November 2004
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About Us

Welcome to the Brookston family blog. We'll post updates here on what's going on in our part of the world, and especially with our son, Porter, who has been diagnosed with some form of autism. Our hope is that this blog will help us deal with all the issues we'll be facing and keep our friends and family informed as well.

Jay B.


Sarah J.


Porter Brookston
born September 10, 2001


Alice Brookston
born July 7, 2004

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November 30, 2004

Share the Embarrassment

Categories: History, Photos, J, Family — J @ 2:52 pm

My Uncle Jim and Aunt Bernie, who have been enjoying the blog, sent this embarrassing picture with this year’s Christmas card. A picture this awful has to be shared. While the bowtie is truly horrifying, for me that hair is the most ridiculous of all. I never combed it like that except for this picture. Or perhaps someone else combed it this way, I’m not sure. But this is from around seventh grade so I would have been about 12.

How come the butterfly bowtie went out of fashion?

• • •

November 29, 2004

My Little Packer Pal

Categories: Photos, Alice, J — J @ 8:31 am

While Porter has shown only a passing interest in football, Alice will sit and watch an entire game with her papa. Of course, with the Packers in control of the whole game, she faded quickly in the fourth quarter.

Alice, down for the count.

• • •

License Plates

Categories: Info, Friends, Autism, Other — J @ 6:49 am

A friend in Virginia sent me this information. Apparently, you can get a specialized plate there to help spread awareness of autism. Virginia has a whopping 180 different custom plates whereas California has a paltry seven. Here’s what the VA one looks like:

Thanks, Lori

• • •

November 28, 2004

I Did It!

Categories: News, J — J @ 9:58 pm

I can hardly believe it myself but with a little over two days to go, I just wrote my 50,065th word, finishing Chapter 18. While I still have 16 chapters left to finish the book, I’ve completed the NaNoWriMo challenge completing 50,000 words in under 30 days. I’m planning on continuing until I finish the book, though the pace will undoubtedly slow a bit. As long as I keep going and finish it up, I’m doing good as far as I’m conncerned.

It’s hard to explain, but it has been a very rewarding experience and I’ll elabroate more when I’m actually completely done with the novel. If you’re curious, the book is called The Ghosts of Autumn and can be read online.

• • •

The Outlet Store Train

Categories: Photos, Porter — J @ 7:19 pm

Porter takes a ride on the outlet store train during a quick trip to buy some Christmas gifts.

“Toot, toot!”

• • •

November 27, 2004

Our Own Mapplethorpe or Avedon

Categories: Photos, Porter, Sarah, Art — J @ 8:15 pm

This is the first photograph Porter took during his first photo session. He took 35 pictures, most of which were very avant garde, including some thought-provoking shots of the ceiling, Sarah’s arm in close-up, self-portraits, and his own hands in extreme close-up. This one is from his more accesible early work as opposed to the later pieces in his oeuvre, which tend toward the more purely abstract.

Porter’s first photograph.

• • •

Saturday in the Park

Categories: Photos, Porter, Alice — J @ 4:12 pm

On Saturday, we took the kids to Peacock Gap Park in San Rafael.

Porter captains the ship.

Alice goes for her first ride on a swing.

• • •

November 26, 2004

Friday in the Dirt

Categories: Photos, Porter — J @ 3:00 pm

Friday I took Porter to the Bay Area Discovery Museum.

Work, work, work, work, work!

• • •

November 25, 2004

Happy Thanksgiving

Categories: Events, Photos, Porter — J @ 8:06 pm

Happy Thanksgiving from the Brookstons.

Porter shows his creativity in train layout building Thaksgiving morning.

• • •

November 22, 2004

First Day of School

Categories: News, Photos, Porter — J @ 6:10 pm

Porter started his new school today. He’ll be going every day from 8 to Noon. His teacher reported that he had a good day and by midday he was doing well enough that they already started testing him, which means they began giving him learning tasks to work on which are designed to help him overcome his deficits in language caused by the effects of the autism. Normally, there’s a longer transition period before they can begin but apparently Porter was doing well enough that they just jumped right in. He has to bring a backpack everyday to hold his lunch, extra clothes, and his notebook which the school uses to send us progess reports and information. Today the class played “Duck Duck Goose.”

