The Sonia Show

Writer. Podcaster. Beer drinker. Movie watcher. Mother. Goober.

About The Boy


Yeah, so, my son is autistic.

Calvin is a really good kid. He’s very sweet and smart. He gives big hugs, and he has a smile that lights up the world. He’s got a great sense of humor, and he loves to laugh. Calvin also happens to be autistic.

I really haven’t written about this on the blog because the diagnosis wasn’t official. We have been taking Calvin to all kinds of appointments with doctors and specialists for more than a year. We have received all kinds of different diagnoses from “there’s nothing wrong” to sensory processing disorder. I didn’t want to write about it, because I didn’t know what to say.

I feel like I need to write about it now, because the diagnosis is official, and I am so proud of my son. I don’t want anyone to think that I wasn’t writing about it because I am ashamed. It’s the exact opposite. I think Calvin is awesome, and I am so very, very proud of him. He is a wizard in a world of muggles. He is a jedi. He’s the coolest. His entire life he has been struggling to be understood, and he has never given up. And while sometimes he gets frustrated, most of the time he is the happiest kid you’ll ever meet. What a good, little guy he is.

Lately, he is really starting to blossom. While there still isn’t a lot of back and forth communication with Calvin, the words are coming. He understands everything you are saying, and he’s really trying to talk and to be social. And now that he has been officially diagnosed with autism, he is finally going to start getting some help. We are going to start getting some help, and we are so excited.


I’ve heard a lot of different things to explain away Calvin’s development or lack thereof throughout the years. He’s a late talker. Boys are late bloomers. Einstein didn’t talk until he was 4. And so on, and so on. We got his hearing tested in November 2013, and it turned out he needed tubes in his ears. Oh shit, The Boy can’t hear. That’s it! That must be it. That wasn’t it. He did start talking more after he got the tubes, but it was still a lot of babbling. Shortly after he started in preschool last year, we started our quest for speech therapy.

Of course, we weren’t just concerned about the lack of communication. There were other warning signs. Calvin likes to wave items in front of his eyes – toys, books or his own fingers. He sometimes runs back and forth because he likes the visual stimulation of things passing by. He is obsessed with fans, especially ceiling fans. He loves to play with cars (like a lot of kids), but he really loves to watch the wheels of the cars. These actions are called sensory seeking behaviors, and My Boy does a lot of them.

We took him to Kaiser first, and they fell into the “there’s nothing wrong” camp, and after three appointments they ultimately rejected Calvin for speech therapy. My gut told me they were wrong, and I called the Golden Gate Regional Center, which is an amazing state-funded organization that provides early development services for children under 3 FOR FREE. They are awesome. We had many, many meetings with them, and filled out countless forms. A behavioral specialist came to our house every Friday for a few months to work with Calvin, and they worked with him at his preschool for a few weeks before his third birthday in an attempt to squeeze in some extra sessions because they wouldn’t be working with him after he turned 3.

GGRC had a different diagnosis: sensory processing disorder. BUT they pointed out that there were some autism red flags. I kinda wonder if they knew he was autistic, but they didn’t want to come right out and say it – like the sensory processing disorder diagnosis was a gateway diagnosis to autism.

We took the GGRC report back to Kaiser to repeal their initial rejection for speech therapy. We wanted speech therapy, and we wanted it through Kaiser. That’s why we pay for medical benefits. Finally, they agreed to an autism assessment, and, well, here we are. My Boy has been officially diagnosed, and he is finally going to get the help he needs. He’s working with a speech therapist, a behavioral specialist and an occupational therapist.


On the autism spectrum, Calvin falls into the moderate category. The doctors have used the term “high functioning,” but I guess that’s a term that they don’t really use anymore. Calvin makes pretty good eye contact. He wants to be social, but he doesn’t really know how to make it happen. He has a buddy or two at school, and he has friends outside of school, too, that he gets very excited to see. He’s very affectionate. He’s not rigid about his routine. He goes to preschool, and he is not disruptive. He just needs a little help, and we are so stoked that he is finally going to get it. Considering that he is doing as well as he is without much in the way of help, I can’t imagine how much his communication and social skills will improve when he starts getting these services. I think it’s going to be really amazing to watch.

