Sunday, March 14, 2010

Meeting Ms. Martin

Getting out of the office is always the best thing I do. It's not the most productive in terms of what needs to get crossed off my to do list, but it oftentimes feels way more productive and beneficial than checking off the list of things I need to do for work.

So, I was happy to show off our programs on a tour. Guests are always impressed by the way all of our youth greet with a formal handshake, eye contact, and, "How are you today?" Because we expect the kids to greet every new person they see, it also challenges me to do the same. So, as we toured, I introduced myself to an adult who walked in.

She introduced herself as Rose Martin, David's mother. I knew immediately who she was talking about. David will be 6 years old next month. He is enrolled in the After-School Academy. I hear funny stories about David all the time because he answers with incessant stream of consciousness when you ask him a question. His stream of consciousness talking makes you think his brain is working so much faster than he can tell you, but he's going to keep talking until he gets his point across. Though David talks a lot, his verbal skills are not that great. He is a little difficult to understand. However, like just about any person, when you listen long enough, you begin to understand everything he says.

Knowing all of that, I never expected what Ms. Martin told me. After our introduction she explained she was there to pick up David. She went on to thank us for what we are doing. She explained that she had never been able to communicate with her son. For some reason, his verbal skills had always been delayed. When he got into school, they tested him as having the verbal skills of a 3-year old. She said for the longest time he could never communicate with her. She was frustrated as a parent because she wanted him to talk to her. She wanted him to be able to tell her what was wrong, but he simply couldn't verbally communicate.

Since he has been in the After-School Academy, she explained, his verbal skills have increased dramatically! She told me that his teacher was now thinking about moving him on up to the first grade (which, I'm guessing, is where he is supposed to be age-wise). They will be testing him for learning disabilities just to make sure he is developmentally ready. She thanked me several times for our program and for what it has done for her and her child.

I invited her to our Parent Academy that evening, but she explained she was just there to pick David up so she could run him over to his speech therapy place before she went off to school. Ms. Martin is working on her basics and preparing for nursing school. She is hoping to transfer to TWU in the fall in order to complete her degree.

Days like these encourage, inspire, and challenge me. It is because of and for Ms. Martin that I will go back to my office and continue to work on my to do list and figure out ways for us to measure our progress so that we can continue to exist.

If you would like to help make sure we can continue to exist, please consider donating to our Children's Education programs at this link: (be sure "Children's Education" is designated)
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