My Favourite Songs of Yesterday & Today

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Friday, June 11, 2010

On a Positive Note

 after my super depressing blog post yesterday - for which I am super, super sorry about - I thought I should share some happy news that I received earlier this week:

For those who read my blog but don't know, I am an aspiring photographer by night but spend my days doing a job that I absolutely love (less the pay cheque part ... way too low). I am an Educational Assistant in an elementary school. For the 4 school years prior to this one (I have 12 years total), I worked with a boy who was mildly autistic with no real behaviour concerns. This year however, I am working in a grade 2 class with an autistic boy who definitely falls in the realm of behaviour. I love this.

First let me digress for a moment to explain ... there are two varying degrees to working with students who have special needs. On one end of the spectrum you have those who require total care. Some are non-verbal, non-ambulatory, require feeding tubes, diaper changes and serious medical care while others kick, scream, pull hair, bite, spit and have nasty tantrums. While I love all these students, my comfort zone has me in a place where I would rather have a chair thrown at my head than change a diaper. Special Needs or not, I prefer working with behavioural students. Now back to my story....

My young fella, whom we will call John Doe (or JD for short), was new to our school this year. We had heard about him from one of our teachers who went to the case conference at his previous school and she came back thinking "omigod. what on earth are we in for?" There were reports of kicking, spitting, biting, pinching, screeching (not screaming ... screeching) and more. It was very overwhelming. In September, JD came to the school to meet us. What a cutie. Because the family with whom he lives has three children that have graced our hallways previous to him, I knew what I could comfortably ask the to help me get to know JD but alas ... they were still learning too.

The first month of school came and went without a hitch. We had NO clue what this other school was talking about. He was wonderful. That being said ... we also know very well what a honeymoon period is and waiting for the day when it was over. It came. OUCH! I don't think my ears have rang so loudly or have my shins hurt so much from being kicked repeatedly (yes .. i let him kick me over and over a couple of times but i promise ... there was a method to my madness and it worked!!). He had complete and total control as we tried to figure out programs that would work with him and let us take it back. God bless the CHEO lady. She came on a consultation and, in just those few hours, changed the course of JDs days. The second she made a suggestion, I used, tweaked it, altered it and made it my own. It's like my brain shifted gears and I started thinking and creating and working in a whole new way.  It paid off.  Not only is my JD a cutie patootie (he really is ... it isnt a biased thing, I promise.).  He is a pretty darned good student too.  Naturally, there are good days and bad but they are so far and few between now.

A couple of months ago, some of my colleages and I participated in a a structured learning workshop.  It was us and about 9 other schools.  At the end we had to do a presentation.  Because the idea of talking made us all uneasy, we made a slide show presentation. Everyone loved it.  The experts were *wowed* with us and the students we work with.  (there is myself and JD and another EA and her Jane Doe.)  Literally. I had some programming tools that I created and they announced to everyone how awesome they were.  For the first time in my 12 years as an EA, I knew I was doing a good job.  I mean really and truly.  It has been a good thing for me.

I found out on Monday that the CHEO people, along with members from our school board, will be coming to the school to video tape myself, my colleage and our two JD's in action to use them as training videos for other professionals who work with students on the Spectrum.  What an honour.  I am pertrified of this but still .. what an honour.  I am very, very proud of us.  The whole team.  We did good. 


Closet Artist said...

Big pat on the back and virtual clapping hands for you!!
So nice to be noticed and valued for the energy and thought you have obviously put in to working with this young student!!

Kataroo said...

That's a HUGE!! I love that the work you do is so important, that you are truly changing loves for the better. very cool.

Nathalie said...

How awesome is that! Congratulations on this!!! :)

Pearl said...

wow, glad you're in the program. wonderful to see a difference from your actions and interactions like that.

Rachel said...

WOW WOW WOW! You are so in the right occupation girl ... you have a very analytical mind, a huge heart and a passion for what you do! While I hope you are super successful in your photography ambitions .. I really hope the EA industry doesn't lose you .. it would be a shame!

Congrats Mell .. well done! :)

R :)