Writing a second post to clarify the first one seems to be a thing I do..
My previous post is a specific story about one specific EA who coincidentally is in our lives again. It in no way is a story about our only and favorite EA.
Oh goodness. As though we could choose a favorite..
There have been EAs that go waaaayy back, ones that we love like they are family. Ones that were with us at the very beginning of Jacob’s diagnosis, when we didn’t even know what to do with ourselves. The very first people who showed us that, no really, some people love and intentionally choose to work children with special needs.
*Please don’t yell at me for saying that, on a certain level that’s how it feels in the early days for parents: being a parent of a special needs child is not something we chose so it’s not like we magically instantly accept it.*
To have people come alongside who have chosen to love on our kids is… well, that’s something that parents don’t even know we could hope for. The impact of that is immeasurable. In those early years you may be teaching the parents as much as you’re teaching the child.
I kiss the feet of the EAs who helped toilet train Jacob (“can’t go to school until you’re using the toilet” is a rule for regular kids).
There are EAs who carpooled to classes on autism with us, and so we chatted and got to know a lot about their families, too. And we cried together many times about the tough things we all go through.
There are two beloved EAs who were relief workers for Jacob while the school screwed up his regular education for a year, and then those EA’s changed over to Jacob’s school to be with him the following year to help get his schooling back on track.
Bless the EA(s) who introduced Jacob to the treadmill.
Many hugs to the EAs who wanted to stay with him but couldn’t because of whatever goes on with staffing that parents hardly even understand.
I have had people private message me several times to say, “hey, a friend of mine’s child was diagnosed with autism, can I give her your contact info?” to which I always reply, “SURE!”
And in my first talk with them I always ALWAYS say, “Diagnosis is the scary part. But yay! Your child has it now! Now, on the other side is when you meet the trained, knowledgeable people with bucketloads of compassion who care and know what they’re doing and will love on your child like you never even knew a non-family member could. They are wonderful and become part of your child’s tribe. You no longer have to do it all alone.”
I could sing the praises of EAs for hours.
Jacob’s tribe has become pretty huge over the years, and we love allll of them.
Just wanted to make sure that was clear. 😘