As many of you know, I am a Transition Voc Rehab Counselor which means that I help individuals with disabilities, specifically high schoolers and young adults, transition out of secondary education and into employment. Sometimes that means some sort of training (academic, vocational, on the job), sometimes not. It often involves a lot of counseling and guidance on my part as well as more than likely some sort of therapy (ABA, psychotherapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, etc) and/or disability related skills training (social skills, independent living skills, etc). We do person centered planning so we put all of the puzzle pieces together – transportation, financial, independent living, social, recreation, long-term plans, etc. There are two divisions of our agency- Division for Blind Services (DBS) and Division for Rehabilitation Services (DRS). I often describe it as one is blind, and one serves everybody else. I work for the “everybody else” division so we have a LOT of Autism in transition, but also many physical disabilities, intellectual disabilities, mental illness, etc. Most consumers have multiple disabilities. It is a LOT of work because these young adults often have very little of this figured out prior but oh my GOODNESS is it rewarding.
Some days are harder than others. Today was a particularly stressful day because of one consumers situation that really touched my heart; however, a lot occurred in one day and it was just exhausting. It carried into the night because we Transition Counselors often work evenings. Makiko literally was all over me… She kept laying her head on any part of my body she could touch and kept checking in with me every 2 min. Once everything calmed down, I was still hyped up off of the situation. I went to play with Makiko so she would stop worrying about me and that ended up lasting about an hour. Really what it did was calm me down which then made her calm down. She still won’t leave my side. No really, we are laying down right now and she has to be touching me at all times like she has been all night. She is super alert to me moving and keeps checking on me like “are you still okay?”
She picked up on my stress more tonight than I can ever remember. She literally stayed right there near me to help me calm down. She made me feel guilty and demanded my attention which is really the only thing that got me to chill tonight. The people I could talk to were almost all in bed probably (fellow DARS Counselors) and while others would probably understand some (what little I could tell them), they wouldn’t get the full picture. Luckily, Makiko can hear the full story and gets the “Mama needs a lot of loving” out of it and gives me just that.
While we were playing though, I noticed she has some white hairs on the back of her face!!! I spotted some on her belly the other day. Noooooo!!