It wasn't until I gave my presentation to the parents currently going through TouchPoint's parent training program that I realized that it has been two years. Yes, it's only been two years since I sat through the program as a consultant. Yesterday also saw the fact that I had not given a presentation in almost a month so I feared that rust would plague my words.
As much as I feared the rust the fears were for not. As soon as I started speaking it was as if not a second had gone by since my previous presentations. On top of that, at the end, the questions were some of the best I have had and the discussion was intense, deep, and often times humorous. It was awesome, but it was during this segment of questions and answers that I realized that it was just two years ago that my life truly began.
I often credit the the trip to Autism Speaks in New York City in 2009 as the start of who I am today and I will state that in my presentation. However, it isn't so much to know what one wants to do but it is a totally different, and more difficult, thing to find a way to do it. It was just a week after I got back from New York that I began to go through parent training.
The first day I didn't know what to expect and the reason for that is what I read after I got diagnosed. Once I had diagnosis in hand I didn't know what to make of it so I went into the hit or miss abyss of the internet. After writing that sentence I went to Google and typed, "autism" and it said there are about 80,000,000 pages! Just five months ago there were 16,800,000! The point of the numbers though is this; not all of them are going to be accurate. I found one of those pages and it said that people on the spectrum, "Will never have a job, will never have a family, can only be a burden, and above all else will never be happy." I read those words and, sadly, believed them.
After reading those words I didn't care about anything because I believed those words and when one believes something like that they are most certainly destined to become it. I did. However, for one reason or another, I started writing which led me to go through the TouchPoint ADAPT program (parent training) and while I wasn't expecting much going in I was amazed at the enthusiasm of the parents who were going through it. Secretly, on the first day, I thought that obviously they had not read the web page I had read nor did they have the same belief.
My beliefs were tested with each passing moment as success stories were shown and I began to wonder if that website I read was full of baloney. Then, after the first week, I saw monumental gains in some of the children along with a sense of hope from the parents and it was enough. If I didn't know better I'd say it was nothing but magic, but while the title of this entry has the word "magic" in it, it truly isn't. By empowering parents and giving them the information of how the mind on the spectrum thinks and the appropriate way to address issues, well, harmony can exist.
During the question and answer segment yesterday I was taken aback by these thoughts. For one reason or another I never gave credit to going through that program for giving me the "magic" in what I do today. I wasn't even a parent, just a consultant, and going through the TouchPoint parent training gave me the confidence that the website I read after I was diagnosed was nothing but hogwash. As I went through the program I could never have imagined that I would turn into a public speaker and be spreading the message of not only my story, but that there is this place some may say works magic, but I say we produce the most important thing of all; hope! Without hope what is there?