It's funny how life unfolds depending on the hand you're dealt. Carter has influenced my life path tremendously. He has take me on a unique and exceptional journey. Having a son with a disability has opened the door to a whole new world of people and organizations for me. Because of that, I've had some pretty interesting opportunities. To name a few, I've volunteered with the WR Family Network, the Abilities Centre and most recently with the Aphasia Centre. It's not likely I would've gotten involved with any of these organizations had it not been for Carter.
Through Carter, I also discovered my passion for communication. I believe very strongly that communication is a basic human right. Some of us need help getting our message across, but we all have the right to be heard.
Several weeks ago, I sat down at my computer to investigate what it would take to become a speech therapist. I mean, why not? I'm immersed in the world of AAC thanks to Carter, and as a result I've attended several workshops and learned a ton of stuff about AAC and language development. Maybe that's the career path I was meant to take.
But, after quite a bit of research and personal reflection, I decided that as passionate as I am about communication, being a speech therapist isn't really for me. Instead, I found my research turning toward how language is learned. That lead me to several websites for TESL programs (teaching English as a second language). Reading about that got me excited. It's an offshoot of my teaching qualifications and it's related to communication, but it's separate and very different from what I experience with Carter.
I started volunteering with the LINC/ESL continuing education program three weeks ago. Once a week I help out in an adult ESL classroom for two hours in the morning. After lunch I wheel the library cart (full of levelled reading books) to three different classrooms, stopping for 40 minutes in each to read with the adult students and support them in learning English.
Under one roof, I have been exposed to people from across the globe; places like; Vietnam; Guinea; Libya; Saudi Arabia; Afghanistan; Hungary; Poland; Ukraine; Congo; Iran; Honduras; to name just a few. I find it fascinating.
I've been immersed in the world of special needs since Carter was born. As a result I've met some amazing people and had some very unique experiences. I'm grateful for those experiences and credit them somewhat for my arrival back to the classroom with a renewed passion and interest.
Although my classroom time is much different than when I first started teaching, I'm enjoying my new volunteer position. How things unfold from here remains to be seen, but the research I'm doing these days is around what it will take to get my TESL qualifications.
I'll be sure to keep you posted so stay tuned!