Sunday, December 11, 2011

I'm Thinking of Forming my Own Villiage

Just yesterday I told a fellow blogger/parent of ASD children that I'd love to be her neighbor. Imagine it - living next door to someone who "gets it"! The more I thought about this, the more the idea has grown into a fantasy of sorts.

Maybe we could name it Nirvana Neighbors, or perhaps Get It or Get Out.  The whole thing has taken on a life of its own in my mind today. An entire subdivision dedicated to families who experience life differently than the majority of families (insert sound of dreamy sigh here).

The bus stop would be full of children clinging to their parent or trying to dart far away and not one person would shoot the "can't you control your child?" look at you. Seeing a six year old dash out the door in Batman underwear, and that's it, would get chuckles from the neighbors, maybe a "Little Guy, I think you forgot something today" comment with a smile, but not the "LOOK AT THAT KID! Where are his parents?!?" scream from the mom across the street.

When neighborhood kids get together everyone expects that it will be mostly parallel play, with the occasional "You aren't following the RULES!" screech. Neighborhood parks would have multiple electric outlets, because hey, playing on the iPad/Nintendo DS OUTSIDE the house is a step forward. Overgrown lawns, or lawns that have more bare spots than green spots, wouldn't cause a single eye to bat. It would be common knowledge that overgrown lawns are due to a child who HATES the lawn mower's noise and the family has to wait until said child is not home to mow; bare spots are simply signs that a family has more important things to spend time and money on than grass, which by the way, would have to be mowed.

Whispers of "does he/she own any other clothes?" would be non-existent; it would simply be understood that some of the kids refuse to wear anything else and never questioned that said child's mother washed and dried his uniform of choice every evening. Mothers who showed up at the park, bus stop or local store dressed in matching fashionable clothes with hair and make up perfect would be the ones looked at like aliens from another galaxy. In fact, in this neighborhood, if you look like that the rest of us would assume you've had an experience that surpasses orgasm and we would feel no guilt in dropping our child/ren off at your door while we showered and brushed our hair and teeth in the same sitting.

There would be an extensive screening process for families wanting to join our little village. A questionnaire with things like:

1. What do the acronyms SLP/OT/PT/BCBA/ABA mean? How many of these do you know and are they good?

2. Have you said the phrase "If that were MY child..." since becoming a parent? If so, when and explain the circumstance in which it was said.

3. You see a child throw himself/herself on the ground, yell "I hate you! It's not FAIR!" and an exhausted, exasperated parent at the park. Do you:
A.) Look with disdain at the parent with your hands on your hips
B.) Run like the wind in the opposite direction
C.) Smile genuinely at the parent, stand next to them and ask "Can I get you a coffee or Xanax?" with a knowing laugh

4. Do you know what an IEP is? Can you read and write goals for one? Please provide recent example.

5. Is any member of your household a therapist, attorney, special needs advocate, physician or bartender? Are they willing to be on-call for emergencies involving neighbors?

If you happen to know anyone with millions of dollars who would like to bring my dream to fruition send them my way. In the meantime, I'd love to have all of you who get it become my virtual neighbor. I'll even throw you a welcome to the neighborhood virtual party :)


  1. What a great post! I'd move there in a heartbeat, because the kids living there would be brilliant, sensitive, unique, not worried about what other people think, and most importantly, true to themselves! And the parents, well they would be the most patient, loving, doting, and attentive parents out there. What a great example it would set for everyone! Sign me up!!

  2. If I ever win the lottery (as if I play it), you will be the first one I contact. Awesome idea! :D

  3. Also, this would be a great place for an indoor/outdoor playground. My kids are desperate in the winter time when they can't get outside and jump on the trampoline. Thought having a playground designed for special needs kids to use year round, 24/7, would help an overstimulated child/parent whenever they need it. I think I'll start playing the lottery. :)

  4. I LOVE the indoor/outdoor playground addition to our community Christine!! I typically forego playing the lottery, but I'm thinking I'll play, too, now :)

  5. I love it!! And of course the homes would be provided to families by a grant or something because our kids need therapies and interventions that are already costing us an arm and a leg.


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