I mentioned last week that I was considering getting more help with Tiara. Before I left on vacation I called the agency that is supposed to provide a caretaker for Tiara 20 hours per week and have not done so for the past year. This agency has a contract with Regional Center and they are supposed to screen and provide adequate caretakers. In the past year they have provided 2 different girls both of whom lasted a few days. I hadn’t heard from them since November and I finally called them a few weeks ago to discover there was a new director who had misplaced our file and our contract with Regional Center had expired. Oh good.
After a few emails and calls, the contract was reinstated and I arranged to meet with the new director the day after we returned home from New York. Just so you know there is a huge turn around with workers in this field. This is the 4th director I have dealt with in the past few years. So this nice guy came over, learned about Tiara and said he thought he had a really good candidate for the job. Let’s call her Sally just to protect her identity. He describes Sally as a petite college girl studying psychology and is really interested in “making a difference.”
This is too good to be true! What if she is really great and Tiara loves her? I requested she work from 1:30-5:30 Monday through Thursday and 4 hours on either Saturday or Sunday , which ever was better for her. If she arrived at 1:30 I could go to my errands solo, pick up Trinity solo and drive her to her activities and actually sit and observe. After gymnastics and softball we could come home, I would make dinner, the caretaker would leave and everything would be so much easier. Life of luxury at least for me.
Thursday at 1:30 p.m. sharp, the doorbell rings. I open the door to be greeted by Sally, a very adorable, tiny girl with lots of spunk. I introduce her to Tiara and we all sit down to talk about Tiara’s behaviors, medical history and everything I think is important that she could possibly need to know. As I am talking, TT keeps looking over at her and waving and saying HI. Good sign. Oddly, Sally seems to be stressed, well I guess that isn’t odd on second thought.
The more I talk, the more stressed and anxious she appears. I then learn that she has helped with her God Mother’s son who as Aspergers for sometime. She is really knowledgeable about Autism, but has never changed a diaper in an adult and is very nervous about violence and anger issues. Hummm, this isn’t sounding good.
Either way she starts to color with Tiara after about 45 minutes of me filling her in on every detail of Tiara’s life. I go to the computer to work on my blog, while she tries to keep Tiara entertained. Tiara keeps running over to me every 3 minutes, which is very normal when there is someone else in the house trying to play with her. I ask Sally if she is comfortable with me picking up Trinity from school and leaving her alone with Tiara for a few minutes?
Sally: “I am OK with it, if you come straight back home.”
Me: “I will be gone 15 minutes and you can see how you feel being left alone with her.”
Sally: “I will try it.”
I leave to get Trin and am back in 15 minutes as promised. Nothing bad happened and all was good, yet it was barely 15 minutes, but it was a start. I was feeling rather excited that this could possibly work.
Tiara’s home school showed up at 3:30 pm and my plan was to leave them alone with Tiara and see how they did. The school district requires that someone 18 or over is always present with the teacher because of liability issues. As a result everyday I always have to stay home and then Tiara follows me around and the teacher follows her around. The whole thing has gotten really frustrating for the teacher and myself so I was hoping that if I left, Tiara would pay attention and I could get a break. Hmmm, what an idea!
I leave after the teacher assures me she is comfortable because it is becoming obvious that Sally isn’t comfortable watching Tiara on her own. Trinity and I return home 45 minutes later to find both teachers chasing Tiara around the basketball court and the second she hears me enter, she comes bolting for me yelling “Mommy, Mommy, Home, Home!” After the teacher leaves and I have another talk with Sally. I explain that I want her to feel comfortable talking to me and to tell me honestly how she feels about the job and watching Tiara. I won’t be angry or upset, I just want to make sure it is a good fit for Tiara and Sally.
Me: “So after spending 3 hours with Tiara, do you think this is something you can do? Would you feel comfortable watching her?”
Sally: ” To be honest, I had no idea was I was getting myself into. She is so much bigger than me and I am worried about not being able to control her and I can’t work 20 hours a week. I want to help children learn and focus, I wasn’t planning on being just a caretaker. I am not even sure if this company is the right fit for me at this point. I am a psychology major and I wanted to work with children in special education but now I am not sure.”
Me: “Well, this is a care taking job and I know Tiara is more difficult than other children but if you continue to work for this company you will be assigned to similar jobs.”
Sally: “After spending the afternoon here, I am not even sure if I want to pursue working in Special Education. I need to talk to my boss and really spend some time this weekend contemplating what I want to do with my life.”
Me: “I think that is a good idea. Just text me or call me to let me know what you decide.”
I am 99% sure she will never return and had to hold my laughter when she admitted spending a day with Tiara while she was on good behavior changed her whole life’s dream of working with special education kids. Gotta love that! Tiara really knows how to rock someone’s world.
Tiara and I are off to our sleep study at Choc tonight, which I am so not looking forward to.
Have a great day!
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