Angels Who Punch a Time Clock

LOOKING FOR HELP

A little over a year ago we found an oasis in the middle of what felt like a big, scary directionless desert. We had just come to understand that our little two year old had autism, and we had started some speech and occupational therapy for a few hours a week, but we knew Josiah would need more than that. With both of us working full time and quickly burning through our sick hours to take Josiah to and fro for therapy 20 minutes away, we honestly didn’t know what we were going to do. It was by “chance” that my husband stumbled upon a little center for kids on the autism spectrum, and it just happened to be about 10 minutes from where he worked.

I remember the day we toured this place. We hadn’t yet even had the “official” diagnosis, but we thought we better get on a waiting list because we heard about how hard it was to get services going. I walked through the roomy center and was impressed by the decorative touches, the cute little cubes that were set up with costumes, and play kitchens and libraries, and more toys than the local toy store. The people were so friendly and helpful. But it also felt heart-breaking and surreal.

A PLACE FOR JO JO

I had never imagined that I would be trying to find a place for my son to go because he had AUTISM. I was gripped by fear as I saw kids at every level of severity. How did I find myself here?, I wondered. From the time Josiah was three months old, we had the perfect set up for him. It was a great little day care five houses away from ours. The lady who ran it was like his second mom. He would be friends with those neighborhood kids. That’s the way it was supposed to be. Perfect.

Well, “perfect” would have to look like something else. We were so thankful that we were not only to get Josiah into the center right away, but that my husband’s insurance was one of the only ones in the state that covered these services–tens of thousands of dollars a year. Bless the lady who started this center for parents in our position! Please know that very few people have it come together for them as smoothly as this. We were able to get occupational therapy along with ABA therapy (Applied Verbal Behavior style), which has been proven to be very effective in teaching kids with autism. It could be a one-stop-shop. Our little two-year-old would start out as the youngest guy there, and he would soon be going for 40 hours a week.

ANGELS IN POD 10Josiah at the center's holiday party.

I just wanted to set up a little background first so you can understand the depth of our gratitude when faced with a difficult situation. We are so thankful for Josiah’s angels! His therapists work so hard everyday so my child can feel like he’s playing and having a blast, even though he’s being put through the paces. They developed a program specifically for their youngest clients and made a comfortable area called “POD 10” that was just for their five little ones under 4 or so. Josiah loves it.

I wonder if these therapists really knew that the occupation that they chose would mean so much, and would hold such a weighty purpose. Not only are they shaping the outcome for my son, but they are easing a great burden from us. These six women always have the biggest smiles on their faces and give their best energy to the kids every day. They even ask us how our days are, and seem genuinely interested in our family. They celebrate each new thing that Josiah has tried or mastered, and are really concerned if he’s not feeling well. They love a challenge. Our son lights up when he sees them, and they’re proud of him and are truly affectionate toward him. I like how they sometimes call him “Mister Cullen.”

This place has wonderful parents’ training groups, special parties for the kids and families, and the director is very present, helpful and available. I guess what I’m trying to say is that these ladies are our heroes. What a gift! I get a little nervous for the day that Josiah leaves the acceptance and unconditionally love he finds at this center, but I never take for granted the deposits he is receiving in his life every weekday by our angels who happen to punch a time clock.

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One Response

  1. What a blessing. Like you, I feel so grateful and indebted to the angels who work with my girl day in and day out – their work is life-changing.

    T, look at that picture. Josiah is easy to love. I’m sure he has brought so much joy to his therapists.

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