Porter models his new backpack on his 1st day of school.

• • •

November 20, 2004

Bears Win Big Game 41-6 Over Stanford

Categories: Events, Photos, Porter, Alice — J @ 7:56 am

Porter and Alice suited up to root for their Mama’s alma mater as the Cal Bears destroyed Stanford in the annual big game today. Yeah Bears!

Go Bears!

• • •

November 19, 2004

Scrap Attack

Categories: Porter, Sarah, Other — J @ 2:44 pm

[NOTE: Sarah originally wrote this post.] Even though Jay has given me no end of grief about getting crafty, I decided to start a scrapbook for Porter. A few of the books that Jay and I read suggested that creating a scrapbook can help autistic children with things like comprehension, memory reinforcement and narrative skills by providing visual cues to tie into language they might hear and use. I did my first layout today with an eye towards helping Porter with the transition from his current school to the new one on Monday. We’ll show it to him as we tell him about the new school and hopefully the pictures will help him understand how he is going to do something new, but something which will be like what he has already been doing.

Sarah’s first scrapbooking effort.

• • •

Last Day of School

Categories: News, Photos, Porter — J @ 2:07 pm

Today was Porter’s last day at Abbey Montessori Pre-School. Monday he’ll start his new school. We threw a going away pizza party for him. The school gave us some pictures of Porter from his year there and one of the other kids, Parker, gave him a really nice going away card with pictures his mother had taken of the two of them. It was really sweet. Especially since we didn’t even think he had any friends at school. Apparently, at least one of the other kids considered Porter his friend, which is a start.

Here’s one of the tables at the party.

Porter displays his pizza eating prowess.

• • •

November 17, 2004

The I.E.P.

Categories: News, Porter, Autism — J @ 8:31 pm

The keenly anticipated I.E.P., or Individual Education Plan, was held for Porter this morning. In addition to us, of course, the meeting was also attended by Hallie Joffe, the Speech-Language Pathologist, and Cameron Kline, the School Psychologist. They were the two we’d met before and who prepared the report. Then there was Toni Lee, who runs the school itself. She had given us our tour a few weeks ago. Also the was Katherine Steinberg, who’s known as Micki. She will be Porter’s new teacher. We’d seen her before during the tour but didn’t get much of an opportunity to talk with her then. Lastly, Gene Rich, who represents the school district we live in, which is Dixie. We had never met or spoke to him before and he seemed like a very pleasant, straightforward person.

We reviewed the report and then went over Porter’s Goals and Objectives for the coming year. There are seven of them; four in the area of language development and three in social development. For each one, there’s a pretty specific mark they want him to hit. Each quarter has an increasingly ambitious goal for him with the ultimate goal for the fourth quarter, or his one-year anniversary.

There will be only six people in his class and one assistant teacher in addition to Micki so there’s a 3 to 1 student/teacher ratio. He’ll be going every day from 8 a.m. to Noon beginning this coming Monday, the 22nd. He’ll also be attending summer school, which is seven weeks long although we don’t have those exact dates yet. That should be his overall schedule until it’s time for kindergarten in a couple of years, assuming all goes as we hope.

He’ll also be getting one-on-one speech/language therapy twice a week for one hour per session. Overall, I was pleased with the meeting and everything seemed positive and hopeful. His new teacher seems very nice and enthusiastic. I’m going to take Porter to meet her and see his new classroom tomorrow to try and make the transition from Montessori to easier for him.

• • •

November 15, 2004

Alice Gets Clean Bill of Health

Categories: News, Alice — J @ 3:42 pm

Alice had her four month well-baby appointment today, weighing in at 12 lbs., 7 oz. (just under the 50th percentile) and just over 24 in. (right at the 50th percentile). Everything else was as expected, though she didn’t appreciate her shot very much and let the doctor and me know just how unhappy she was.

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