A few weeks ago, I had the awesome opportunity to attend a TEACCH Autism Program training with some of my new favorite co-workers. To say that God had His hand on the way this trip came about is a bit of an understatement. To make a long story short(er), let's just say I was invited to go on this trip before I was officially hired for a full-time position. I cannot even begin to explain how God works sometimes, but I know that He does. And for that I am thankful:-).
Since this was not your typical conference... it was a training where we literally worked from 8:30am-4:30pm for five straight days, we were only allowed to explore the city during the evenings. With that being said, we treated ourselves very well at dinner time and laughed until we cried more times than I can count. This group seriously stole my heart that week.
Although I had heard alot about this training over the past few years, it was nothing like what I expected. In fact, it far exceeded my expectations. It consisted of 18 attendees (all from different backgrounds... I was the only speech-language pathologist which was kind of weird at first), 5 trainers, and 4 students with autism.
We were placed in groups of 4-5 attendees (typically not the people you came with, but Holly and me lucked out:0) with one trainer and one student with autism. The first few days were full of lectures and setting up the work space, while the last three days were full of hands-on training with the students and structuring and restructuring specific tasks for the students.
Here's a picture of me with my group for the week! That's Weslie in the front right corner. She's from Charleston and joined us for dinner a few nights while we were there!
This was Shona's group. She was the main reason I was invited to go on this trip. I first met Shona over six years ago when I did my externship for this school district before I moved to Tennessee. If that's not a full-circle, I don't know what is?!
I realize this picture doesn't look like much, but when we first walked into this room all of the furniture was placed in a pile in the middle. The different groups were responsible for brainstorming together to figure out a way to use the furniture to create four work stations, a play area, an art center, a game area, a snack area, and a waiting area. Did I mention it had to be functional for all of us plus four students with autism to work in too?!
I cannot tell you how amazing this experience was. I loved every minute of it! These girls were so fun to travel, learn, and laugh with.
Until next time,
p.s. Ignore the
zinc strip sunlight across my nose!! Completely embarrassing. Especially when your co-workers start singing "This Little Light Of Mine" and try to use your nose to start fires. Thanks for keeping it real, guys!