Over the Moon

I know that it can be alarming when this blog sits silent for a full week, especially after such a desperate post, but I am back today and happy to report: I made it.

After treading water for a while there last week, it would be enough for me to say that I’m back on shore now; that I gathered my resources (all of them, internal and external) and gradually swam back to the beach with my strong crawl stroke. But that’s not where I am.  I’m not on the beach, catching my breath and watching the waves, grateful that I made it by the skin of my teeth and relieved to be staying on dry land for a while.

No.  I want to tell you that I am not there on the beach because I am in a far better place.  I am, in actuality, over the moon.

I just spent two full days working with a group of 35-40 teachers, SLPs, OTs, PTs, LPNs, paraprofessionals, and administrators from a school in Central Florida that serves children with special needs, many of whom have autism spectrum disorders. There as a consultant working for one of the SCERTS collaborators, I brought to them a presentation designed to refresh their memories about this fantastic educational model (which their school has already philosophically embraced), and to present a case study.  The case study was on one of their own students, and they had sent videos to us in advance for preparation.  This allowed me to use one of their students to demonstrate behaviors and strategies I was teaching as I went along.  It also gave them a chance to learn the full, detailed assessment process from start to finish, using one of their own, and by the end they walked away with a brand new, full educational plan for this child, including activity goals and concrete suggestions for school and home.  The staff also had the tools and information they needed to use SCERTS with all of their other students over time.  They were ecstatic.

I talked, I joked, I told stories carefully chosen to make it clear that I am one of them: a therapist who makes mistakes she regrets, who is still learning, and who can laugh at herself, all of which is true.  At the same time, it was clear that I have advanced training and a level of expertise that they could learn from.  And they did.

I have never felt so good professionally as during these two days.  It was the perfect culmination of all my years of training, development, and work with children and families, as if everything I’d ever done had led me directly to this, standing in front of these professionals and teaching them a brand new way to think about their students and then what to do with that information.  Never have I felt like such an expert – there was no question I was unable to answer from the SCERTS perspective and then elaborate on, drawing from all sorts of different experiences I’ve had.  Frequently, I jumped in and answered one of their questions and then later thought to myself, Wow, where did all of that come from?  At the first lunch break, one therapist came to me and showed me the multitude of notes she had taken.  “You might think these pages of notes are all from the slides, but they’re not; these are all from your stories,” she told me, excitedly.  That was the first of many highs.

Up until now, I have been able to impact a handful of children and their families at any given time in my school- and clinic-based settings.  This week, in just two days, I was a catalyst for dramatic change that will effect at least 50 children, changes that will begin immediately.  At the end of our second day together, I held back tears on more than one occasion as I listened to the way the participants were talking about their work and the children they serve.  It was beyond uplifting.

For the past year I have held tight to a vision for my work in the coming years – sort of the Next Phase – and it included a lot of this work, SCERTS consulting.  But until I did it, until I experienced it for myself, I couldn’t say if it was going to be a good fit for me.   Now I can say with certainty that my suspicions were right:  I love it.  In the upcoming months, the opportunities to do this here in the Midwest will grow, and this is part of my dream.  I want to be able to do this as much as possible without having to travel far while my boys are young.  I will probably do a couple more workshops during this academic year, with the goal of dedicating a larger portion of my time to it next year, when Lyle starts kindergarten.

And so, no, I’m not catching my breath on the beach here today.  I am over the moon, in a state of euphoria, and feeling blessed to have worked my way to this time and place in my life.

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13 responses to “Over the Moon

  1. This is fantastic to read. It’s really something to “find” yourself professionally. Congratulations. And keeping sharing, I love hearing about it.

  2. Jordan, for some reason this made me cry when I read it. They must be good tears b/c I am so happy for you. Not just the sense of fulfillment but the knowledge that what you do *truly* makes a difference for families. The students whose lives you are changing are very lucky.

    I wish, wish, wish you could come to Dover, DE and teach some educators…sigh.

  3. you are awesome. but I knew that. lucky kids, the lot of them…and hooray for that district!

  4. “Up until now, I have been able to impact a handful of children and their families at any given time in my school- and clinic-based settings. This week, in just two days, I was a catalyst for dramatic change that will effect at least 50 children, changes that will begin immediately.” I echo Kristen–AWESOME.

  5. Wahoo for you! Tell us more about how it is up there over the moon. 😉

  6. I’m with Niksmom; why did this post make me sob?

    I think it’s because I wish every child who needed one had a Jordan Sadler; that ever clinician could have your love and motivation for what they do.

    You are the bomb diggity bomb, girl.

  7. Whoo-hoo! What Drama Mama said, Jordan! I am so happy for you and the people you work with! And you’re right, I was worried when I checked your blog after being away myself and saw that one lonely entry on 8/8 and then nothing for a week! 🙂

  8. I cried, too, when I read your post. I am lucky in that my girl has such great therapists in her life, but I hear horror stories time after time and I just wish there were more people like you out there. And like you said, not just helping a select few, but training OTHERS to help even more. That is such a great gift. I am so happy for you! That is SO COOL! Maybe when the boys are older, you’d be willing to travel even farther (california?) to do this work. This must be so fulfilling.

  9. Wow, thank you, everyone. Your responses mean so much to me.

    Wishfulmommy, I just wanted to let you know that there are many opportunities in California these days – Emily Rubin, SLP, one of the SCERTS collaborators, is in Carmel. Also, all of the other consultants she’s trained (there are 5 of us nationally) are in California!

    Anyone interested in attending a SCERTS workshop or passing the information to your special education team can go to http://www.barryprizant.com or http://www.commXroads.com and look at the schedules. There is info also being updated (along with lots of info about the model) at http://www.scerts.com . I can guarantee that it’s fascinating and applicable to all children, whether they’re on the autism spectrum or not.

  10. HOW EXCITING! i am thrilled for you, for us, for all the families that will reap SO MUCh from your work, your heart, your expertise and your beautiful enthusiasm!

  11. Bravo, Jordan!!

  12. You are truly a *STAR* I am so happy for you and all the lucky people who receive your wonderful gifts.

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