I am continuing my story about working with “A,” a nine-year-old little boy with autism.
“A” and I successfully moved to Mrs. O’s classroom. Mrs.O was a proper lady, she was repulsed by “A’s” spitting, but as he settled into the routine, this became a coping mechanism “A” used less and less. “A” bloomed in Mrs’ O’s class. He was beginning to talk in class, he was able to do his reading out loud to me instead of me reading to him. We continued to go to the computer lab to do his math assignment, the tactile defenses of chalk and pencils were still very much intact. I was incredibly pleased with his progress as were the teachers.
As I worked with “A” during the week at the school, my weekends were spent as a live-in counselor at a group home for the mentally challenged. I seemed to always pick up a position as a live-in because you were paid for sleeping time, not as much as your hours awake at the house but when you had to get up with a resident, you just punched in. We were then told the sleeping hours would no longer be paid, because they would be bringing a cleaning person in at night. You could still sleep there, but you would no longer be paid.
I needed to go back to college. I needed a degree, and I needed to work in a position where restraining clients was a thing of the past. I was close to requiring surgery on my right shoulder unless I could give it the proper rest it needed. So I made a plan. I enrolled in college. Again.
The school year had ended, and “A” and I were parting ways, my live-in position was cutting hours, so I resigned. I headed to St. Cloud State University. I would be majoring in social work and minoring in criminal justice. I called back to check on “A” the following year. I was told he often got in trouble for talking too much in class! (This was a child who was non-verbal the year before.) He was brilliant and was completing his coursework and continued to move up academically. My “A”! I knew he was going to be a delightful young boy and smart! Oh, did I miss him!!!
Now it was on to college and a haunted orphanage…
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