Today I met an amazing woman. She’s a foster mom with two of her own kids at home. Yesterday she received a call from social services asking her if should could take a sibling group of 4. With less than an hour’s notice, the children were at her door. As they were being dropped off, the social worked said…by the way the 7-year-old is Autistic.
It turns out that the woman works with a friend of mine. My friend gave her my number and urged her to call me for ways to work with the 7-year-old. The foster mom has no experience with anyone Autistic. Yes, she did call me. We texted over the next five hours as she observed the children. We talked about giving instructions and requesting compliance.
This morning I went to her house to observe the children before we went to the elementary school they will be attending. I had already explained to “mom” the possibilities and what the best placement might look like. As we sat in the conference room with the school staff, mom tried to keep up. The school staff kept speaking “school-ese” and didn’t even notice mom had no idea what they were talking about.
So, I jumped in. As a special education teacher, I was able to help the staff understand some of the unique needs I had already observed. Mom was able to get questions answered in terms she understood. The 7-year-old won’t be able to start school until Monday, mainly because of the many pieces must be in place for him to be safe.
I am really glad this mom reached out. She’s doing something most of us wouldn’t dream of doing….taking in children who have nowhere else to go. She’s going the extra mile to be an anchor for these kids whose lives were turned upside down. And she’s willing to learn more about Autism instead of refusing to take the kids. That is an amazing person.