So happy news!

Elizabeth had her first training day for her new job. For those who don’t know, Elizabeth has started the process to work in the dietary department of a nursing home. She is excited because she loves to cook, prepare and work with people. And she loves working with the elderlies. That is her word and truth is, she does.

So we began the process of calling, interviewing, doing the on boarding paperwork and testing. And may I say it was actually a lot of work to do this. Oh, and it included getting fingerprints.

Elizabeth was with me on the majority of the above steps and it was only the financial on boarding that I chose to do alone as it was something that only one person really needed to do, it was easier for me and also, I was working off the app on my phone, so there was that too!

I will say that I made sure to tell Elizabeth everything that I did as that is how I try to remember to do now for everything.

I am very happy to say that the young lady who runs the dietary program and the gentleman who runs the nutrition program at the facility want to help Elizabeth by asking questions, listening and working to help her succeed. I learned from them that there is ALOT to learn, menus, items, steps, measurements, records etc…

For those who don’t already know, Elizabeth is my daughter who has special needs. She has global dyspraxia and Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) Both of her disorders affect her life each and every day. Sometimes more than others and sometimes it is the sensory issues that drive her anxiety and struggles and other times it is the Dyspraxia that will do it.

I have to say that if someone had told me many years ago that the advocacy that I tried to hard to do correctly would be the same thing I am would be doing some 20+ years later, I truly would not have believed it. But our journey continues. Always differently but continuing nonetheless.

I learned how to become a strong advocate for Elizabeth. I did not always know how to be an advocate. At the beginning of this journey, I was a bit too polite and soft spoken about Elizabeth and her needs. I tended to listen without question to the words of the school, be it preschool or primary school.

But then I learned

I learned to be her voice and talk when she couldn’t

I learned to be her champion when she wasn’t able to tell people what she wanted, needed or what was bothering her.

Then as she worked hard in therapies and life, I learned how to better represent her. How to tell those working with her all the things she can do, the things she is working on and the things she needs.

Then I learned how to advocate for a young adult in planning her life after high school. To allow HER choices and interests to be the ones we focused on. To help her find the right places and people to talk to.

So I have learned a great, great deal in helping Elizabeth by helping those who are working with her to understand just how she works.

To be honest, her disorders are ones that require information to best work with her.

Therefore, I am forever and always grateful to those who have the interest and take the time to listen and then work with me(us) to help Elizabeth grow and be the best that she can be.

So now back to our nursing home update:

After her first training session, the young lady who runs the dietary program tells me she needs to talk to me about the first day. As I wait for her to call, I almost feel like I am back in time to waiting for and IEP meeting or a report or “an issue” to be talked about.

Then the call came

And we talked about the good things she had done, the things Elizabeth needs to learn and that she is ready to plan another 4 hour session for this week. We even talked about a job coach coming to help her learn the steps and talk them through later

I loved out talk and that she listened.

I share this because we know we are trying our best for our children with special needs children and to do this our advocacy is critical.

Sometimes it just helps to know that we may be in this role longer than we thought and each time it may feel like starting over.

But you and I are better at it than we were the time before.

I wish everyone a peaceful week.

Michele Gianetti author of Elizabeth Believes in Herself