So, yeah, Calvin’s diagnosis was about two weeks before I was diagnosed with breast cancer, because life is totally fair and awesome. I’m not going to lie: It’s been tough to juggle. We want to keep Calvin’s appointments, and at the same time, I needed to get my surgery, and I’ll be starting chemotherapy in March. Mighty, mighty good man David has been doing all the heavy lifting for the past month – taking care of me and taking Calvin to his appointments. David is a goddamn hero, and his birthday should be a national holiday. We’ve been spending a lot of time at Kaiser lately. We need some sort of frequent shopper card or something. Maybe I can get a punch card, and my 10th round of chemo is free! Wheee!

I don’t really know how to end this post, so I will just say that while we have a lot of things going on in The MansTracy household, we are also feeling so lucky to have each other. Our little family is a team.

Now: October 2014

Author: The Sonia Show

I'm a writer/podcaster/mother/goober in San Francisco who likes to drink beer, shop, laugh and make other people laugh, watch movies, go to baseball games, kick breast cancer's ass, explore with my awesome autistic son, Calvin, say assy things, and post personal things about myself on the web for all to read, which makes me some sort of literary exhibitionist.

44 thoughts on “About The Boy

  1. You and your boys are rock stars. The lot of you.

  2. Thanks for sharing this, Sonia. Your continual positive outlook never ceases to amaze me. As one who always tends to fall into the “glass is half-empty” camp, I’m always envious of you “half-full” types. Stay that way, Ponyboy, it’s a good way to be. And an inspiration to us buzzkills.

  3. Wait a minute. I am struggling to understand the depth of your grace, your bravery and your big old heart. Calvin is such a damn dear I want to eat him up. Glad you are finding the support you need. I can’t even deal with how wrong it is that your plate has two diagnoses on them. You probably don’t need me to go on about this, but you are amazing and I am wishing you strength and hope and some rest, because everyone needs rest and I want you to have it too.

  4. What a beautiful post, Sonia… I know they say we only go through what we can endure, all of this makes us stronger, yadda yadda. But WOW. All 3 of you are heroes, seriously. xo

  5. Sonia, you’re magnificent. What a beautiful post! Is there anything better than accepting and loving people as they are? No, there is not. Calvin is a lucky kid to have you guys as parents. Best wishes to all of you.

  6. Wow. You are such an amazing mother and woman. Calvin will be a better man for having a unique perspective of the world. You two are great!!

  7. I am totally, incredibly amazed at how positive you are going through all this. He’s a lucky kid to have parents like you guys. I have no doubt that things are going to turn out fine for all of you.

  8. I’ve not officially met you. The closest thing is listening to your great podcast old movies new beer. I know your husband and talk to him every day. He is one of my favorite people and my kinda sense of humor. You have a great life partner there. After reading your story I know that Calvin, despite the challenges in his life, will have a wonderful life because he has not only be surrounded by love but by the right attitude in life. Normally, under all these circumstances I would say stay strong, but you already got that covered in spades and I don’t think you guys know how not to. I really look forward to meeting all of you.

    • Chris, thank you so much for reading my silly, little blog and for commenting. I am completely aware of how lucky I am to have David in my life. He’s the best thing ever. We would love to come down to LA and meet you guys this year. Let’s make it happen.

  9. Congrats on following your gut and persevering to get to a diagnosis. You know your kid better than anyone in the world. Sometimes the pro’s get it wrong and you have to keep standing up and waving your arms around until they get it right. You go, Mamma! Also, kick cancer’s butt.

  10. Oh my goodness, your heart is healthy and strong. I tend to think of you more for wit than wisdom, but your little family is like the greatest support group on the whole planet. It’s so easy to see from your various pictures how much each person in your family cares for the other. Laughing, sharing, enjoying adventures. I try so hard in my life to always be positive, but some days it is not easy at all. I miss our fun and rowdy Walnut Creek group, but HOW EXCITING that most of those memories are still active and enjoying life. BTW, the things that David has done for you while you are healing are in my notes for when I get the chance to be married again. Thank you for the courage to write about your personal and challenging feelings.

  11. I can’t even imagine what you are going through. You strength and positive attitude is inspirational. I would be a mess of a person, hiding under my blankets with FTW tattooed on my forehead. You and your awesome family are in my prayers

  12. Sonia this post is a gem for me. It shares with me that if you have to go through something, what can be better than going through it with someone you love. I pray that your story will be told in the future by CALVIN. Parenting is all about working and fighting (if you must) for what is right for your children’s future. Hang in there. BTY, I just want to say that CALVIN auti-be in pictures. He is a dreamboat! Blessings.

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