Thursday, August 9, 2012


Administration has taught me to hold back sixty-minutes from those twenty-four hours of training required of me on a yearly basis since, just before final testing in May, staff is held after-school for such amount in order to inform us of any changes to the rules and regulations. Other than that one yet to come, though, the “final nail in the coffin” was hammered in yesterday afternoon and the matter laid to rest. This will be my eleventh voyage as an Elementary Special-Ed assistant, much changing along the way, three different principals within that time span bringing different manners of “occupying the helm”, the facility, itself, growing greatly in the number of students, and also, it seems to me, what we, as a body, have learned in so far as understanding and reaching these kids has slowly greatly improved. Love, of course, has always been part of the journey; and maybe it’s just me and my own personal walk down the path to which I refer; but two of those classes, taken yesterday morning, just really spoke to me of “doing what we ought to be doing”. When I stepped into this a decade ago, my knowledge of autism was nil. There was no introduction given this old man other than “we need help with a behavioral problem”. Many the day during those first weeks, sitting alone with my charge in an otherwise empty room, thoughts were entertained as to what in the world was I doing there when retirement had previously been considered as finally being able to just relax and forget existing on somebody else’s schedule. Something, however, kept me there. A growing attachment with the boy? A sense of having purpose? Whatever it was, what it became was another “following God’s tug on my heart”, a continual “on the job” learning experience fed mostly by His rod and staff. Thankfully, the system provided input here and there, feedback from highly degreed individuals who would visit the room, teach some of these annual sessions; but, oh how refreshing to finally sit Wednesday and listen to some who have actually been working “in the trenches” from the beginning, who can express the job in terms of “I’ve been there”, who put themselves sincerely into the nitty-gritty of it and know the individual, not just the manual. That, it seems to me, is a truth that we within the Church need to gain as well…..


  1. Jim, I can't remember if I've told you, but we have an autism clinic in our department and often see (and hear!) our students working with their young charges.

  2. There is a big spectrum within that term of bing "autistic", Annie, and a big step to go from where I work in Elementary education to higher levers where students can be six foot tall and a couple hundred pounds. It is amazing, however, to hear these women, for the most part, who have hung in there and learned along the way this past decade or so, Special-Ed kids inducted into the public sector here in Kentucky not all that long ago....