Source: Susan's Blog - April 28, 2019 Category: Child Development Authors: Susan Senator Tags: Uncategorized Source Type: blogs

Light it up blue or red? We need a whole rainbow
Today is World Autism Acceptance/Awareness Day. Do you light it up blue? Wear red? (Answer: I only wear what looks good on me.) Seriously, I have nothing against the Blue. Or the Red. Not so for others in my community. The Blue is deplored by many because people in our community have a beef with Autism Speaks, the original Blue Puzzle Piece organization. The antipathy ranges from how AS funds are spent, to awful Public Service Announcements from their early beginning, to the fact that research is mostly about cause and not direct support. Causation research is by implication about eradicating autism. This feels like a thre...
Source: Susan's Blog - April 2, 2019 Category: Child Development Authors: Susan Senator Tags: Uncategorized Source Type: blogs

Albert Camus ’ Search For Autism Housing
As an autism mom trying to build Nat’s future, I ought to know by now that it is always darkest before the dawn, that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. How many times do I have to learn that? The problem is, because this is real life, real people, I am always suffused with the fear that this time the bad stuff is going to last. And then, after a terrible phase of hopelessness and anger, of digging in the dark caves of despair, I stumble upon a tiny idea that is like a crack in the rock. I then test it out with a deluge of emails to my mentors. I latch onto their kind and wise responses and I find the wa...
Source: Susan's Blog - March 28, 2019 Category: Child Development Authors: Susan Senator Tags: Uncategorized Source Type: blogs

When the Fork in the Road is Actually a Knife
When Nat was 10, he was offered a choice in classrooms, where Nat’s alleged functioning level and behavior were the deciding factors. If we chose Door A, Nat would be consigned to a “pragmatics” classroom. Separate, low expectations, ADLs, making change. If we chose Door B, the Director told us, “imagine the opportunities that would open to him.” Academics. Inclusion. Friends. “But,” he said gravely, “he must keep those behaviors under control.” Oh how that classroom sparkled and seduced me, like the Sirens to Odysseus. So I chose it with great hope and trepidation. But...
Source: Susan's Blog - March 21, 2019 Category: Child Development Authors: Susan Senator Tags: Uncategorized Source Type: blogs

There ’ s No Place Like (Forever) Home in Autism Adulthood
“Live in ‘parment.'” Back when Nat was transitioning out of school, at the beginning of his adulthood, we were able to learn from him that he wanted to liven in an apartment. For a year leading up to his turning 22, I searched for apartments that he could share with a roommate or two, and a live-in caregiver. I took him along. I don’t know which of us was more excited. I figured we’d fund it through Social Security and Adult Foster Care (a live-in caregiver who’d get a small tax-free stipend). Nat loved the city life he’d always lived, and so we wanted to duplicate this as closely ...
Source: Susan's Blog - March 18, 2019 Category: Child Development Authors: Susan Senator Tags: Uncategorized Source Type: blogs

Listening to an autistic person
Here is my latest post in Psychology Today, about listening to what Nat has to say. (Source: Susan's Blog)
Source: Susan's Blog - February 27, 2019 Category: Child Development Authors: Susan Senator Tags: Uncategorized Source Type: blogs

Closing Time
I didn’t even notice the sign at first, I just pushed the heavy door open and walked up to the cash register to order. Jimmy Owens, the barrista who greets you with “Hihowaya?” pointed to the door, and there it was in black and white. Peet’s in Coolidge Corner would be closing its doors on January 25th. “What? Why?” I sputtered, but I kind of already knew. Just like the Chestnut Hill Peet’s that closed last year, the volume of business in Coolidge Corner Peet’s probably did not justify its operation anymore. Corporate metrics. But although our Peet’s is technically part...
Source: Susan's Blog - January 31, 2019 Category: Child Development Authors: Susan Senator Tags: Uncategorized Source Type: blogs

