The Art of Leaving….
Today I was in a preschool class for kiddos with language disorders. I helped out in the classroom because the SLP who teaches it had a family emergency. Today was the first day for this group of kids. They are enrolled in a “PRT” (Pivotal Response Training) class. The ratio is 1 SLP and 2 aides to 4 kids, maximum and the focus is entering a kiddos world, getting them engaged and playing. PRT is play based and child initiated. Its goals include the development of communication, language and positive social behaviors – it is meant to be natural and increase the motivation of a kiddo to interact with others.
Interact…yup. Let’s play with unfamiliar toys for an hour after your mom (who you are never away from) leaves you in an unfamiliar classroom.
Did I mention this was day one? For kids who had NEVER been in this classroom. NEVER with this staff. NEVER away from mom. And poof…cue crying. Cue snot and attempts to leave and refusal of any and all toys.
It hit me hard how amazing parents are. You let me take your crying baby. You trust me. You walk away with cries and yells and sobs following behind you. You believe (hope) that I will love them and support them and you allow me to step into such an uncomfortable place.
I can empathize. But only a little. My own boys cried when I took them to preschool. But they had words. They understood the words being used to calm and sooth them. They were not medically fragile. They did not have a history of seizures or traumatic brain injury or tube feeding or a terrifying life before foster placement. So I try to make my care outwardly obvious. And I wish I could hug you and reassure you that I truly and wholeheartedly love that little person you are trusting to me. But I cannot do anything but focus on them.
So to the mom who left her baby to me today…
Thank you. Thank you for your trust. Thank you for your faith. Thank you for a willingness to walk into unexplored territory with me. Thank you for believing that I can love and lead and support your child to a richer world through communication skills.
I hope you feel safe and confident as you step away from your little one, even if they are crying, knowing our goals are the same. And together we will change the life of the one who is so very important to you.
We applaud you moms and dads. We admire you for the ability to release and trust. And we promise to love and lead, just as you hope we would, even through the struggle. You parents are rock stars and we are honored to stand beside you.
March 15, 2021
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