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David Royko Psy.D



You have found the
The Chronicles of Ben Blog Archive
May 2011 - December 2015

The Chronicles Of Ben Blog is now
Juggling Autism:
The Chronicles of Ben Royko - Severe Autism in Real Time

Click on the link and we'll see you there!


And here's the archive:

is all about Ben Royko, his family and Ben's life with severe autism. It's mainly written by me, Ben's dad, Dave Royko.
Beginning October 2015, most of my posts will be published simultaneously on this blog and the Huffington Post blog.

Click HERE for Ben Stories, including information about the eBook,
The Chronicles of Ben - Adventures in Autism

Prior to moving to this blog format,
earlier Ben Updates can be found:
HERE for Ben's arrival and first month at Monarch (May, 2011);
HERE for Ben's First Year at Monarch Updates;
HERE for Ben's Second Year At Monarch Updates;
HERE for Ben's Third Year at Monarch Updates (prior to 10/15/13).

Click HERE for Ben's gallery of pics from Cleveland.

Updates beginning October 15, 2013 are below, the most recent at the top.
And thanks for checking up on our big Benny boy!

The Ben Royko family

view:  full / summary

Autism and Food

Posted on December 29, 2015 at 4:20 PM Comments comments (2752)

Also on
Huffington Post

What better time than the holiday season to think about food, especially cookies, Christmas or otherwise.

Our severely autistic son Ben has never met a cookie he didn't like. Recently he spotted one on the ground in a pa...

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Autism, Communication, Books and Cartoons

Posted on December 18, 2015 at 11:00 AM Comments comments (1)

Also on

This might sound familiar to regular visitors since I've written about things like Ben's "juggling" before - but not for Huffington. A little bit of lighter stuff for the holidays -- and I hope they are good ones, or at least as de...

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Ben is Home

Posted on December 16, 2015 at 12:35 AM Comments comments (153)

The whiteboard (inserted upper right) lays out the terms in Ben's house, at least for Ben:
"1: Hang Two Ornaments on Christmas Tree, then, 2: Get a Cookie." Talk about incentive.

The day I realized Ben was autistic, we sat on the floor as he sta...

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Bearded Benny Baking

Posted on December 8, 2015 at 10:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Michelle helps Ben bake cookies as he demonstrates a degree of delayed gratification we never could have imagined! Thanks to Ben's house for the pic. And notice, as with every picture ever taken of Ben, one hand is holding a book (and probably not a cookbook). Ben owns many books, and he is constantly s...

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Posted on November 15, 2015 at 8:55 AM Comments comments (0)

Not that anybody needs any personalization to reel at the horror of the Paris insanity, but I just read that attackers targeted the disabilities section at the rock concert, blasting away at people in wheelchairs. If Ben had been there, that would have been his section. Ben's twin brother, Jake, is a long-time death metal lover and concert-goer, and if he had happened to be in Paris, there is a great chance he would have been at the event. I am trying to shake images from my mi...

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Our Son's Love of Music Shines Through His Severe Autism

Posted on November 10, 2015 at 4:40 PM Comments comments (177)

Also on


A few years ago, Ben, our son with severe autism, got a chance to meet one of his favorite musicians -- or more accurately, meet the man responsible for creating some of his favorite music. We now know there's a big difference, and this "meeting" ...

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Another Casualty of Severe Autism: Sex

Posted on November 5, 2015 at 12:10 AM Comments comments (1)

Also on

Sitting on a crowded commuter train, looking at a recent photo of Ben as he reaches for the camera, all of a sudden I am seriously struggling to hold back tears. That sweet and handsome face that expresses his even swee...

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Men With Autism Are Not the Killers, They Are the Victims

Posted on October 16, 2015 at 11:20 AM Comments comments (0)

Also on the


Guns, god and abortion are three issues I rarely argue about any more because it's a waste of time. If people are in agreement about any of those, they're preaching to their own choirs. As for t...

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Huffington Post

Posted on October 7, 2015 at 2:45 PM Comments comments (1)

I'm happy to be, as of today, one of Huffington Post's bloggers, starting with my response to John Robison. Now I'm even harder to avoid!

