There are four relationships that have had a profound impact on my life and I call them My Boys! The connection I not only had with the four, but also with their families have changed me as a person and a teacher. Mr. B., Mr. P., Mr. D, and Mr. A are four boys that will always hold a special place in my heart and I will carry them with me forever!
I started working as an Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapist my freshman year of college. Trying to find a job that would fit my class schedule, I ran across a newspaper ad looking for someone to work one on one with their child and decided to look into it. Little did I know that I would be hooked after just a few short weeks of working.
Being an education major, I had heard of autism and read about it, but I had little experience with children on the spectrum. During my ABA experience, I got a crash course on autism and how it not only changes that child’s life, but the lives of their families. Their lives can be extremely frustrating and then quickly turn into joy! For some of the families I worked with it seemed like and uphill battle everyday, but when something finally clicked for that kiddo that uphill battle didn’t matter anymore. There was victory!
As a therapist I work in three-hour sessions. Depending on the therapy schedule some of the boys had three shifts a day, five days a week with different therapists. That is a lot of therapy hours for young children, but I can tell you testimony after testimony the difference that those hours made on their lives. Sometimes we would work on four skills during the session, other times we would spend the whole time with behaviors and working through those. I can say that I have probably seen each of My Boys at their best and at their worst. I have helped potty train, work through eating aversions, and taught numerous skills. I can’t even begin to tell you all the firsts I was there for or all the victories I witnessed! The things that seem so simple to some were huge accomplishments to My Boys.
Then there is immeasurable love I saw with their parents. I saw them go through Hell and back for their child and not blink an eye. They spent countless dollars for therapy and gave up a spontaneous schedule for a more routine based schedule. They had people stare at them in stores as their child has a meltdown in the middle of the aisle. They have seen aggression and love all in the same afternoon. They are their child’s biggest supporter and advocate!
Because of My Boys I try to look at the mom struggling in the store with understanding, hoping she knows what an amazing mom she is. I have more patience. I know that behavior is a means of communication. I’ve learned love needs no words!
Over the years I have seen my fair share of aggression and love. There have been tears of frustration (on both sides), tears of joy, laughter, smiles, and frowns. But every single moment was worth it. I miss My Boys, but they are always a part of me!