The (Dis)Comfort Zone
I realized recently that I rarely stray outside my comfort zone. It takes such an effort for me to keep going to classes, for example, or anything at night. Parties on weekends are a supreme effort at times, though I’m usually glad I went. But why is there such an effort behind going out, forward? Anxiety runs in my family, I believe all of us but Ned suffer from it. Mine comes in waves, where the terrible times make me feel like old wood, about to crack and splinter. I think Nat’s is like this, too. When he was a baby and had some new food in front of him, he said, “Don’t worry hot dogs.” Try...
Source: Susan's Blog - January 14, 2019 Category: Child Development Authors: Susan Senator Tags: Uncategorized Source Type: blogs

Connecting is everything
I talked about you today. I was thinking about our new agreement, that we follow the schedules carefully, use the timer, and stay consistent. We didn’t make this a formal agreement, of course, it was one suggested by Miyabe and Elaine, and then underlined by your insistence to keep the world from becoming chaos. I’ve always known you wanted that, but it was my belief back then that we had to make you flexible, that we wanted to be able to be our impulsive selves, to be a family of five, and not just three. I wanted your brothers lives and rights to be as strong and vital as yours. I also learned a long time ago...
Source: Susan's Blog - January 10, 2019 Category: Child Development Authors: Susan Senator Tags: Uncategorized Source Type: blogs

From Tribal Fusion Bellydance to Tolstoy
I’ve always been fascinated by extreme opposites working together at the same time. I love the way classical, orderly Enlightenment Europe morphed into its opposite, stormy, histrionic Romanticism. In philosophy, music, poetry, and painting. Late eighteenth century rationalism caves into moody sturm und drang of the early nineteenth century. The symmetry of Mozart into the surprises of Beethoven. Voltaire, Rousseau and then Hegel to Marx. Whew. That was a long time ago, in history and in my life. I thought those interests of mine had gone underground in the last few decades of my life, disappearing into autism advoca...
Source: Susan's Blog - January 8, 2019 Category: Child Development Authors: Susan Senator Tags: Uncategorized Source Type: blogs

Timer heals all things
When Nat was five he started his life at the May School in Arlington. The May is a behavioral school, dedicated to positive reinforcement such as earning tokens towards desirables, taking small incremental steps towards goals, and scrupulous attention to “behaviors.” The May people jumped right in to getting Nat’s attention, which is one of the first lessons taught in behavioral schools. I was very heartened to see Nat learning how to pay attention to people. Nat’s first May teacher was joyful and kind. She focused her bright eyes on Nat and got him to listen to her sometimes. At the May Nat learned...
Source: Susan's Blog - December 24, 2018 Category: Child Development Authors: Susan Senator Tags: Uncategorized Source Type: blogs

Motherhood OCD
About 25 years ago, I suffered from acute Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. It took the form of going back and checking. Really ugly stuff, I’m not going to describe it here. Until I had a very wise therapist who really understood — that, combined with Prozac, and the day came where I felt the tormented tickle of “you better turn around and look,” yet I walked on. Moving forward is particularly difficult for me because I often still dip into obsessive-compulsive disorder. Now it is not the way it was back then, it is more of an idling, stalling engine. It stays put, rather than whipping me backwards. I...
Source: Susan's Blog - December 19, 2018 Category: Child Development Authors: Susan Senator Tags: Uncategorized Source Type: blogs

Relationship OCD
You got the cool water, when the fever runs high. — Paul Simon About 25 years ago, I suffered from acute Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. It took the form of going back and checking. Really ugly stuff, I’m not going to describe it here. Until I had a very wise therapist who really understood — that, combined with Prozac, and the day came where I felt the tormented tickle of “you better turn around and look,” yet I walked on. Moving forward is particularly difficult for me because I often still dip into obsessive-compulsion disorder. Now it is not the way it was back then, it is more of an idling...
Source: Susan's Blog - December 19, 2018 Category: Child Development Authors: Susan Senator Tags: Uncategorized Source Type: blogs

The Insidious and Omnipresent Infantilization of Disabled Adults
Here is my latest post for the Psychology Today blog, about how common it is to infantilize people with disabilities; how I recognized this attitude in myself. An experience with MUSE was, as it so often is, my muse for the piece. (Source: Susan's Blog)
Source: Susan's Blog - November 27, 2018 Category: Child Development Authors: Susan Senator Tags: Uncategorized Source Type: blogs