Our Autism

Posted on September 30, 2015 at 3:20 PM Comments comments (0)

David Royko
September 30, 2015

In response to John Robison, Psychology Today, “Does Neurodiversity Whitewash Autism?” (Sep 29, 2015)


As the old saw goes: Write what you know.

John Elder Robison does th...

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Posted on September 28, 2015 at 10:05 AM Comments comments (0)

MedWish International is an exceptional Cleveland-based non-profit dedicated to retrieving, recycling and reusing medical supplies (and what better city for that?) for countries that desperately need them. Monarch Center for Autism and MedWish work together (as MedWish does with a number of organiza...

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Back 'n' Forth

Posted on September 7, 2015 at 9:00 AM Comments comments (326)

The plan was, yesterday, Ben heads from Cleveland back to Chicago to see family that he hasn't seen for three years, we spend the night in a hotel, and come back to Cleveland today. (We are STILL in the process of working out Ben's adult services residential situation, but can't really talk, er, write about any of it yet.) Ah, autism! Soon after seeing everybody, Ben was ready to get back in the car and come back to Cleveland. It was becoming clear that it could get bad. So, ti...

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Sleep and Autism

Posted on August 17, 2015 at 1:35 PM Comments comments (2)

FINALLY FINALLY FINALLY, some substantial information/research insight into the nightmare of sleep(lessness) and autism. It's a start. Sleep problems are one of those parts of family life with autism that many parents will tell you is one of the most nightmarish (no pun intended) aspects. Karen went almost 13 years without one - literally, not ONE - solid night of sleep that added up to more than 5 hours (at most, usually less) and even those few hours were interrupted. Sleep d...

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Benny Boy

Posted on August 17, 2015 at 11:10 AM Comments comments (237)

A thousand "thanks" to Sarah in Ben's cottage for this one, of Ben surveying his Duplos last week. Has there ever been a cuter smile?

80/90/100 in the Santa Fe

Posted on August 11, 2015 at 10:10 AM Comments comments (202)

A bit over four years ago, knowing we were about to start driving between Chicago and Cleveland a couple of times each month, we traded in our old Hyundai for a new Hyundai. It served us well, and last night, we traded in our (now) old Hyundai for another new Hyundai.

We don’t get attached to cars. In fact, since we usually hold onto our horseless carriages until they’ve de-evolved into trembling metal melanges awaiting a merciful junk-yard afterlife, we...

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Don't Ask

Posted on August 10, 2015 at 1:15 PM Comments comments (0)

Starbucks people are just trying to be friendly, I know that.

Even for a Monday morning, I was feeling more tired than usual. The chirpy barista clearly wasn’t.

I hate it when strangers behind counters ask me unnecessary questions.

“Are you a guitar player? Are those from playing guitar?” She was asking about the bandages on three of my right-hand fingers.

I’ve gotten used to giving meaningless little generic answers t...

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Posted on August 3, 2015 at 8:40 PM Comments comments (121)

We're still some weeks away from Ben's adult placement situation being finalized (and my being able to write about it). For now, he is still in his Monarch cottage in Cleveland on a limited, temporary basis.

But in the mean time...

Ben isn't non-verbal, but functionally, he is minimally verbal. He can make simple requests or express something in a few words, almost never a complete sentence.

But for a ...

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Posted on July 30, 2015 at 9:15 AM Comments comments (0)

Happy 22nd Birthday Boys! Ben remains in Ohio while we continue to work on the rest of his life. Nothing to report yet, but we're busy.

July 29, 2015 - The sun sets on Jake's and Ben's 21st year at a rest stop as Karen and I head to Ohio on 80/90 for Ben's Cleveland celebration tomorrow.

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Week the Last

Posted on July 22, 2015 at 10:45 AM Comments comments (110)

Today, Ben begins his final week of being 21. All the effort and action so far has lead to nothing yet decided, nothing known. It feels like mountain climbing in the middle of an avalanche.

Denial Prefered

Posted on July 10, 2015 at 9:35 PM Comments comments (0)

At this moment, Monarch, Ben's home for the last 4 years, truly seems like heaven to me. And being here, watching Ben lope around his cottage in confident, comfortable happiness, surrounded by his surrogate - and wonderful - Ohio family, on our last visit (next time we are here it will be to bring him back to Illinois), feels like a living hell. No words.

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