Tuesday, September 30, 2008

It's that time already?!

I have midterms this week. When did it become the middle of the semester already? Can it be Christmas break tomorrow? ;)
I think the hardest part about this program is balancing classwork and client work. I think working with clients is so much more fulfilling than filling out study guides for midterms, but I know that the academic coursework is necessary to make me a better clinician. I have more classes than clients and so academia tends to fill my evenings, which is exactly when I'd rather be doing something creative and fun like planning therapy! I don't have much energy left after a hard day's work and it's hard to make myself focus on something distasteful.
I also forgot all of my syntax since summer. Ooops. :(
On the plus side, my little ones are ADORABLE and making progress. My supervisors say that they are pleased with how I'm doing in sessions. And I'm sure one day I'll know all the different predicates AND the diphthongs. So really, not so bad.
On that note, I'm going to go fill out a study guide for aphasia. Wish me luck!

Friday, September 19, 2008

The perks of sharing

Yesterday I had a very fulfilling experience as a result of openly sharing my diagnosis with Fragile X Syndrome. The whole story is not mine to tell, but I think I was able to bring some comfort and hope to someone by relating my experiences. The someone does not have Fragile X, but when a label hangs heavy around your neck the exact wording of said label is not so important.
There have been times when the FXS label felt like it defined me. It was the scapegoat for all of my quirks and flaws. There have been times when the FXS label was a tool to help me play "the system" to get accommodations or services. And then there have been times when the FXS label just meant my genes are a bit funny and having kids will be a bit tricky but really, that's all. Labels are based on numbers and statistics and stanines and standard deviations, and that does not capture the essense of a person at all. It certainly does not capture the essense of me, or the individual who spoke to me yesterday.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

I thought I was losing my mind...

...because I kept on losing my writing utensils!
I'm something of an office supplies junkie. Staples and Office Max are dangerous places for me. I can be scatterbrained with other possessions, I quite admit, but I usually keep up with my pens and pencils.
Naturally, then, I was distressed when every two or three days I would lose a pencil. Was graduate school so stressful that I did not have enough brain cells left to keep up with a pencil? What would happen if I ran out of extras and had to take my data on a client with *shudder* a pen? (For me, taking data in pen is the academic equivalent of doing a crossword puzzle in pen. You're just asking for a big, scribbled mess.)
This morning I was refilling my new backpack with yet more pencils when I noticed that the pencil slot in my backpack travels the entire length of the backpack. The organizer pockets on this backpack are located on the sides, and I've noticed before that some of the slots are too long to be of any real use. I fished around in the slot, pushing up from the bottom, and retrieved a whooping 6 pencils and 2 pens that I hadn't even realized were missing!
And then I had a good laugh at myself. ;) The mystery is solved, and my mind is (mostly) intact. My professors are at a conference so I have some time to catch up on work. Better go make the most of it!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A trip to the art museum

Deborah's post at 5 Minutes for Special Needs inspired me to dash off a quick blog post.
When my mother taught at a private school for children with special-needs, I would occasionally come to help out when I was on break from college. Her kids were little charmers, and I enjoyed my time there. One day they got to go on a trip to the local art museum, and I came along to be an extra pair of hands and eyes. And because, hey! Art museum with kids! :)
One elementary school-aged girl on the trip was named Sarah. (Well, not really, but for the purposes of this blog.) Sarah has autism. She required an aide, who came with her on this trip. Her aide told me that Sarah liked to tap any glass that she saw. She liked the sound, or the feel of it. She did not like to pass glass without touching it.
You know how sculptures and vases at museums have those plexiglass cases over them? Do you see where I'm going here?
The museum staff did not seem to know how to deal with our group. I remember one woman in particular following us like a hawk and getting very agitated whenever Sarah touched the glass. Towards the end of the trip, Sarah would pass the art, glance at it, and say, "Don't touch...don't touch..." She would also say, "I'm ready [to leave]." She was seriously unhappy. But they would not let her touch the glass.
Now, I understand why they have those rules. A careless shove could destroy a very important and beautiful piece of art. But Sarah was not shoving. Sarah was lightly tapping. The worse that would have happened was a smudge on the plexiglass. The best that would have happened was that Sarah would relax enough to actually enjoy the art she was seeing.
The other children were having a good time, and were excited to see work by artists they had studied in art class. Everyone, including Sarah, was well-behaved. I just wish the museum could have relaxed a little, so that Sarah could have relaxed a little too.