Today whilst working with a young adult on the autistic spectrum I was reminded why I love what I do.
"It was Sunday morning and he came and found me. The fridge was open with his ipod in it, he had about three yoghurts on the counter and a spoon on the sofa. He really wanted me to open the yoghurt."
(Friend of the family)
Immediately I was beaming, filled with happiness and really proud.
This might seem like an odd thing to be happy about but if you are a parent or you work with someone on the autistic spectrum- then you will be able to appreciate such a milestone.
I have been working with Duncan (pseudonym) for some time as an ABA therapist (tutor). He has gone from being withdrawn and mostly selfstimulating to a young man who communicates his needs, to others.
Being able to find and switch on his ipod is a major milestone for him. Remembering where the yoghurt's are kept, that he needs to eat with a spoon and where the spoons are stored is major for him. The task of going to a specific room knowing a friend is in there is another great achievement.
Duncan excelled himself in areas of development that might have gone unnoticed had he been typically developing. With Duncan nothing can be taken for granted. I have to be specific about the words I use to direct him, to be sure he has heard and understood me. I allow him time to process what I have said and then I have to move fast to be sure that I errorlessly teach him the appropriate response. Working with Duncan can be tiring and mentally taxing but it is so worth it to see him smiling, feeling happy & partaking in every day activities.
In moments like this I am most thankful for life and so happy that I can help someone learn the basics and more.