Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Investing the Time Now to Prepare for the Future

When the Quarantine first started, I spent the first week trying to replicate what Dominic did at school on a daily basis and unfortunately, he had a seizure that Friday, March 20. The next week, I let him do whatever he wanted because I had a huge case of mom “guilt” that I had caused it. Secretly, in the back of my mind, I was hoping the Quarantine would last two weeks and things could go back to the way they were. As we all know, that hasn’t happened yet (at least here in Michigan). The third week, I started using a whiteboard for Dominic’s detailed “schedule” as well as having him write his daily chores in a spiral notebook. Dominic has had a handful of chores for well over a year now (a fabulous idea from his private speech therapist), but what I began to notice, is that I was starting to give him additional chores, many of them life skills that he will be able to carry with him throughout his life, whether he always lives with us or not.  Some of his new chores include making his own lunch (he has been making his own breakfast for several years) and bringing in the trashcan from the curb after the garbage guys come through. I gladly let him take that one over from me! Dominic has been baking along side me from the time he was in diapers. Before the Quarantine, I was so incredibly busy, that baking had really taken a “backseat.” I was hardly doing ANY baking. During this time of togetherness, I have started it up again! Dominic used to just put the ingredients in a bowl and leave. I have “expanded” his role to reading the recipe, as well as finding and measuring the ingredients. A few weeks ago, he spilled a bunch of flour and got upset. 

He is what you would call a “perfectionist.” I had to reassure him several times it was okay. So far, we have made my mother-in-law’s Sour Cream Kuchen four times, as well as Brownie Pie and yesterday, Sour Cream Biscotti! 

My great-grandfather was a baker in Missouri. I have LOVED baking since I got my first Easy Bake Oven. I think Dominic has inherited his great-great grandfather’s passion for baking. Dominic will be 16 in July. He is on the life skills “track” at school, not the academic “track.” Employment for those with disabilities is hard to find. I don’t know the exact statistic, but I do know the number is quite low.  I see SO many stories on social media about those with disabilities working in coffee shops, restaurants, etc.  Dominic loves repetition and organization. Throughout my volunteering with the disability community, I have met the most remarkable woman who I have the utmost respect for. She took over as the President and CEO of the Greater Lansing Convention and Visitors Bureau right around the time the Quarantine started. I have watched her handle this crisis like a pro. It makes me even respect her more (if that's possible). When I sent her a draft of this blog post her words to me were, "with Dominic's winning smile, he's perfect for the hospitality industry!" Thank you Julie for having such a positive influence on Dominic!

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