For the past two years I’ve been helping to care for my parents. There have been some very difficult moments for me emotionally as I’ve faced their illnesses. During one of my mom’s more serious hospital stays, I was seriously emotionally drained.
You may wonder why I was still going to sessions at such a time, but it’s a simple answer: My kiddos kept me going at a time when I needed them most. The joy of watching their progress and taking time away from my sadness made a huge difference. I could “check-out” of the world filled with hospitals and plunge into their world for those few hours every day.
During one particularly hard day, I had a session with a child with no vocal communication and minimal eye contact. When he would look my way, it was always so brief it almost seemed unintentional during previous sessions.
When he and I would work together I sat on the floor directly in front of him as he sat in his desk. On this particular day he was working on putting objects into a container. At one point, he paused and looked directly at me. His gaze was completely intentional and we maintained eye contact for a good 5 seconds. This was unheard of for this young boy and I was speechless. When he looked at me, it was like he was saying all the things I needed to hear at that moment.
“Keep going, Sarah. You’re stronger than you think,” was all being said without words.
So if you’re asking me why we do what we do? It’s for moments like the one we shared. There is a bond which is created between therapist and child which cannot be explained. I knew what he needed and he knew exactly what I needed. No words — just love, support, and encouragement to keep going no matter the circumstances.
by Sarah Vayo, BCBA