The Associates.

My son is an “only” child in the sense that he is my only biological child and he lives in our household with mom and dad and no siblings.  My husband has two adult children.  My son’s half-brother is 32 years old.  His sister is 27.  He has had exposure to his siblings only at holiday time and only for a few hours.  His sister did stay with us briefly for a few months after returning from a trip to Europe but this was long before her brother was diagnosed when he was only about 1.5 years old.  He understands he has a brother and sister but that really does not carry the kind of meaning one would normally associate with the concept.  Plus, they are adults, carrying on their own lives and he is a small child.

I’ve mentioned before that where we live there are no children in the neighborhood.  So, really, his only entertainment on the home front involves playing with mom and dad.  All of the potential socialization of my son occurs when he is at preschool, in therapies, at the mall, or at our office.  For the limited amount of social interaction with others that my son has, I feel he is definitely trying, although it is painfully obvious that he needs lessons with his peers.  With adults, who are kind and understanding, my son has the best of friends.

This is where the office comes in.  As you may know from reading here, my husband and I run a small law firm.  We operate in a building in the suburbs which we own and manage.  Because of this, our son has free reign in the building.  He receives his ABA therapy in an office there and has a “classroom” where he can sit on a couch, watch TV and play with toys.

Within our office, believe it or not, are actually, people who perform work.  The famous Jessica, of Adventures with Tootles, is my son’s best friend and our legal assistant, Billy, our law clerk, who is getting ready to take the Bar Exam in a couple of months, works in another and our part-time assistant, LM, an works in a third office.  My husband and I have offices on opposite sides of the building (for good reason – he still does not understand that I am the boss).

Jessica and Tootles in her office

My son knows everyone.  He is comfortable talking to everyone in the office and really does not manifest a lot of “shyness”.  If someone is new, pretty much like LM is, it takes some time for my son to warm up to them.  Once he does, it becomes challenging to get work done unless someone intervenes to physically remove my son from the office of his latest victim friend, and get him redirected.

When my son was first born and started coming to the office, there was Zane.  He was very quiet and hard-working.  He was good-natured and indulged my son’s toddling on in to his office.  Especially, since Zane’s wife was my son’s first nanny. We called her the “baby whisperer” because she was the only one who could get him to nap.  But my son was very young at the time, and there was not a lot of physical effort needed to get him back to his territory when he wandered to Zane.

Zane and the Baby Whisperer

There were times when he reached the age of two that Zane would have to intervene to stop my son’s crying and screaming for me when I was in the middle of a discussion and, one horrible episode involving a deposition.  However, my son was in pre-diagnosis – no one suspected anything- mode at that time.

Next came David, a newly, licensed attorney.  From the time my son first saw David, my son was fascinated.  He walked right up to David and stared into his face.  David was unfazed and friendly.

David gets ready for singing...

David became synonymous in my son’s mind, with the theme song from the show, “Two and a Half Men”.  For some reason, every single day that my son saw David, he asked him to sing the “men song”.  David, obligingly would hum the tune for my son, awkwardly at first.  Then as he got used to it, with greater flourish, since it was a regular and daily feature of his employment.

David’s duties were to answer interrogatories, draft letters and motions, make court appearances, cover depositions and sing the theme from Two and a Half Men to my son.  Additional child duties including watching that my son did not dart out the front doors and lifting him up and down like weights.  With David, my son was always laughing and silly.

Finally, Billy came to work for us.  Billy is, pretty much, a quiet kid.  My son would often dart right past Billy, run to Jessica and play.  Finally, one day, after quite a few months, my son demanded, out of the blue, that Billy play PacMan with him.  Billy turned out to be a closet PacMan champ.  Billy’s days of trial preparation, power point presentation prep, writing letters, reviewing documents, answering interrogatories and document requests, were now compounded with the duty of playing PacMan and “Delete the Document” with my son.

Billy and the Kid

Recently, Billy had the nerve to take a trip to New York during spring break.  When he returned, my son made it clear that Billy’s office was now a “shared” one and that Billy’s new office mate was quite interested in playing “delete the document” on his computer.  But my son does not want to go in there unless Billy is there to share the fun.  Since Billy returned from spring break, my son has monopolized his time and is now working with his ABA therapists for time to play with Billy to delete documents.

Deleting the Document...

When Billy shows up, my son jumps up on the chair with him and begins to type.  Billy, again, is very easy going and understanding of my son.  He lets him climb right up and type away.  Even though, Billy is never sure what my son is talking about, or how he should interact with him (he is single with no kids) Billy is kind and full of humor about the whole thing – even when he loses a document.  Of course, he does try to get out of his documents before my son begins his typing.

