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Thursday, August 17, 2017

The rise and fall of Leticia

"Good help is so hard to find" is the truest sentence I've ever heard.

I spent 5 1/2 years of my life networking, recruiting, interviewing, training, and losing dozens and dozens of people who help with Dovi.

There were com hab girls, respite families, volunteers, behavior trainers, camp counselors, and then of course, the Home Health Aides.

I briefly wrote about the process to get Dovi qualified for a homecare worker, and the first 2 aides who walked in and out of my life, Danuta and Yvonne. (I still wonder to this day what became of her and from time to time I look up her daughters on Facebook hoping to catch a glimpse of her whereabouts.)

After that, the agency sent Leticia, who at first seemed to be a lifesaver but soon turned into a nightmare.

I also learned that there's no such thing as a perfect homecare worker. You have to overlook a lot of things, but you also can't let yourself be stepped on. I was so afraid to let her go, and was terrified of change and of going through rosters of new people before we find someone good. It would take another long-term aide and another agency for me to finally find an excellent agency who always had a roster of great aides available and provided fantastic service. I just did not get good service from this first agency, and if a problem crept up with Leticia, I didn't feel like I had anyone to talk to.

But I'm getting very ahead of myself. Let's draw back the curtain and delve into this.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Three Cheers for Camp!

One of the most amazing points of pride in the Jewish special needs universe is the existence of sleepaway summer camp for special needs kids. While the general population doesn't usually go to sleepaway camp before age 11 or so, when it comes to special needs, many parents look forward to their child turning five years old so he or she can go to camp.

The main attraction for sending a child to camp is, of course, to get a much-needed break; often, the child's family goes away for the summer and there's no educational framework for the child to attend. But aside from the breather the family gets from the overwhelming burden of caring for said child, summer camp provides an opportune environment for every child to grow and blossom in ways they can't during the academic school year in a cramped city apartment. This applies even more to special needs children, especially with sensory processing disorders.

When Dovi was 2 and initially started Early Intervention, his therapists remarked that he did a lot better outdoors than when he was forced to sit in a room. Back home in the city he loved running outside, and there was very little opportunity to do so in a safe way. The following two summers, as you read here, were incredibly difficult. It was very hard to chase after Dovi all day in the country, even with help, and I knew that I could simply not do it again; unless Dovi would go to summer camp, my family's summers up in the country were history. And it hurt to even consider it; Dovi thrived so much upstate with the open expanse of grass and trees with access to playgrounds, swimming, and sensory opportunities everywhere. I knew that I had to find a way to get Dovi into camp.

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