I know one of the many things we did for Elizabeth was including her in on the decisions made for her life. Not always was this a possibility of course as she was not able to talk until 5 years old and struggled with the anxiety that her sensory processing disorder (SPD) brought to her daily life. But as time has gone on and we did the hard work for her speech and language growth, we began having wonderful “chat times” when we would review her day and talk about the good, the bad and the challenges.
And with the gift of her language and these talking times, we grew her ability to have higher level thinking and problem solving which allowed and allows us to talk to her about many of life’s situations and challenges and get her opinion.
One of them is her goals for her life, the thing she wants to be, the job(s) she wishes to have.
We have included her in any and all decisions, we have asked her opinion and given it the credit it was due.
Was it the only one we went with? No! It was not because we know that we are here to guide and shape her world.
But did we talk with her about choices and plans?
Yes, because she should have a right and a say in her world and future. Isn’t that how it goes for neurotypical young adults? They may pick Path A, try it for a bit and decide that Path B is a better fit for them. We want to offer that same options to Elizabeth, with modifications of course.
So currently, Elizabeth is on the path that she chose years ago and it is working with children in a preschool setting. She is doing and has done internships to help her learn how to achieve this goal.
Right now, it is her fit.
Will that still be the case in a year? I hope so but we will keep the communication open to see how she feels as she works more and more with children. But for now, all is well!
In keeping with the idea that we encourage her goals, one of them was to “be an artist” I know this because it was her answer to the question of what do you want to be when you grow up, posed to her when she entered middle school.
I admit my initial thought was that while it was a nice goal, there were other ones that were much more pressing, like learning how to navigate a budget, money or even learning how to write her name in cursive ( and IEP goal that made its appearance on many an IEP!)
But the goal was not one Elizabeth let go of and with the encouragement this past summer by some new friends, I was told “she has a gift” and “to grow the gift of her art”
I asked Elizabeth is she wanted to take art lessons again.
She said a solid yes!
She has been taking them weekly, loving them and doing some art at home.
She was asked recently to do a piece of artwork for a fundraiser that benefited an all-inclusive playground in our area called The Walnut Grove.
She said yes again.
Her artwork sold for $300.00
She was thrilled.
We were proud.
She became the artist that she wanted to become.
And we will continue to not only grow her art but her interests and plans for her life.
I wish everyone a peaceful month.
Michele Gianetti author of:
I Believe In You: A Mother and Daughter’s Special Journey
Elizabeth Believes in Herself: The Special Journey Continues