Lucky for all of us, Billy is not required to sing any tunes. And Billy, I know you’re reading this.  That’ll teach you for trying to take a vacation.

I wonder what will happen when he comes back from taking the bar exam…


About solodialogue

I'm a lawyer and the mom of a 6 year old boy with autism. I work part time and spend the rest driving here and there and everywhere for my son's various therapies. Instead of trying cases, I now play Pac-man and watch SpongeBob. I wear old sweaters and jeans and always, always flat shoes to run after my son. Yeah, it's different but I wouldn't change it for anything. The love of my child is the most powerful, beautiful and rewarding aspect of my life.
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30 Responses to The Associates.

  1. Rhonda Logan says:

    What a wonderful story!!! Your son is a very lucky boy… and very cute indeed!

  2. Flannery says:

    Awesome pics and what a great crew! Geez, can I come work for you? I know nothing about law, but I can play pac-man and sing really, really badly. LOL!!

  3. Big Daddy says:

    That is awesome that you’ve made your office is so kid friendly.

    • solodialogue says:

      Thanks, BD. There really was no choice in the matter. We live so far away and since I am the boss (yes I am) and the primary caregiver, well, it just happened. 🙂

  4. Tootleslady says:

    Hahahaha!!! This is hilarious!!! Silly Billy!!

  5. steph curtis says:

    Lovely environment for your son, and such lovely people you have working with you. I’m sure their lives have been enriched too and they can go and spread the awareness!! x

  6. Lizbeth says:

    Love it and the people you have working with you!

    Something tells me Tootles is going to be reviewing all PTO and vacation requests…and they’ll all come back stamped, “Denied.” LOL

  7. Kelly says:

    While unconventional, to say the least, you have an AWESOME support system there. I am a little jealous, to be honest. What a wonderful, accepting world you and your husband have created for your little guy. Your son is very lucky to have you. But of course, you are so lucky to have him, too. Works out well for all involved, I’d say! 🙂

    • solodialogue says:

      Yes, we are all about the unconventional. Our clients are very good people and we don’t really care what opposing counsel thinks. That’s just how we are…
      And thanks Kelly, I am very lucky to have him! 🙂

  8. bbsmum says:

    I want to work in your office, and BB would like to show Billy how to use google images to find pictures of pasta and cheese, because he just KNOWS Billy will be interested.

  9. eof737 says:

    Hey, your son is a good judge of character and knows who his friends are… It’s a good thing all are friendly in the office and enjoy the exchange otherwise it could get sticky, no? Ever had that happen with a person who was very uncomfortable? 🙂

  10. I loved meeting your office through Tootles’s eyes.. what a fun idea for a post! And like everyone else who has commented, I am super-jealous of your business environment. I had to leave my career to take care of Kaia (something like what you have would have NEVER worked out with my old employer).

    You know, if you ever need a technical writer and someone who’s willing to play with a handsome little boy all day, keep me in mind!

    • solodialogue says:

      If I knew I would get offers like this, I would have posted this sooner!! I think the travel expense would be a little much for us to hire you, Karla. Unless you’re moving to California – then you’re in!

  11. What an awesome team of legal eagles! Lucky boy. My husband’s employer has a bring your child to work day once a year, but only for older kids. I try every time though!

    • solodialogue says:

      He is a lucky boy but he doesn’t know it. It’s so funny to see him so at home in that setting. We are very blessed. Keep it up – they’ll be going with hubs before you know it and I can’t wait to hear about it!

  12. jnettlee says:

    Thank you for a glimpse into your world . I enjoyed seeing these pictures and love how your little guy has taken to everyone there. And that it is so reciprocal. Who could resist that sweet little fella, anyway? 🙂

  13. Heather says:

    I think this is awesome- what a great environment for him to grow up in!

    • solodialogue says:

      Thanks Heather. He is in therapy a lot of the day – but he does provide quite a bit of comic relief (when he’s having the good days) during some long work hours.

  14. danidawn says:

    Who says you need lots of kids for him to play with.. You have an awesome office full of playmates for him. I think it is so wonderful!!
    What a great world for him to grow up and thrive in…

  15. Lynn says:

    Wow. How lucky you all are. So rare to be able to create a work environment like that. I suppose you have to fully disclose this to prospective employees…ha! Kid haters need not apply.

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