I am so happy you have stumbled upon this blog. I am so excited to start sharing some of the things I have learned on my special education journey. But, before I start, I guess I should fill you in on where it began…
Ever since I was 5 years old, I was going to be a veterinarian. I dreamed of it, and had all the support of my friends and family to see my through the journey. I graduated from NC State’s College of Veterinary Medicine in 1995. I was so excited and could not wait to get started solving the mysteries those ailing puppies and kittens would bring my way. Just two years into this new life as Dr. Joy, I had our first child, Jimmy. All was well, I took some time off from work and loved being home. The following year, Gina was born and boy were my hands full. I still tried to get in to practice medicine on the weekends, but then things took a turn.
Something seemed not quite right with Jimmy. It took me a while to hear, see, and accept what others were trying to tell me. Long story short, he was diagnosed with autism at the age of 2 and my whole life changed. It was like my child had died, but I was not allowed to grieve. All I had dreamed of was gone in one afternoon at the doctor’s office. All bets were off.
I won’t go into a long detailed list (and believe me it is LONG) of what my husband and I did to try and “save” our son. It didn’t work, and it was bad. Maybe that is a blog for another day.
Today, Jimmy is 18 and we are still struggling with all his condition entails. But the silver lining through all of this is that I was forced to make a career change, and I believe it was in God’s plan all along. I went back to school, got my teaching degree and master’s in special education and set out trying to figure out how to teach Jimmy and others like him. Funny thing is, I have never regretted leaving medicine. And though, I graduated from vet school with a bunch of awards and promise of an amazing career, I honestly don’t think that is what I was meant to do. I still love solving mysteries, but now I love solving the mystery of how to teach kids that many think are unteachable.
Through this blog I hope to share some of my biggest “aha” moments I have had in teaching and living with a son with such a significant and profound disability. Who knows, maybe there is a teacher or parent out there who will stumble across this and think, “Wow, that is a great idea. I am going to try that.” I can dream right? For now my motto, “Just keep swimming” keeps me going and learning each day.