Monday, March 24, 2008


I left Ben's house that last day two and a half years ago.

During my time with Ben, I worked with some other children, as well. Perhaps you will hear about some of them. After my time with Ben was up, I continued to work in the field, too.

I know many of you will be sad to hear that unfortunately, I did not keep in touch with Ben. Although I wanted to very badly, it just didn't pan out. I do still think about him all the time. If he remained in his last residence, he lives not far from me. I've often thought about just popping in for a visit but so much time has gone by; I'd just feel funny at this point.

I have met some very special children throughout the course of my work, but Ben was one of the really special ones. I will never forget him.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Last Session

(sorry this has dragged on forever, but I'm finally finding the time to post the end of Ben's story so that I can move on to others. Thank you all for your patience!)

Gift in tow, I arrived to the house. I didn't let it hit me that this was my last session with Ben because OF COURSE I'd keep in touch, and all that....

Ben ran away from me when he saw me, giggling. I chased after him but unfortunately my feet couldn't run as fast as his cute little ones. I walked into his room.

"Hmm....where is Ben? I can't find him!" I said, quite loudly so that Ben would hear. I heard heavy breathing coming from under the table.

"Beeeen, where are you? I am getting sad! I want to play with my Benny!"

I heard giggling. He was so darn cute. How much easier it would be if I could just take him home with me!

I bent down and stuck my head under the table. Louder giggling. "I found you, you silly boy!"

"Silly!" mimicked Ben.

"Come out, silly boy."

More giggling, accompanied by a "no!"

"Okay....I guess Ben doesn't want to play with my puzzles today..."

Well that got him. He crawled out and tried to climb on my lap, as I had situated myself on the chair. " DO want to play with my puzzles!"

I squeezed him tight. I think Ben remained on my lap for a lot of the session. We moved to the floor a couple times too. I spent our last session mostly playing with Ben and getting as much language from him as I could.

The last ten minutes of our session, I sat across from Ben as he did a puzzle from his seat. Rather than placing the puzzle on the table, he had placed it on my lap. So there I was, trying to balance it while writing up my last progress summary notes for Ben Donaldson.

I was deep in thought. Thinking of how I'd miss him. Thankful for how much he has enriched my life. Greatful that he has so much potential for a wonderful life ahead of him. Sad to let him go. Oh, and of course, writing my notes on his overall progress.

I almost didn't notice the tugging on my skirt. When I did, I pretended to ignore him, as I wanted to illicit speech. "Biddy, Biddy," he said, with his cute little voice.

I'll take that, I thought, smiling at him. "What, Ben?"

"Where da truck?" he asked.

I was stunned. I looked down at his puzzle. It was a transportation puzzle with a helicopter, car, train, airplane, boat.... and surely the truck was missing. Embarrassingly enough, I tried not to cry. It was right then, at that moment, when I realized Ben didn't need me anymore. I had done my thing, and now it was time to move on.

Ben had discriminated. Illicited eye contact. Desired recognition. Spoke a sentence.

I looked in my bag, but couldn't find the piece. "It's lost, Ben. But you're right! The truck is missing!" I gave him a hug.

He shrugged his shoulders, and looked at me. I smiled at him.

I finished writing my notes and we walked into the living room. I picked Ben up and hugged him tightly. "I'm not gonna say goodbye," I said to his new mom, and to him too. "It isn't goodbye. We are going to keep in touch."

Now, I have said that to many families, but I really meant it with Ben. I just couldn't imagine never seeing him again, so it had to happen.

I started walking out the door. As it closed behind me, I looked through the living room window. Ben was waving.

I waved back. Then I got into my car, and slowly drove away.

In my mind I thought, "Goodbye, Ben."