Many of you who know me, know that I work with a little boy who is non-verbal. He was in a tragic accident as a baby and now has a brain injury. Over two years ago he and his family came into my life. When he first came into my life he needed so many things. The first time I met him he was super shy but he always had a smile on his face. I realized quickly that when we went for walks he never noticed the world around him. All he could focus on was the walk and that was very stressful for him. Singing calmed him down so I sang often. His balance was bad and he often tripped over things. He would fall off ledges and he never looked down to see what was in front of him.
He loved to push a grocery cart around but quickly I realized the children around him would just move out of the way when he came crashing through. My job as his support worker was to help him in his toddler and then his preschool setting. I worked really hard in learning sign so that he could communicate with me and he with his peers and teachers. We spent a month in his toddler program and then we moved into the preschool room. I was scared to have him in preschool, it seemed like there were so many little things he could put in his mouth or even swallow. Everyday I would gather up all the small things and put them up high. This boy is a very busy guy so now he was in a bigger room I had to watch him so closely.
From day one I treated him like everyone else and I had the same expectations for him that everyone else had. I did not treated him with kid gloves or baby him in any way. He came with a big team of people who had known him since he was a baby after his accident. They came in and helped me set simple goals for him and how he could fit into this program better. I took everything the therapists me and implemented it in the best way I could. For him repetition was huge and pictures helped so much. Washing hands everyday one step at a time until one day he got it and he could wash his hands. We washed those hands an awful lot of times. Everything took time and we had to go through a process for everything. Even as simple as looking down as you walk as to not knock down someones creation. This kid never looked down. Being non-verbal is hard when you want to interact with others. LOts of touching others and I soon discovered that some children just did not want someone to touch them for anything. He loved to give hugs another thing that some just do not want.
One of the girls was very uncomfortable with him. She avoided him as much as she could and when she became really unsure with him she would freak out when he came close to her. Her whole body language told us she did not want him near her. Other children did not want him to sit near them or just made it known to him they did not like him. I started to talk to the children about him and explain to them that he had owies in his head and that this is how he talks and him touching you is because he really wants to play with you. I taught the children sign language so they all could communicate with G better. The children needed to be eduated and the girl who was unsure of him I talked with her family and I paired them up on different things we did. Slowly she came around and in the end was G’s best advocate and helped him out often. I love that.
This September G goes to Kindergarten and he’s now ready to face a new adventure in school. I can say as his support worker what that boy has learned in this time totally amazes me everyday. He now is the most observant boy and notices change straight away. He is toilet trained and is such an outgoing social boy. He has good balance and can dribble a ball so well. He does what all boys his age do physically. He is very independant and can dress himself and take off what he needs to do. He still needs help talking but has an I pad that is helping him communicate more with his peers and the adults in his life.
What I love about this boy is he’s never been afraid to try anything and if he couldn’t do it he would keep trying until he got it. He has taught me that you can do anything no matter where you have come from. G’s story is tough and tragic but he never gave up on anything. His family have worked so hard to help him become who he is today. This boy is a miracle and I’m so blessed to have had this opportunity to work with him. He has the best sense of humor and often gets the giggles which I love to hear. I thank God for this boy and his family and I pray he continues to strive for the moon. He has taught me so many valuable things. Go get them G.