Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Talent Wasted

All summer, we have had several therapists (or tutors, as this particular program calls them) come into our house every weekday to work with George. They have been wonderful with him and he has so enjoyed "playing" with them. They have worked on his writing and cutting skills, how to correctly hold a pencil, categorizing, letter sounds, reciprocal conversation, and they have taught him his full name, phone number, address, school & teacher name, etc.

He has learned so much and is just soaking up every little thing they try with him. By watching them work with him, I learn ways to teach him, too. (He learned his phone number within five minutes when they let him use a cell phone to call our home phone, which they would then answer. Instant association and gratification! Why didn't I think of that?)

Today, we said a very tearful good-bye to his favorite tutor. She had the most contact with him, and the most success. She was willing to be playful with him, but kept him at his assigned task, not letting him off the hook if he whined and cheering him when he would finish. He would ask for her by name on the days they didn't meet, and seeing her face on his daily activity schedule was a sure way to get him to move along in the mornings.

IMG_1540 c

Two weeks ago, she gave notice to the organization that we work with and after today's session with George, she got into a U-haul and headed up the freeway. I'd love to say that she's found a terrific opportunity that will utilize her skills. That she'll be working with even more children who need someone like her. That she'll be changing more lives the way she's changed ours. Unfortunately, I can't say any of those things. She's moving two hours away, back to her home town... to sell insurance.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

She can't afford to live on the money she makes working here. The organization that employed her can't afford to give her enough hours or pay her enough for her to pay her rent. The organization that exists to help children like mine that need a little (or a lot) of help beyond what school can provide can't afford to pay their employees a living wage.

So instead of being a lifeline to kids and parents, instead of changing their lives, she will be selling them insurance. She doesn't want to and many tears were shed by everyone involved when she made that decision. But she ran out of choices. She waved good-bye with tears running down her face.

There is something very wrong with that. No, I'm not bitter, why do you ask?

12 comments:

Beth said...

That's just wrong.
And I wish it wasn't the way things were.

Just wrong.

Melanie said...

I ditto that, Beth. Why can't we just realize our children JUST DON'T MATTER TO ANYONE!!! They may be the future ... but let's face it, no one cares about our future. Sorry, I am holding back tears right now ... I am so sorry for George and for his tutor. Hugs to you all.

Michelle said...

Bitter? I can see why you're not. Why would anyone care about children and what is best for them?? How sad! My heart goes out to you, George, the children that she has helped, the children that won't be fortunate enough to meet her, and to her. She sounds like an invaluable asset and I hope for her that one day she can return to her calling. Life really shouldn't boil down to the almighty dollar :-(

loonyhiker said...

That is so sad for George, for you, and all the other children who have benefitted from this person. I'm so sorry to hear this but I'm also glad that you learned so much from her. I hope you will be able to keep in touch with her in case the situation changes.

Tanya @ TeenAutism said...

It is deplorable how some professions are devalued. I have a friend who works with developmentally challenged adults, and her salary is terribly low. It's so wrong.

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