So, my respite worker quit. She was great, but needed more hours, and I can appreciate that.
So, I went to the Autism Winnipeg Facebook page to see if anyone knew of anyone that would be interested in helping me out for some extra cash. And lo and behold... an angel heard my prayer.
Lisa responded to my post within minutes. I saw her green hair and thought 'wow, spunky little thing isn't she?' This is exactly the kind of person I need for Dayton, someone with spunk and not shy. Dayton eats shy for breakfast, and is never quite full, kind of like chinese food. Within an hour, he's hungry again, and I pity the shy one working with him.
The day before our interview, Lisa text messages me explaining that her hair is now blue, and that she is willing to change her hair color if I think Dayton would freak out. Awwww... what a sweetie! My immediate response was NO WAY! Dayton's wanted to die his hair blue, but because he's still in elementary school, I won't do it. The kid's got enough problems with his teachers, let's not add more fuel to the fire. But summer is coming, and I'll let him so what he wants with his hair. Maybe Lisa can help me with that. I have no idea how to get the bright shade of blue her hair is now, and to be honest, while I may be conservative, it kind of looks cool!
The best part about this new respite worker is... wait for it... drum roll please... Lisa has Asperger's. How blessed am I? My babe is going to have someone looking after him that understands the way he thinks, that could affectively help him with some coping strategies, someone who truly 'gets him.'
I've been thinking about PACE, and how to make it encompass more for our kids. One of my thoughts on the morning of meeting Lisa for the first time was to find successful young adults on the autism spectrum to mentor our young ones. Lisa totally fits this criteria. She works at Canadian Tire, and writes THREE blogs: http://vibrant-oxymoron.blogspot.ca/, http://yeht.blogspot.ca/ and http://bitterambiguity.blogspot.ca/. Just writing one blog can be tiring, I can't imagine having three!!!
Take a look at her reference letter:
I have not officially been "employed" to care for a person with autism, however my sister was diagnosed at a young age. I have lived my life assisting with her upbringing and continue to care for her when it comes to the self injurious behaviour and melt downs that she has exhibited from a very young age. She also processes feelings differently, such as temperature or pain. I am quite familiar with several people on the autism spectrum, and have great insight when it comes to the way that the autistic mind works. Needless to say, no two people with autism perceive the world in an identical way - for the most part, however, I have found that the key is simple logic, and explanations which are delivered in such a way that the connotation of the words cannot be mistaken. It is often I who am called upon to deal with a particular customer at the place in which I work, who has no conception of monetary value, and whom people believe acts "strangely." When I noticed him initially, I could tell that he was distressed when attempting to communicate with the cashier. After the cashier too became distressed - after attempting to explain to him that he could not afford his item, and him not quite understanding what she was trying to convey - I approached him and explained the situation to him, in a way that he promptly understood. I later explained to her and the other cashiers the reason for his atypical movements and speech patterns, as well how to deal with him in a more effective manner if he were to come through their till. I have since served him many times, and we get along notoriously.
Although I am uncertain as to the relevance of this fact, it may also interest you to know that I have been diagnosed with Aspergers. Throughout the past six or seven years, however, I have developed a familiarity, if not understanding, of social conventions and behaviours. I have been told that it is very difficult at times to tell that I have Aspergers at all, which is wonderful to hear as I have worked very hard to appear - as society generally views it - "normal." But I digress - I believe that this gives me a unique awareness when it comes to working with those with autism - that, as well as my intensive research into autism spectrum disorders and the implications.
I have also read through the entirety of your blog twice in an attempt to familiarise myself with Dayton and yourself before our meeting. He seems like a wonderful child! I would like to add that I am quite familiar with echolalia (and stubborness) as well, and it has never bothered me in the slightest. I have an abundance of patience. It may also interest you to know that I am a devoted Christian as well.
I derive great joy from working with children in general, and sincerely hope that you will find me sufficient when it comes to caring for Dayton."
I didn't bother calling her reference. I think she's more than qualified.
Lisa, if you're reading this, I am thrilled to have you be a part of our lives. I pray you remain in our lives for a very, very long time.
I'm really feeling good about this.
Consider yourselves hugged,