Today I appreciate professionals who give great care, good advice, and are wise enough to consider what it’s like to be a struggling child and a parent of that child. Here are some shout-outs to those who made our lives easier:
- The neuropsychologist who took half of her workday to evaluate my daughter at home where she could really see and understand the challenges that others missed. Her efforts gave us the correct diagnosis so we could move forward.
- The college student I hired who was gifted in her ability to engage my pre-schooler with autism. This was a serendipitous engagement. The first time we spoke over the phone, she recalls thinking it might be a good job because Katie was “artistic” and this student liked art. She lightened our days, became my friend, and helped me enjoy life again.
- The behaviorist, the best I ever met, who taught us how to calm my daughter’s rages. It was nothing short of a miracle.
- The psychiatrist who not only prescribed the right medicine but shared pieces of her own life which put us all at ease. She attended meetings to educate the school staff who discounted my child’s anxiety because it did “not appear” to be a problem at school.
- The psychiatric nurse who openly shared her family’s struggle with mental illness on our first visit with our depressed and angry child. She helped us feel normal and showed us that life and laughter continue after a mental health diagnosis. I cannot thank her enough for the candid disclosure which lightened my emotional load.
- The school autism specialist who started an excellent after-school social training program for children with autism. She wasn’t paid extra to run an after-school program but knew it was important. A family advocate at heart, she welcomed children with autism and their families into her home every Christmas and summer.
- The itinerant teacher for autism, who spoke to parents as allies and equals. She calmly addressed behavior problems as understandable reactions to stressors, taking the “scary” out of erratic behavior. As I got to know her, she shared her own struggles as a teen and young adult. Watching this down-to-earth young professional gave my heart hope that kids often grow up and find their way.
- The school psychologist who acknowledged how hard our lives must be sometimes—and shared her own struggle with her son. She was professional, compassionate and brainstormed solutions that worked in real life, not just on paper.
Please share a sentence about who and how professionals have blessed your life as you raise your child with special needs.