Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Why Do All Good Things Come To An End?

Am feeling pretty miserable just now. Have just said goodbye to Edel (Babs Home Tutor). Amazing the effect one young girl can have on a family. She is off to start a nursing career in Derry and best of luck to her..she will be brilliant at whatever she turns her hand to. She certainly had the Midas touch with Babs. He is an unrecognisable child from the one he was a year ago all thanks to her. I couldn't even say goodbye I was that choked up.

Rewind 11 months when I first heard of home tuition..I really was clueless. Babs was granted 20 hrs a week (as he was over 3 years of age) and there was no special pre-school around. We had to physically advertise and find the Tutor ourselves (as do all H/T seekers), which was very daunting. The Dept of Ed & Science had sent out a list of qualifying criteria which the tutor must match. What a nightmare...put an ad in the local rag and waited and posted ad on the rollercoaster. Was at a support group meeting the night the local paper came out and had a missed call on my phone. She left a message...good god that was quick. It was actually from the RC she had seen my ad. Thelma (not her real name..sounds like it but starts with F) was a tutor already and was working with a family in the next county..she had taken on a new family in a town not far from where we live and decided to abandon her first family to take us on as it was convenient for her to come to us so she wouldn't be spending her day travelling.

I felt bad for the first family but hey my babs was getting a tutor...Thelma told me more than I knew about home tuition and the workings of it and I was grateful. She told me how she gets paid 'in cash' every friday because the dept are slow to pay and she needs her wages..fair enough! When I query how much it would cost she tells me the Dept pay 27 quid but she rounds it to 30 but it didn't matter here or there (her words not mine). So for a second I thought that's just 3 quid right! No dumbass that's 3 quid extra per hour (60 per wk/ 240 per month) that we wouldn't be reimbursed..I love my kid but ain't gonna be ripped off.

Anyway the whole thing turned sour when the times she suggested calling to teach Babs didn't fit in around our family routines. While I can appreciate the other family she had been working with come first I wasn't prepared to upset the whole household for my one autistic boy juggling everything to suit the tutors times....selfish? I don't think so. There were school drop offs and collections at 2 different times so I had asked Thelma for a bit of time to see if I could maybe get one of the girls on the private school bus, but she didn't grant me the courtesy of giving me that time. She hounded me with texts and phone messages demanding to get her hours sorted to start getting her wages in. We hadn't even received approval for her for God's sake!! So we finished before we started..drat and double drat. But I am glad because from that brief phone call I would not have liked to have her in my house for 20 hours a week.

So the search continued..another ad in the paper. This time we got some crackers. An Italian lady was looking for the job of minding the child for her sister who had little english. When I explained that it's not a childminder we want (I can only assume she was reading the ad above ours) and that it was a tutor for a child with autism..she replied "yes my sister do it". Okay, that would be no! We had SNA's with lots of experience but didn't match the exact criteria so no go. Then a chance chat to Babs' pre-school support worker landed me with Edel. No ABA but bloody marvellous. I warmed to her instantly. She was working on everything that Enable Ireland were working on with him (plus extra bits too - making rice krispie buns) and the results were really great...continuity is definitely a must for autistic kids. As luck would have it Edel also worked as a home support worker for Bab's pre-school support worker. And as an added bonus, she lived 10 minutes away from us. So we had a neat little circle goin on. Did I mention that his pre-school support has since landed the job of being Babs' SNA in mainstream come September..are we jammie beggars or what?

Oh darn, now I've cheered myself up. I will shall remain forever grateful to Edel and all the love committment/dedication she has shown to Babs, to all of us in fact. She was my bit of adult conversation and kept me sane over the last 10 months too. So thank you Edel. Back to the cabin fever for me.

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