I officially started my internship last week at the Earl Baum Center in Santa Rosa, and though I can't go into details about clients, I can say that I'm learning a lot in a very short period of time. My master teacher is an alumni of the SFSU O and M program, and had all the same teachers and classes I did. She too survived crossing 19th Avenue under blindfold, and now here she is working with clients, helping them with daily living skills, cane skills and street crossing. Gives me hope that soon I'll too have a case-load of students and my office in my car.
It's been challenging though. I'm driving three to four hours a day, from my home and then to the various client's homes throughout Sonoma County. The schedule can be hectic and some days we skip lunch trying to get to everyone. My master teacher tries hard to accommodate my needs, but a lot of the schedule is driven by client availability and location, so there's only so much she can do. I'm beginning to realize just how hard it's going to be juggling Queen Teen's continuing needs and a full time job. Will I be able to pull this off? It's looking more like I'll need to work part time for a while, with one day a week devoted to Queen Teen. How do other parents work and care for a child with disabilities? Maybe I'm just a wimp.
At the same time, I'm studying for my Master's exam in October, and my Certification exam in January. I should know all about Orientation and Mobility, right? Then why does it feel like I've forgotten every term every taught to me. Eye anatomy; common eye-conditions; the difference between a landmark and a clue; the necessary parts of a functional assessment; what color tint of shades to use for Macular Degeneration. All that info is in my brain somewhere, but I'm having to re-read much of the readings from my classes to make sense out of it.
But when I work with a client, the info appears. Instinctively I know how to teach orientation skills to a client. I may not remember all of the visual effects caused by Diabetic Retinopathy, but I do know how to teach, and I figure the details of what I learned in class will coalesce into retrievable, logical sense in my brain. Just takes a little time, and study.
Queen Teen is thrilled that I'm home evry night for dinner now. No more staying in San Fran far away from her. But I miss my weekly trips to the City by the Bay, and miss seeing my friends regularly. The City charges my batteries, so to speak. I need to plan some trips for fun.
Well, gotta get back to work. My master teacher will be here soon and then we're meeting a client. Thanks for hanging in there while I wrote about Burning Man (which everyone should go to at least once in their life).