Thursday, May 10, 2007

Victory Lap



In my job, most victories are small quiet victories. Sometimes the victories are silent. Today the victory was a little larger. I'm not at liberty to discuss details, but it will give two small children a better chance at having the best life they are capable of having. I look forward to the day when I stop counting one by one and can easily say that about all the kids I work with. But the system is broken and until it is fixed, we will fight and win one by one.

I wouldn't do what I do if I didn't think it made a difference. My first client is now in Jr. College. The perception of a majority of the population is that children with autism are hopeless causes. I've had people who should know better tell me that they believe all children with autism are mentally impaired. It's not true. And even if it was, don't they deserve to live the fullest richest life possible? In the long run, proper early intervention saves those concerned most about money lots of money. I'm sick of watching some of my clients stagnate in special education programs that are little more than crayon colored warehouses. Once you give up on a child they fall further and further behind with the bar being raised higher and higher each year. It makes me sick. There is legislation headed for the Supreme Court soon that could possibly force children into subpar programs and wait for failure before other options are made available. It seems absurd, but hey, we're only toying with someone's life. Why not?

With an epidemic proportion of the population of children being diagnosed with this disorder, it's time to start thinking about how we can best serve this population. Sure, researching the cause is great, but the real financial need in this country right now is treatment. The insurance system is broken, the education system is often broken, and the taxpayers backs are going to be broken. It's time to stop arguing about who is right and who is wrong and collaborate and sort this out.

Tonight I will rest well knowing that two boys have been given the best chance they have at being the best people they can be. I wish it wasn't so difficult. I wish a lot of things were different, but they aren't. I will practice within the system and offer help to the system and support the kids I know and love. Everyone deserves and has a right to an appropriate education under the laws of this country. Kids are not one-size-fits-all and their education can't be either.

4 comments:

Chris said...

I'm glad there are people like you out there, TenS, doing good work.

I grew up with a mom who's a social worker and understand how work like this can seem thankless at times. Know that there are people out there that appreciate what you do. Thanks!

Tenacious S said...

Thanks, Chris. Honestly, I feel very fortunate because I actually like my job.

Dale said...

I'm glad you like your job too Tenacious S. It's people like you that change the world in the face of insurmountable odds.

Tenacious S said...

Dale, our lawyer thought we were going to lose our case, but we stated an ethical convincing argument. The win feels good, but knowing that the right thing is being done for these kids feels even better.