Today I made a real difference in someone's life. Which makes me feel awesomely cool and proud but humble and pleased at the same time.
A mom called my work to ask about services for her newly diagnosed son. Her voice was actually trembling as she explained the situation. Her family doctor wasn't supportive, brushing off her concerns. She didn't have much support among her friends or family either since she didn't know anyone else with autism in the family. She'd been doing some Google research and was terrified about the potential long-term issues and expenses. I could hear it in her voice, she was absolutely frantic with wanting to help her son and terrified that she wouldn't be able to.
We talked for about twenty minutes. I told her some of my history about when Alex was diagnosed and when Nathan was diagnosed. I told her how I was incredibly overwhelmed at first but after awhile, I learned enough that things began to make sense again. I gave her the Holland-Italy analogy and suggested she be gentle with herself because she was literally learning a brand-new world.
I didn't give her false hope that her child would be cured if she just did X, Y and Z. I didn't give her a bunch of inspirational stories. I just let her know that I was a real person and that I'd been where she was standing and made it through. Not in a my-situation-is-fixed way, but in a further-along-the-path way.
I also listened a lot. Because I believe that's the best thing to do with someone who's upset. They're not looking for a fix right off the bat. More than anything, they need to be heard.
After awhile, I could hear her voice relaxing. She was making her way from being frightened into feeling like this was something she could handle again. I helped her to do that.
The opportunity to help is one of the reasons I took this particular job. (Flexibility of schedule being the other one.) I'm very grateful that my experience can help others.
I gave her this blog address, so I don't know if she's reading this post but I'll assume that she is.
I still believe she can do it.