Years ago, I needed to find employment and my Sisters suggested that I should consider becoming a “Care Provider” for the state that I reside in. This meant taking care of people with various needs. On a one to one basis. No Office politics, nobody keeping tabs me, no clock to punch. Only the care of people. Just what I liked. I checked it out and in my particular state all that was required was a Police Background Check, a C.P.R. certificate from the Red Cross and a State Drivers License. Well, off I toddled to Red Cross to pound on a mannequin and get my CPR certificate, then to the local Sheriff’s Office where they were happy to do a background check for a $20 dollar fee. Lastly, I exchanged about 1 billion pieces of paper with the State’s Provider Enrollment Unit and was then “certified” as Provider and a Provider # was issued to me. I then stopped into our local MRDD Social Service Agency, asked to meet with one of their Employee’s so as to plead my case for work. The Agency and its people were the one’s responsible for finding the “Providers”. Then they assign the work. Once we had a sit down meeting and they realized that I was both capable and committed to working in this field the referrals started. Well, over the course of four years I worked with four wonderful souls. The first was a young woman who just needed help in and out of the shower as she was wheelchair bound. A sweeter soul you’d never find. Then the boys…Taking care of them on a one to one basis, I might have 2 appointments a day.They were all so different from each other. One 9-year-old, a 27-year-old and lastly my 32-year-old. Each a revelation to me on God’s ability’s to make none of us alike and all amazing. The boys each had Autism, of one fashion or another. Now they tell me that “Autism” is a spectrum disorder, and I suspect that “being human” is a spectrum disorder. These guys were wonderful and all so different. The youngest was brilliant. Literally certifiably brilliant. I told his mother it was all I could do to keep up with his idea stream. When we first went to the local library where we could work quietly on his homework together he spoke so quickly and abruptly to the Librarians that they had no clue what he wanted. Meanwhile, he thought they were being rude and ignoring him. They couldn’t understand him at that speed. They were traveling in different time zones. His normal rate is about 3 times as fast a regular persons. Once he was told to stop, and explained to that while he was brilliant, he was moving way, way too fast for others that move at a slower speed to communicate with. He was stunned. He always just assumed because he had been treated as such that there was something wrong with him. Once it was explained that there was nothing wrong with him, that he had only to make allowances for other people who weren’t quite as quick as him, he was delighted to accomodate them. And respect them by giving them time to respond to his bright questions. As hard as it was to break the habit of speeding thought, he slowed down to make allowances for others lack of speed. He just needed the reassurance that the problem wasn’t him, it was that the world couldn’t keep up at his rate. Once he understood just how brilliant he was he was happy to slow down so the librarians and I could catch up. He just mushroomed before my eyes in his abilities to communicate because this particular issue had never been addressed this way. 1st let him know he’s right, he’s really smart and if he’d only give us others a little leeway perhaps we could catch up to him. We weren’t being rude, we simply couldn’t process as fast as he could. He’s gone on to bigger and better things now and I no longer work with him because walking any distance is impossible but he still call occasionally and I am so proud of the young man he’s becoming. Then there was Tim, what a great soul. Too funny and always kind, even if I was a consistent disappointment when it came to being a fellow sportsman. Tim likes to bowl, play miniature golf and bake. So we did those things when we were together. Timmy was amazing on the miniature golf course. If the course had 18 holes he would ace at least 4 of them. I meanwhile never met a golf hole I could sink in less than 4 tries. Tim would be so patient until I reached my 4th putt, then he’d start, “Sheila!” Come, on now!” And our infrequent Bowling expeditions left him no less disappointed. Not ANOTHER Gutter Ball, Sheila!! “Meanwhile he would inevitable clear 4-6 strikes. He had no trouble picking up a spare. I never accomplished that. But the best and the thing that stays with me is that every day after “Workshop”, after that long bus ride home, Tim would come in the door and I would ask, “How was your day? And he would inevitably say…Terrible…don’t ASK! I think it was that long bus ride home, he was the last off the bus. Then he would immediately go in and take a shower, and you could hear him in there cursing up a storm. This wonderful kind of nervous, pudgy kind guy just roaring and cursing until I’d have to knock in the door and say “I can hear you, Tim” , then he’d apologise and start muttering softly to himself while the words and the anger ran down the drain. Then all the sudden the water would go off and you would suddenly hear…”Dut, Dut, Dut, —DAAAA!!! And out would come Tim happy and comfortable and back to his regular self. Every once in a while when I find myself muttering along in this life ticked off about whatever…bills…doctors…people…I find myself suddenly saying…Dut,dut,Dut….DAAAAA!!! And the entire world becomes a giggle and I feel much better. And finally Bryan, what a gentle soul…Bry is kind of a gentle giant that has taught me to slow down and really SEE the world and myself for just what we are …temporary amazing coincidences to and for each other. And just to enjoy it all, Dut, Dut, Dut…DAAAAA!!!!
- While I was chasing my last Cherrio around the bowl….
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