On a personal level...


Tom W

I know this is a semi-work related website and Marc has allowed us to post our random nonsense in blogs...but I did want to post this writing I did a few weeks ago on a day that has stuck with me for a while now. It touches on tradegy and ends with some personal comments about me and my family.

Marc - I am not sure of the boundries with this so if this is not what you thinking let me know and I will take it down.

On a personal level...

I was running late; my head already hurt; it was going to be a hard day at work. As I rushed to get to work I kept thinking about all the things I had to do and all the things that were waiting for me to get to work. As I got close to the parking lot I saw lots of emergency lights down the street. I counted 6 police cars, an ambulance, and two fire engines; there must have been a bad accident at the intersection. I have said for a long time they need a light at the corner; some jerk probably pulled out in front of someone; I remember thinking that I hope everyone was ok.

It was about 10 minutes later I saw the ambulance still parked there; I remember thinking this was not a good sign and then went back to work. As I got up from my desk a few minutes later I saw the lights again out the windows. I glanced over and it was still sitting there. I spoke with a co-worker; talking about how that’s usually not a good sign, an ambulance just sitting there. We both kind-of paused and thought about it for a second; then went back to work. 15 minutes later that co-worker had received a phone call from our truck driver; he had seen the accident early that morning.

It was not what I had thought; no jerk pulled their car out in front of someone and got nailed. A small child had tried to dart across the street on his bike; got hit by one car and thrown in front of another. A small child, probably scared, excited and nervous at the same time turned to cross a road; like he had done several times before; only never to cross it again. A young woman driving the minivan dealing with the heartache of what just happened; scared of what role she played, second guessing what she could have done different. Two families now dealing with tragedy in different was; from different sides.

What’s left to think; my thoughts quickly turn to my own daughter. Just getting ready for school; luckily this year she is home schooled; no streets to cross, no buses to catch, and no dangerous intersections to maneuver. Are my thoughts selfish? I pray for the child in the intersection; pray for the family, for the drivers, for the emergency workers.

As I think about my daughter I undoubtedly think about my wife as well. I thought about calling her and telling here about the tragedy; but thought why did I need to tell her, she would just worry and think about it and I would not want to put her through that. My wife is a miracle worker with my daughter; she has dedicated every waking minute to work with her and to help her learn about life. She conducts the home schooling and works very hard to make sure Tori has everything she needs to succeed. You see Tori has Autism; a developmental disorder that affects children all across the world.

Tori is now eight years old; a happy little princes that shows improvements every day. She has shown us glimpses of exciting things to come. Shelly works so hard on improvements and teaching her that I worry about her own health because of it. But I have nick-named her the pit bull for a reason; you don’t come between a mother pit bull and her pup. So I support her where I can; I am sure it’s not enough for her peace of mind; and I worry sometimes that I should be doing more, but it tends to lead to more stress and arguments so we try to co-exist with each other while at the same time stay engaged with Tori.

Having a daughter growing up with Autism has been a challenge to say the least; I have learned so much about this disorder. It affects about 1 in 150 children now; and each child is different. The spectrum of the disorder is so large; it affects each child differently even though there are similarities. Communications, verbal and no-verbal is so minimal or even none existent that it makes things so challenging. Most children with Autism really do not speak much; the severe cases have children that have never spoken. As a parent, to never hear your child ask for a drink of water, or ask to go to the bathroom, or ask why; it’s one of the hardest things to deal with.

Tori has speech; limited compared to a ‘normal’ eight year old but when she is on her game people really can’t tell she has Autism. A lot of her speech is memorized answers to standard questions, How are you today – I'm fine; we have to be careful that we challenge her to mix up her speech, to think about what she is saying rather than just reacting with memorized phrases.

She has shown a growing vocabulary; thanks mainly to Shelly working with her; and she reads like crazy. She started to read at a very young age. She knows the words but does not understand them. She can read a higher level reading book, but could not really answer any questions about what she has just read. Through the efforts of working with her; she is getting better at this every day. The guessing at the answer has given way to trying to remember what she read. It is exciting to see the progress.

As we are around her every day; we tend to not see all of the progress she makes. When family or friends come to visit they all talk about the improvements and her progress; we do not tend to see all of it but we are excited they do. The biggest key in this whole experience is that Tori is happy, always has been, and loves mom and dad. She knows right from wrong with the things she has experienced; she knows what she likes and what she doesn’t like; and she is not afraid to tell you.

One of her favorite line to say is “I’m not asking you; I’m telling you.” She heard that on a video or show and uses it all the time. She will say that not so much in a way that says it to us; but when we tell her to do something she repeats that as if that’s what she hears us saying to her. It's her way of saying my mom and dad just told me to do something and they are not asking me they are telling me to do it.

She is very visual and loves to watch videos, look at books with lots of pictures, and play on the internet. She has mastered the internet; at least PBS Kids and Playhouse Disney. She would sit for hours if we let her on there playing games and watching videos. She has even gotten up walked a way and then come back hours later and pick up exactly where she was.

She has the uncanny ability to put a video in on the TV in the basement, mute the sound and go into another room where she cannot see the TV; yet she can recite the video word for word at the exact moment they are actually saying the words. She will also hum the music at the right times. And if you shut it off; she knows. She will come running yelling no, no, no. She can travel around the house saying the words to the movie Madagascar and she will be right on-time with the actions in the movie. It’s how her brain works; very disciplined, very systematic, very structured.

I have developed an understanding of what she does and what she says to be able to communicate with her. Shelly gets frustrated sometimes that I do not correct her when she does not use full sentences, or use the words right; but I just sometimes want to communicate with her in her language; in her methods so she knows I know and that she knows I can be there for her.

She also has learned how to manipulate situations to her benefit. When she asks mom for permission to watch a video, and mom says no; she will call daddy and ask me with her sad eyes. Most of the time I say she has to ask mom and listen to her answer – but being the sucker I am for her sad facial expression I say yes.

My key thought is to make sure she is happy; I don’t want to spoil her but I want to avoid the disappointment of her not understanding and getting frustrated about it. When I ask her a question I try to give her time to think about it and answer me. I tell her to take her time and to formulate the answer and then tell me. She understands that; and she understands when I tell her I understand it’s hard for her to come up with the answers. I reassure her to try; to not just give up or go the easy route; but to take her time and think about her answer. It usually works and it’s great.

So there is a glimps into my life through one day's tragic event. The young boy was 11 years old; it was his first day with his new bike. His grandfather had told him not to ride it to school but he was so excited to have it that he jumped on it and took off for school. He passed away at the scene; his mother holding him in the middle of the street.

Love the ones you can, cherish each moment, and have fun doing it; we never know what will come next.


Fully vaccinated are you?
No problem on my end. Feel free to blog what you want. There is no requirement that content be 'business' related.

An interesting read.
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