Change is Good
Monday was the last day of work for Stephen, Cody’s Occupational Tech. A substitute will be here on Thursday to continue Cody’s care plan through the end of July. Then Josh, Cody’s new Occupational Tech, will start in August. But one of the things Stephen did before he left—for which I am most grateful—was to introduce lots of changes into Cody’s life. This has helped Cody grow and progress tremendously!
There was a time when Cody had a specific criterion for everything. He had specific restaurants he would only go to with Grammy, and specific restaurants he would only go to with us. When Stephen came along, he made sure to give lots of choices but if they went to a particular restaurant on one outing then he did not name that restaurant in the list of choices on the next outing. This way Cody could adapt to change but still have a say in choosing.
At first, Stephen planned the day according to a written schedule that was on the kitchen door for Cody to see. But as time went on he began to make changes in small steps. They might switch the time they did laundry or instead of making the bed right away they might work on math skills. Instead of doing vocabulary, they might work on computer skills.
As Cody became accustomed to these changes in his routines, he began to enjoy it more and more. Soon Cody was expressing his desire for change.
One day when Stephen had suggested they go play basketball, Cody said, “Oh let’s just do something different.” Stephen happily named off some other choices and Cody chose going to the bookstore. This made me very happy!
Before long, their activities were no longer limited to walks in the park and basketball. Soon they were going to movies. Stephen has always done very well at picking the movies Cody likes. He knows Cody doesn’t like kid movies. So they always went to see movies that two young men their age would go see.
They also went bowling. Cody had fun there as well, even though more balls probably went into the gutter than down the lane.
Miniature golf was a new experience for Cody. I can’t guess how many golf balls they might have had to chase down, but who cares? I was perfectly delighted to see the grin on my son’s face when they returned home.
Cody and Stephen visited the batting cages from time to time. Neither of them seemed bothered by the missed balls or the foul balls. And all the other patrons kept their windshields intact, so they didn’t mind Cody’s lack of baseball finesse either.
Cody enjoyed visits to the Nature Center very much. He is very intrigued by the jungle-like areas with paved pathways.
I think it helped Cody tremendously that Stephen was never shy around him. From the very start, the two of them almost acted like brothers.
Sometimes Cody would come out of his room from getting dressed and he would have his shirt half tucked in and half out. Stephen would squirrel up his face at him and say, “FIX YOUR SHIRT!” in a comical voice. Cody would laugh at him then pull his shirt free from his trousers.
There was lots of joking and horseplay between the two of them. If Cody began to get agitated for some reason, Stephen would growl at him like an attacking dog and that would make Cody laugh and he would soon forget what he what had made him grumpy.
Monday afternoon, Stephen’s supervisors from Cody’s service provider came and introduced us to Josh, who will be taking Stephen’s place in August. He seems to be a pleasant young man who takes great interest in his work. We talked for quite some time and we were impressed. But more than anything I was very delighted to see my son walking around and giggling with a huge smile on his face. This was a remarkable difference from his behavior in situations like this in the past. There was no nervousness, not hitting his head, no lamentation and no rubbing his ears. I was amazed!
I am sad that Stephen is leaving us. We will all miss him very much. However, I am happy that he is going on to a fulfilling job where he will be helping many people. But I’m thankful for all he has done to help my son and because of him Cody is handling this transition extremely well.