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Where has the time gone?

Where has the time gone? Summer flew by as it always does and we’re back into the swing of things with the school year already a month into it. My summer was awesome as it always is, the 6 weeks of work with the day-camp was entertaining, as always; Connect was spectacular (I love being able to see my out of town friends, it’s very much like a family reunion); MEME was hectic with all the volunteering I did and then I visited friends in Calgary the weekend after which was exactly what I needed. It was relaxing for the most part, unlike the last time I was there which was a whirlwind of a weekend.

School year is back in full swing, I’ve been moved once again to a different school. (This is what happens when you have a special skill, mine being sign language), it’s been crazy hectic, I’ve mostly been computerized note-taking for a couple of hard of hearing grade 9 students. But it makes the day fly by. I miss my old school though, just as you get settled in, there’s a chance you get moved because of student needs (or lack there of).

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving here in Canada, and it’s been an absolutely gorgeous weekend. Normally, in the middle of October, we’re seeing the leaves changing colours and falling, the sun is setting much earlier making the days shorter. The days and nights are also normally much cooler/chillier. Not this weekend, though, I was able to do the much needed yard work in a t-shirt and jeans and not have to worry about getting cold. The sun was warm, it was about 24c, much warmer than normal for October. I got a lot done yesterday with the yard, just have a little more to do, but I don’t want to let the last bit of summer go just yet, some of the plants haven’t died yet in my front flower bed, so they’ll stay there a bit longer.  I’m sad to see summer go, it’s never long enough here. Winter is long, and usually cold. It brings hibernation, warm hoodies, blankets, hot chocolate and hockey. (at least there’s something good about it, hockey! lol)

I’m grateful for a lot of things, my wonderful, supportive family, my amazing friends (aka my chosen family), my house, my cats (who are like my kids), a free country that will hopefully be changing for the better on the 19th (GO VOTE! I did yesterday!) and so much more.

 As for today, I’ll be relaxing at home, watching movies and trying to figure out why my cell is being sketchy. I think I’ll have to back it up and factory reset.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving to all of you reading if you’re in Canada 🙂

The human brain is a mysterious tool

Wow, two posts in two days… this is abnormal for me. But that being said, dear readers, I’ve been thinking about something today. What’s that, you ask? Let me tell you.

As you may (or may not) know, I work with special needs kids (both in schools and respite). My main field is actually with deaf and hard of hearing (so yes, I do know sign language… and no it’s not universal!), but over the past few years I’ve been incorporating the two, working with both special needs and/or deaf students. This has been my career for 8 years, and there are no two days alike. I’ve worked in every level of education, starting off in nursery school, then elementary to junior high then high school and now back to elementary.

The reason for this is, I’ve always been fascinated with the way the human brain works, especially those of special needs people, whether the person being autistic, FASD, Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy or whatever. No two people are alike, same with being “normal”. One autistic kid may have certain ticks whereas another may not have those. I’ve had this fascination for as long as I can remember, one of my cousins is in the Autistic Spectrum and have a few friends’ who have kids in the spectrum too.

Sometimes, with my student(s), I see that look of determination when they’re trying to figure something out that a “normal” person would find to be a simple task or request and I really wonder to myself, “what are they actually thinking?” Or they have this look of utter confusion when you make a joke or say something that makes no sense to them. I remember once, as I was doing respite with my autistic boy, he was having a hard time so as I was calming him down, we were talking. I told him that he has a good life, he has a family who loves him, food to eat and a “roof over his head”. His automatic reaction was to feel for a roof over his head. He was pretty confused when he didn’t feel said roof, so I explained what it meant. I knew perfectly well that normally with autistic people, metaphors usually don’t work… but it had just come out because to me, he’s a normal kid. Sometimes, just saying the simplest thing can make their entire day, but at the same time, can also make their entire world come crashing down.

I love doing what I do, to see the sense of pride when they accomplish something and are praised for it, or watching them compete (in something like Special Olympics) and you can tell they’re having the time of their life because all the training they do has paid off. There are times when I can “see” the wheels turning in their brains with trying to explain their thought process, and honestly, I’ve had some of the most interesting conversations with special needs people. I’ve been told by many people, “oh you must have so much patience” or “you do such a hard job”. If you know me, you know perfectly well, I have my moments of being patient but it’s the end result that keeps me there. Knowing that I’ve helped someone with a decision or have taught them something makes my entire day. After all, “a day without laughter is a day wasted.”

If you see a special needs person in the community, please make their day by saying “hi” or asking how they are. Trust me, even if they don’t show it, they likely will appreciate it.

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