I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I’ve felt myself pulled in another direction career-wise for a while now. I’ve actually been going through a pretty blue time this fall, wondering why the hell I am not making phone calls to introduce myself to musicians in my new town, why I’m not putting up posters for my vocal studio, or why – for the last several years, to be honest – I haven’t even had the desire to sing. Well, I could probably point to several different reasons, but what I’ve finally realized is that I’m not inspired to do so anymore. At least not for now. What inspires me is the idea of helping families navigate this snake-pit of a system when facing a new diagnosis of autism for a beloved child.
I came to this realization while folding laundry. I don’t know why I can really get good thinking done while I fold laundry or change sheets on a bed, but I certainly do. I was allowing myself to think the impossible: maybe I don’t want to teach anymore. Maybe I don’t want to sing as a career anymore. Maybe my life has taken such a huge change from the life I thought I was going to lead that those plans no longer matter. Those plans were for Me BCWA (Before Child With Autism). This is my reality now. Life threw Rob & me a curve ball, and we’ve either got to work with it or roll up in a ball & quit. I’m no quitter. I do like road maps, however, and any changes from my planned course of events, even in everyday mundane events, takes me awhile to adjust to mentally. So I grin at myself for taking so damn long to figure out what my subconscious has probably been trying to tell me for a long time: I don’t want to teach anymore. I want to help families with an autistic child get the therapies they need.
I knew immediately that I didn’t want to be a therapist or doctor or anyone directly giving services. I like to support – I like to help the person on the front line. All those folks on the front line need people behind them, and I’m really good at that. I’m a good organizer (although my office desk might tell you otherwise.) I communicate well. I explain things clearly most of the time.
My dream job: I want to be the person that goes along with the huge packet of information that goes along with a diagnosis. When a family gets the diagnosis, no matter how well the medical staff does with breaking the news, in the end they are still sent home, heads reeling, with a thick packet of recommendations, readings, research, etc - alone. I remember this clearly. So what I want to happen is that when a family gets the diagnosis, the medical staff says, “Here is the list of recommendations we have for your child, as well as some readings for you, and next week you’ll have an appointment with ‘Tommysmommy’ and she’ll help you decipher all this and maneuver the system.” THAT’S what I want.
The funny thing was that once I realized this, I sent an email to the first person I could think of already in the system, asked her to have lunch with me to help me brainstorm, and we had a lunch date set for 4 days later. No stalling, no making excuses. I wanted to make this connection. Guess I’m on the right path.