CNN ’ s Article on Nat and Voting
CNN just published a print story of the voting booklet that I made for Nat for this election. I tried to figure out just what he would need to understand, in order to vote like a responsible citizen. I did guide him to consider being a Democrat, the same as I do for my other two sons, because it is my responsibility as their mother to make sure the actions they take have only a positive impact on their lives. But I have created a more general, more neutral format of the booklet that I will share here and hopefully others with developmental and cognitive disabilities will use it and be able to vote:  Voting-Public Vers...
Source: Susan's Blog - November 5, 2018 Category: Child Development Authors: Susan Senator Tags: Uncategorized Source Type: blogs

Vote Blue, Your Country ’ s Lifeblood is At Stake
On this ugly rainy day I find my mind turning to the potentially ugly future. Over the years that I’ve written in my blog I have made no secret of the fact that I’m both Jewish and a Liberal Democrat. I am in mourning for the Jews that were shot yesterday in Pittsburgh. Two of them were developmentally disabled. One was actually a Holocaust survivor. Six others were innocent human beings. I live in Massachusetts, I believe in publicly funded social programs like Welfare, supports for the disabled, elderly, poor, and addicted. I believe in funding public education and special education and bilingual education. I...
Source: Susan's Blog - October 29, 2018 Category: Child Development Authors: Susan Senator Tags: Uncategorized Source Type: blogs

Autumn Chill
Fall is the empty nest time of year; even the trees must deal with the fact of their seeds dropping off to start new lives. And I am an old mother, dealing with my children’s departure for years. My son Nat has lived away from us for eleven years. But this particular autumn I find myself unable to shake my sadness, the feeling that there has been a permanent shift, and that I’m not ready for it. Like many families, Nat, who is my oldest moved into a residential school at 17. Unlike many families, this was a school for students with severe autism.  The move out of the home is so dreaded by most autism famil...
Source: Susan's Blog - October 25, 2018 Category: Child Development Authors: Susan Senator Tags: Uncategorized Source Type: blogs

Inclusion and our Social Contract
“As soon as any man says of the affairs of the State “What does it matter to me?” the State may be given up for lost.” Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Social Contract “There is nothing better than the encouragement of a good friend.” Jean-Jacques Rousseau My children have all crossed the threshold into adulthood. My youngest son Ben is settling deeply into a happy life as an art student in Savannah. He is happier than I have ever seen him, living according to his goals and talents. His art is a wild and wonderful combination of wisdom and wit way beyond his twenty years. My middle son ...
Source: Susan's Blog - September 5, 2018 Category: Child Development Authors: Susan Senator Tags: Uncategorized Source Type: blogs

Hodor is My Hero
Here is my latest Psychology Today column, a mother’s take on Game of Thrones‘ portrayal of disability and why Hodor is my hero. (Source: Susan's Blog)
Source: Susan's Blog - July 25, 2018 Category: Child Development Authors: Susan Senator Tags: Uncategorized Source Type: blogs

He ’ s with the band
They showed up one evening, at my friend Eswar’s house. He was hosting a bunch of musicians that night, an impromptu concert. He himself was going to play the violin with his son. That in in itself was a good enough reason for us to be there, to see Sri — whom we’d known since he was little, who had befriended Nat because Nat tickled him – play the violin with his dad. Sri has autism, like Nat. This musical ability blew my mind. I didn’t even know the two women – clearly they were the teachers — were together. Elaine, was petite, with long dark hair and a violin tucked under her ch...
Source: Susan's Blog - July 13, 2018 Category: Child Development Authors: Susan Senator Tags: Uncategorized Source Type: blogs

Stuck in Time
Darkness during the brightest day Showed up, surprising me. A soft pain, like a bruise The kind you don’t know where it came from But now it’s there and you have to just wait for it to get worse. Or it’s like a bug, flying small around the room, bumping into windows and walls Until it lands. And then —  I understand. It’s you. You’re all gone. Well, okay, not gone. Still here, but really there. It’s cruel, that now that I can see, really see you — because you are there now, in space. But when you were here, with me, so close I could only feel. So back then I was the bug,...
Source: Susan's Blog - July 5, 2018 Category: Child Development Authors: Susan Senator Tags: Uncategorized Source Type: blogs

