This past week was slightly different. For the last year I have had the opportunity to once again be a part of a full time team. I played with Swames, (my name changed friend with autism) twice a week creating games, having adventures, or sometimes just spending hours building lincoln logs. Now our paths are both changing, and he's headed towards school! I'm squeaking with excitement for this new stage and yet I will miss one of my closest little buddies who again has taught me so much.
When I first started working with Swames using play-based therapy he hardly looked at me. He had a fairly lengthy attention span but was not open to many games. He also had a large vocabulary but he couldn't hold a conversation. Wow, have times changed! I've also changed a lot too. Having the opportunity to once again work with a child intensively for so long gave me the freedom and flexibility to experiment with and discover new techniques and really have the time to see them work. I was able to redirect my business and help families even more after I discovered my new found techniques. (Short version - the relationship is so important, the rest of the techniques are secondary!) This lead me to take on new clients using the new techniques - and wowee, there is so much you can accomplish through play and acceptance!
Swames was there for me in a hectic time in my life just as much as I was for him. When I first started with him he would climb all over his Mom while we talked telling her how much he loved her. I would always smile, loving that relationship they had. A couple of months ago he started doing the same to me. Now I am frequently told as the door is answered, and throughout my sessions how much I am loved. And I love that monkey right back!
Swames has reminded me all about the roller coaster ride of change and recovery. Some weeks there are huge changes, some weeks it is slower, and some weeks might be all about the joining. You can't judge anything about what you see on the outside because it really is a journey and each child goes at their own speed. Each phase is just as important with rebuilding the brain, you need the slow times to pave the way for the fast times.
That's why its important to document your journey, keep track (even if its just yourself in a journal) of all the little changes - they add up to big ones! I worked with Swames (with the rest of our all star team) on so many levels. Now Swames looks nearly constantly, he can have a conversation for hours. He is open to trying new things, he role plays, he negotiates, sometimes it seems there is nothing he can't do!
As he now starts on the next leg of his journey transitioning to school, I know that there will continue to be challenges. However he has the foundational skills, the courage and the confidence to tackle them. With his team continuing to work on the nuances that present themselves I have no doubt that my little Swames is set up to be a superstar in his life!
I'm so excited for all that you will do Swames, I can't wait to hear about it. I will be cheering you on from here!
Thank you so much for all you taught me and for being my friend!
love, love, love,