Thursday, December 9, 2010

When I grow up...

When I first went to college, I was 17. I had no idea what I was doing. I had know idea what it meant to go to school to find your career. To plan for your future. I had no idea about any of that. All I knew, was that I was getting out my mother's house & at the time, that was the only thing I really cared about(that's a whole other blog post, someday!). That and my student loan money. I cared about that too.  I went into Human Services because it was what I got into. I'm not really sure if I even new at the time that it meant working with children with special needs. I took the 3 year course. Graduated when I was just about to turn 21. I tried to get a couple jobs in that area & didn't get any. I left the Island shortly after that for "out west". Ended up more Central than West & got my first job in an elementary school working with a behavioural student in grade 5. I was in so over my head.  I was 21, & responsible for a boy who would physical attack me, other students, his teacher. He would spit, runaway, start food fights & I was resposible for him. I've actually just pointed out all his issues that he needed to work on, but he was also a very sweet, smart,  kid. He would bake & bring me cookies all the time. When he was having a good day, he was fantastic. Fun, funny, charming. A good kid. He taught me alot. The whole time I lived in that city I worked in the education system. Worked with hundreds of kids. They truly taught me more then I could ever have taught them, I am sure of that. When we moved, while I was 7 months preggers with Z, I was so sad to leave my job. I wasn't sure what kind of job I would end up with after my maternity leave. I wanted to continue in the Education system, but I will admit I was bit bored & was hoping for some sort of new challenge (as if being a new momma wasn't enough!). Just before Z was to turn 1, I got an interview for a job working with children with autism in the early intervention stage(ages 2-6). The company had a very specific way of teaching, something new to me, and I was so eager to learn everything I could about ABA therapy & discreet trial teaching, I think I flooded our computer with download after download of examples of IPPs, PEC program, etc. I wanted the job, the minute I stepped into their facility. It was a small company, contracted out to maybe 30 families & about 15 preschools & they were doing something I had never seen before...a whole new way of teaching children who were on some varying level of the autism spectrum & it was working!!! It was freaking working!!! I was motivated the whole time I worked there. Developing programs, sitting on teams of professionals who would work together to figure out the very best way to help a student. It was all individualized & every student required specific work in a different areas. But the goal for every student was the same. To get them as ready as possible for grade 1. I was even fortunate enough to watch students graduate from our program & enter grade 1 without an aide. Success!!! I worked with some kids & some families who will remain part of my life for ever. There is just something about teaching someones child how to speak, or how to sit still, that just bonds you. The families that I worked with, amazed me. They were so dedicated. They loved their children & wanted the very, very best possible life for them. While some families hoped for 'recovery' for their child, others just hoped. I worked there until 2 weeks before Wy was born. I cried my last day. I knew that I wouldn't be back after my year materinity. That I would be staying home with the boys. I'm lucky. I'm home with my boys for now, until Wy starts grade 1, but I also know what I want to be when I grow up!!! Finally. These families I worked with, humbled me. They had to work harder then most, & I was just beginning to know how hard it was. To love your children. To feel their struggles as if they are your own. To worry. Constantly. I remember once walking into the home of a family I was working with. They had twins boys, both autistic, both fantastically awesome, & unbelievable tiring. The mom was sitting on the chair, she had just finished crying. Exhausted. Fighting for funding money to get her children into the right school for them. Rejected. I asked if there was anything she needed me to do. She looked up, smiled at me, and said "coffee. Let's go for coffee." We did. Went for coffee, chatted about normal regular stuff. When we were finished, we drove back to her house. I watched her before we walked back in. I could hear one of the twins  screaming, & the other twin crying because of the noise. I watched her put her face in her hands. Take a deep breath. Pulled her back into a ponytail, & walked into that house with a huge smile and said "it's okay boys. Momma's home." She's my friend. I mean, how could she not be!!

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