Stuck
Darkness during the brightest day Showed up, surprised me, a soft pain, like a bruise You don’t know where it came from But now it’s there and you have to just wait Wait I do know It started in my belly. Dead. Center. Flying small around the room, like a bug it bumps windows and walls Until it lands. And then I understand. It’s you. You’re gone. Well, not gone. Still here, but really there. Kind of cruel, that now that I can see, really see you — because you are there now When you were here, with me, so close I could only feel. So back then I was the bug, bumping around you, smelling, feeling,...
Source: Susan's Blog - July 5, 2018 Category: Child Development Authors: Susan Senator Tags: Uncategorized Source Type: blogs

Don ’ t Call My Autistic Son “ Buddy ”
Don’t Call My Autistic Son “Buddy.” This is the subject of my latest Psychology Today column, which you can find here. (Source: Susan's Blog)
Source: Susan's Blog - June 14, 2018 Category: Child Development Authors: Susan Senator Tags: Uncategorized Source Type: blogs

Life will, uh, find a way
I had a bike accident a few days ago. I got “doored.” I had just completed a 19 mile ride, my usual summer route, when I decided to finish up riding on a road near my house, parallel to the park I usually ride in. I don’t know what made me change up the route, which took me next to a whole lane of parked cars; maybe just the desire to do something a tiny bit different from the park path. The driver’s side door of the Mercedes swung out, just like that, and I yelled, “NO!” but there is no stopping the laws of physics. I felt myself moving through space, I heard the crack of my helmet, the...
Source: Susan's Blog - June 12, 2018 Category: Child Development Authors: Susan Senator Tags: Uncategorized Source Type: blogs

I ’ m Biking For The MUSE Foundation
I am doing my first charity ride, September 1, in an organization called Bike to the Beach. Bike to the Beach pulls autism philanthropies together under their widespread umbrella so that multiple autism causes can come together and raise a good deal of money while networking with each other and raising awareness. My team is Team MUSE Foundation. MUSE, which stands for Music, Unity and Social Expansion, is a non-profit that is all about community inclusion and social opportunities through musical instruction and performance. I joined the board of MUSE in December 2017. I go to every rehearsal because Nat is part of MUSE. Na...
Source: Susan's Blog - June 10, 2018 Category: Child Development Authors: Susan Senator Tags: Uncategorized Source Type: blogs

Thought For Food
Why down? Why now? No reason on earth. The mind just roams, searching, digging for the reason for the sad, ostensibly to pounce on it, crush it, make it so flat as to disappear it. But — the law of conservation of matter — so that can’t happen. Or is sadness an energy, rather than matter? Doesn’t matter. Somehow there is food attached. Or Food, as a big concept. Food I just ate. Food I want to eat. Food I can’t eat. Hours until I can eat again. And then it all falls to that: hours. There are hours worth of what I am supposed to do but really that I can postpone so why do it when I don’t ...
Source: Susan's Blog - June 4, 2018 Category: Child Development Authors: Susan Senator Tags: Uncategorized Source Type: blogs

Hall of Fame Speech
I was inducted into my high school Hall of Fame today! It was a lovely ceremony, with three other inductees from other graduating classes. The bond we shared was public service and giving back to the community. I feel so honored and honestly blown away by the thoughtful ceremony and the achievements of the others there. By the way, my high school is named after former U.S. Senator Brien McMahon, and so we were the McMahon Senators! You can imagine how interesting that was for me… Here is the speech I gave today, drawing from certain life lessons of two of my favorite teachers: “Get out of your culture,”...
Source: Susan's Blog - June 3, 2018 Category: Child Development Authors: Susan Senator Tags: Uncategorized Source Type: blogs

Wood that it were clearer
Yesterday I had to pick up Nat from his day program so that he could get to his band rehearsal and voice lesson by 6. His usual routine was unavailable because the group home needed the van for an event, so there was no way to take Nat to his practice. Nat was ready the moment I showed up, of course. Someone is always hanging around the entrance and everyone knows me there by now, so the grapevine gets to Nat before I do. He walked right past me, to the car. I started up with conversational attempts because I have a problem with no talking. I do this, because I think it’s right, too. Even though — or possibly b...
Source: Susan's Blog - May 25, 2018 Category: Child Development Authors: Susan Senator Tags: Uncategorized Source Type: blogs

