I know that all you see is jewelry and more jewelry on this blog, but that's not all I do. I spend most of my day in a center working with children with autism and other disabilities. I have been at the same company for almost 10 years! On January 5th I will have my anniversary. The company I work for is called Apple Tree Early Intervention Center. What do I do there? Well, I have had the opportunity to do many things for this facility. I started off as an Early Interventionist. I had a few positions which included in-home infant teacher and worked in a play-based group where I focused on cognitive skills. Later, I went back to school and obtained my license as a speech pathologist assistant. I now conduct a play-based speech group therapy as well as individual therapy. In the mornings I see children under age 3 and in the afternoons I see children over age 3. It has been such a blessing being able to work here. I have learned so much about myself as well as the love of God. I could be having a tough day and a simple smile from a little girl with Down Syndrome can turn my day around. I have witnessed parents go through the tough process of finding a diagnosis for their child, their child go through surgery as well as children fight for their life as they are critically ill. I have learned about persistence, resilience and most importantly, unconditional love without boundaries.
Tonight I went to a small workshop for future marriage and family therapists. The guest speaker was Jeff Lund, a parent of two children with Autism. He is working towards being a psychologist and he did an amazing job presenting his story and mission. One thing that I was impacted by was when he said, "Isolation leads to depression." He was referring to parents who isolate themselves because of fear. Fear of their child having a meltdown at the park, store or restaurant. We live in a world where people prejudge others because of what they see. He stated that many of his "friends" stopped coming around and stopped calling. I will be honest, I started to get a little emotional thinking of the parents I work with. I see this! I kept thinking, "What can I do?" After the workshop my coworkers and I went up to him and talked to him about our program. My coworker invited him to talk to the parents. He seemed interested. I hope that he will. I know that he can really encourage the parents. Here are some pictures of my classroom and the facility.