Friday, November 09, 2007

The Payoff

I've mentioned that work has been especially hard these last couple of months. I've had a few of my clients going through some pretty serious and important school transitions, so I have needed to give them my full attention and a lot of my time. This has included having to fire an aide and take over because some difficult behaviors had been started and when added to trying to acclimate to a new classroom on top of it, it was just easier to do the job myself than try to explain it to someone else.

It's been a rough go, with many days ending in my feeling like I've made the wrong choice for this child's placement. I wondered if I had pushed him too far. I worried that I might have damaged his progress. Things have slowly been getting better. This week they all fell into place. Thursday was the best day we've had together in the classroom. He was talking a lot (for him) and was able to join in most of the group activities in a meaningful way. I knew it was going well while it was happening. It was a fast-paced day and we both raced through it thoroughly enjoying every second.

On Thursdays, I drive him to his speech therapist's office, since it is on my way home. We've worked through a "seatbelt wearing issue" and so our drive was an easy one. As I made the last turn, I looked over my shoulder to check on him, only to find him sound asleep. I myself was feeling exhausted from the effort of the day, but it wasn't until I looked at him that I realized that he has been putting in just as much effort or more. I felt proud of him, the way that I do with my own children when they succeed at something.

I carried him into the office, still sound asleep and his therapist scooped him out of my arms and guessed that they wouldn't be doing any therapy that day. We both remarked about how we never get to just hold and love the kids we work with. We're paid to push and pull them and ourselves. I left feeling tired, but aware of how much I love my job and the kids I work with. I couldn't love them any more unless they were my own. In his efforts I found extra energy for the rest of our journey.


Hot Lemon said...

I both applaud for yew (and invite you to Central FLA for babysitting-- we'll get you into disney for FREEEE!!) and realize what a horrifically BAD decision it was for MEE to go into teaching. What in the hell was I THINKING??

Mind, we NEED people like you, and I can't stress that enuff, but christ, I sho' as hell 'ent part of your ranks. I say thankee, sai, for the grand work you do, and you'll forgive me if I back away slowly and run into the bushes and hide when I realize how INappropriate it is that I join you in your perfession.

Tenacious S said...

TOL-See, I can do this because I don't live with it on a daily basis, although when I think of it, I spend the better part of six days a week knee deep in ASD. I guess it helps that I like what I do, but I honestly think I could not do this job if I was the parent of a child with ASD. I need the time off to recharge so I can continue to be effective in what I do. We need dedicated parents as much as we need more people in this profession. I always tell parents, "It's 30% me and 70% you."

Dale said...

That's a wonderful payoff and hard won by the sounds of it Tenacious S. The world needs more of what you got.

Tenacious S said...

Thanks, Dale. Fortunately for me, I love what I do, so it's kind of a win-win.