Healthcare Crisis in Autism Adulthood
In early May I wrote another piece for Psychology Today and you can read it here. (Source: Susan's Blog)
Source: Susan's Blog - May 4, 2018 Category: Child Development Authors: Susan Senator Tags: Uncategorized Source Type: blogs

Musical Instruction and Performance: A Game-Changer for Autism
I have just published a piece in Psychology Today, about music being a game-changer for autistic adults. I based the piece on both anecdotal and personal experience (with Nat and his rock band), as well as research. (Source: Susan's Blog)
Source: Susan's Blog - April 16, 2018 Category: Child Development Authors: Susan Senator Tags: Uncategorized Source Type: blogs

Autism Adulthood
Salon.com published an excerpt (“Someone Hurt My Son”) from my book’s updated edition. You can read the excerpt here. It is an essay about what happened when Nat came home for the 4th of July two years ago and we discovered a fist-sized bruise on his chest and broken ribs. The new (April 3!) edition of Autism Adulthood: Insights and Creative Strategies for a Fulfilled Life, is now available everywhere. The new edition has some new interviews, a new chapter on trauma and healing, and many new resources. And a new cover! (Source: Susan's Blog)
Source: Susan's Blog - April 5, 2018 Category: Child Development Authors: Susan Senator Tags: Uncategorized Source Type: blogs

The Lonely Witch
Near a small village where the river flowed into a deep narrow valley lived a young witch woman with hair as black and as long as a winter’s night. She lived with a cat the color of smoke, in a curious house painted a strange blue such as no one had ever seen before in this village of brick huts. Though the woman was a witch, the people were not afraid of her, for she had never set an evil spell in anyone’s memory. She made music, and she made magic. Her music was sweet and high pitched, like the hum of honeybees. And the only magic she practiced was making potions for the townspeople’s ills. If someone h...
Source: Susan's Blog - February 4, 2018 Category: Child Development Authors: Susan Senator Tags: Uncategorized Source Type: blogs

The Caregiver
There was once a woman who lived in a castle. She had everything she wanted, everything she needed — the finest food, plentiful drink, bountiful silks, warm woolens, the softest leather shoes. Her castle had tall windows cut into pink rock, and they lined the strong walls, curving around the towers and drawing in sunlight from every angle. The woman was known far and wide for her learnedness, her ability to understand even the most difficult of problems, and to solve them for the people of the land in a gentle manner that made them feel both cared for and empowered at the same time. She was beloved by all. The woman ...
Source: Susan's Blog - January 25, 2018 Category: Child Development Authors: Susan Senator Tags: Uncategorized Source Type: blogs

The Mandolin
Dear Readers, I have improved this story. See what you think. Many years ago, in a small village across the sea, there lived a woodsman and his wife and their infant son. Every day the woodsman went into the forest to cut wood and then shape it into bowls, plates, and anything else that was needed, and sell it to the people in the nearby villages.  The woodsman loved his wife very much and would carve for her small things out of the wood scraps. The woodsman’s wife was a beautiful young woman known far and wide for her beauty and for her healing powers. It was said that her green eyes, so unusual in color, could...
Source: Susan's Blog - January 24, 2018 Category: Child Development Authors: Susan Senator Tags: Uncategorized Source Type: blogs

The Reflection
There once was a girl who was born ugly. From the very start, everyone thought that word when they looked at her, and some even used it in her presence.. But what did it mean? No one could say, but everyone felt they knew. They’d heard it from others before, so that is how they knew what ugly was. The one thing everyone knew was that ugly was bad. No one would ever want to be ugly. In the case of the young girl, her face did not please. Her jawline wavered, not firm and straight. Her nose was graceless, long and bumpy. Her skin was mottled gray and bruised pink. Although she could speak, her words came out strange. S...
Source: Susan's Blog - January 21, 2018 Category: Child Development Authors: Susan Senator Tags: Uncategorized Source Type: blogs

