A week ago, we took Dominic to his very first baseball practice. He is in a league for children and young adults with special needs. Each child on Dominic's team is paired up with a "buddy." This past Wednesday, Dominic had his first game. We were looking around for his "buddy" who we had met at the first practice. We didn't see her or her mom, so I told Lauren she would have to be Dominic's "buddy." As the game time got closer and closer, Dominic's buddy's mom came over to me and said her daughter was going to possibly be a few minutes late. The mom went on to tell me that her daughter was in a music concert and was scheduled to be performing during the time of the baseball game, but was going to perform sooner than she was scheduled, because she wanted to get to the field so she could be Dominic's "buddy!!" Her mom told me her daughter was in such a rush to fulfill her "buddy" duties that she went out to the field with her dress shoes on!
Wow, that just touched my heart - another "tissue" moment for sure! This particular mom also has another daughter who is a "buddy" for another player on Dominic's team. What an "insight" these two young ladies will have into the special needs "world." The other day, I was telling someone about my experience about a year and a half ago at the local university where I was part of a "panel," along with two other moms that spoke to a group of second year medical students about what it's like to be a parent of a child with Autism. It was a little hard for me to step out of my "comfort zone," and talk in front of about 100 people, but I am very passionate about my family, so it really wasn't hard at all. The current rate of children diagnosed with Autism is now 1 in 68. That is a staggering figure and those future doctors that were seated in front of me that day are guaranteed to see at least one child with Autism in their medical career. I could tell that day that some of those medical students would rather be anywhere else, but in that room, but I would say a majority of them paid attention to when I was speaking :) Dominic was diagnosed with Autism at age 2 1/2 by his pediatrician. Getting him into an early intervention program, where he started receiving speech and occupational therapy was very important. I felt so lucky that I was given the opportunity that day back in 2012 to be able to give those medical students a quick "glimpse" into what it's like to have a child with special needs. I am keeping my fingers crossed that I am given another opportunity to be able to speak again to a group of medical students. I think that it would give them a deeper understanding the first time they have a special needs child as a patient!!