HELP EMMA'S DREAM'S COME TRUE
Jumping Over the Puddle
The last three or four weeks have been rough. The whirlwind that summer is here in Maine, and some fun and antics with our neighbors here in the condo complex: people moving out and moving in, and other things that happen sometimes as a part of life. Emma hasn’t exactly dealt well. We had a few monster of all meltdowns, sleeping troubles and general bad attitudes that I chose to let drive me crazy.
In the end however, it was just a good case of Jumping over the puddle. What’s that you ask? Do you remember, when you were little and out stomping around in the rain, or after a rainstorm and you find a great big puddle to jump over? You back up to get a good running start, and you leap over the puddle and soar through the air…. So fun!
This happens with kids on the spectrum. They "back up" and then take a leap forward. The only problem is I don't always see that that is what is happening…. until she soars over the puddle.
That’s just what happened this past weekend at the Fall Regional Taekwondo tournament in Cape Cod, MA… thus the sobbing mother beside ring # 2! Emma has been doing a great job with these tournaments, with a fair amount of support from me, but this tournament was different. From the beginning, Emma wanted to be on her own. She wanted to walk by herself to see the vendor tables. She wanted to hang out with her Taekwondo school mate… alone. This is good. Previously she has been my Velcro child. Something was up…. I was beginning to smell a puddle ahead.
Well, what happened when she competed was nothing short of amazing. The students lined up and are lead to their ring by one of the judges. When they got to the ring, a young, smiley judge bent down and started talking to the girls in the ring.. rapid firing questions: “What your name? How old are you? Are you going to make some friends today?” Well. To my delight, Emma jumped right in, looked the women right in the eyes, and answered her questions, one after another, like any other kid!!! She competed with flare, and then, when receiving her trophies, she shook hands and MADE EYE CONTACT with each of the 4 judges in her ring. Fantastic! So connected, so there, so natural, so comfortable. So typical… so like every other girl in her ring!!
No one there knew we have had eye contact goals for her for the past ummmm, 7 years. No one knew how hard she and we have worked. No one knew what we have been through to get to these moments. I lost it. Tears of joy streamed down my face. A woman asked me if I was ok, and I just said I was so, so proud of my girl.
I knew in that instant she was jumping over the puddle… and boy, was she jumping high and far.
Many thanks to all who have and continue to support Emma and her dreams.... I wish each of you could have been there to see her soar... you are the wind beneath her ( and our) wings, and we will always be deeply grateful.
Way to go Emma, Way to go!
Ellen is a counselor, educator and Biomedical and Son-Rise mom extraordinaire. She has many years of experience in public, private, "typical " and special needs educational settings, as well as extensive training as an Option Process® Mentor Counselor through The Option Institute in Sheffield, Massachusetts, sister organization of the Autism Treatment Center of America
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