Reflection
There once was a girl who was born ugly. From the very start, everyone thought that word when they looked at her, and some even used it in her presence.. But what did it mean? No one could say, but everyone felt they knew. They’d heard it from others before, so that is how they knew what ugly was. The one thing everyone knew was that ugly was bad. No one would ever want to be ugly. In the case of the young girl, her face did not please. Her jawline wavered, not firm and straight. Her nose was graceless, long and bumpy. Her skin was mottled gray and bruised pink. Although she could speak, her words came out strange. S...
Source: Susan's Blog - January 21, 2018 Category: Child Development Authors: Susan Senator Tags: Uncategorized Source Type: blogs

Here
She could not stop smiling. Her face was so warm, she was inside-her-own-face warm. “Nobody rises” they were singing in the background. His voice was a terracotta pot, smooth, round, just so right. They were all harmonizing yellow, again, just right. A springtime of yellow. The new shoots from the ground were her friends, she’d kind of just made them, the friends. It was no effort. She had only experienced that one other time, and that was with Him. The sweetness of it, sun-warmed chocolate, back-of-your-tongue thick. These people, each better than the next, and all the next and before, so so so beautiful...
Source: Susan's Blog - January 21, 2018 Category: Child Development Authors: Susan Senator Tags: Uncategorized Source Type: blogs

The Mandolin
Many years ago, in a small village across the sea, there lived a woodsman and his wife and their infant son. Every day the woodsman went into the forest to cut wood and then shape it into bowls, plates, and anything else that was needed, and sell it to the people in the nearby villages.  The woodsman loved his wife very much and would carve for her small things out of the wood scraps. The woodsman’s wife was a beautiful young woman known far and wide for her beauty and for her healing powers. It was said that her green eyes, so unusual in color, could look into a body and see the sickness. Even though she was so...
Source: Susan's Blog - December 22, 2017 Category: Child Development Authors: Susan Senator Tags: Uncategorized Source Type: blogs

The Boy Who Sang Like the Wind
Once upon a time, there was a very young mother with a tiny baby boy. At first the boy was happy, but he became very sad and quiet at times. The very young mother, who loved him very much, was worried and sad and did not know what to do for him. She asked her mother what to do. “He’s beautiful,” her mother said, for she could see all of the boy’s magic, but she did not know how to summon it. “Give him other children to play with and you’ll see, he will be happy once more.” So the very young mother went out to the garden where other little boys and girls were playing. The boys and g...
Source: Susan's Blog - December 18, 2017 Category: Child Development Authors: Susan Senator Tags: Uncategorized Source Type: blogs

Subtle and Overt Exclusion of People with Disabilities
At some point, I remember the joy I felt when I realized that I could drop Nat off at a given social group outing or event without staying, without a one-to-one. To be honest, my happiness was in part because it was easier for me, but I believe that Nat also enjoyed the freedom from the buffering aide. (Ahh, that universal burning resentment we parents and self-advocates feel about having to worry about the one-to-one accommodation for the extracurricular activities! Particularly joining in the “Neurotypical People” social activities. It’s almost always on us to find someone who understands our guy and it...
Source: Susan's Blog - December 15, 2017 Category: Child Development Authors: Susan Senator Tags: Uncategorized Source Type: blogs

Sunday Boston Globe 12/10/17
Enjoy my latest column in the Sunday Boston Globe Magazine online now! (Source: Susan's Blog)
Source: Susan's Blog - December 8, 2017 Category: Child Development Authors: Susan Senator Tags: Uncategorized Source Type: blogs

A Ziegfeld Mom
“I’m a Ziegfeld Girl,” Barbara Streisand as Fanny Brice says to her reflection in the mirror in the wonderful movie Funny Girl. She means she has finally finally made it to the top. She would now be one of the Ziegfeld Follies, who put on gigantic staged numbers in the early 20th century. Ned and I use that line with each other when we feel we have gotten to a pinnacle in our lives. When the New York Times Magazine published my Lives piece a few years ago. Lives! When I was on the Today Show. When I was invited to the White House for a dinner. Ned’s had his share of such honors as well. More than on...
Source: Susan's Blog - December 8, 2017 Category: Child Development Authors: Susan Senator Tags: Uncategorized Source Type: blogs