I just got back from a three day conference on helping children with autism. I was hoping to get information to help me with one of our children that has Asperger’s Syndrome. Unfortunately I didn’t get a lot of help with that situation but I did get a lot of good information I can use in other areas of my career. In the very first minutes of the conference I got my most useful information and that was an attitude check.
The speaker was talking about many of the schools and groups he has worked with and how some had developed the attitude that: “I don’t have everything, so I won’t do ANYTHING!” I immediately thought about times since I became a houseparent that I had the very same attitude. I have thought other things also, like: “If administration doesn’t care, why should I?” or “This kid doesn’t have a chance, so why do I even bother?”
The fact is that we will probably never have everything that we could use to make our job easier or better, but that doesn’t relieve us of the responsibility of doing what we can, with what we got. Necessity is the key to invention and not having what we need might just lead to us developing new techniques that are far more effective than anything we might have been given.
I’m not saying forget your facilities programs and create your own, but there are always things we can do to make things better and the biggest one is having a positive attitude.
Besides that we can read books. Most of the training I have received in the 10+ years I have been a houseparent has been OJT (being given the keys to a cottage and told, have fun) or through my own personal study, mostly from reading books and trying the stuff I read about.
I have also learned stuff by watching television. I learned that the reasons kids in my house had pacifiers was because Ecstasy users grind their teeth and use pacifiers to prevent them from wearing them down by watching a news program about drug abuse. I learned about Asperger’s the very same way, which made it possible to get our child diagnosed and on the way to receiving the treatment he needs.
I have found tons of information on the Internet that has helped me immensely and found assistance from other users on this site.
As far as my other comments, just because you or I don’t think an administrator doesn’t care, doesn’t mean that they don’t and even if they don’t, it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t and every kids has a chance and it might just be you or I that makes the difference in their life.