The Forest

I sometimes forget how much I actually do.

You see, I get so wrapped up in the “big picture” of my job–creating functional communicators–that I can’t see the minor improvements that we make. Sometimes, it takes looking at where the child was six months ago for me to actually “see” progress.

And sometimes, it shocks me.

Today was one of those days.

I guess it’s a matter of losing the trees for the forest. I look at that forest and I think, “But it’s so different from all the other forests out there.” I didn’t see the beauty of the trees. I didn’t notice how much they’ve grown or how many more of them were.

I only focused on the difference of that forest and how I could make that forest more like all the others.

I don’t think for a minute that the forest is bad. It’s not. The ground it grows in might be a little more rocky, and so it needs more nurturing than the others to grow. Sometimes, it’s hard to see that growth. Sometimes, I get frustrated because things aren’t coming along the way I would like them to, and when I get frustrated, I want to abandon everything I’ve been doing and revamp my approach.

See, I hate taking data–I’d rather just work with the kids and do what I do. Taking data makes me want to tear my hair out and run screaming from the room. It takes away some of the spontaneity of therapy, takes some of the “fun” out of it. But I recognize the importance of having it, because if I hadn’t had some really good baseline data, I never would have seen the difference I’ve made. I would have revamped my therapy without really recognizing how well what I’ve done has worked. There were no amazing breakthroughs that made me believe I was on the right path.

When you work with kids with significant language impairments, it’s not always clear what the right approach is. There are no signs in the forest that say, “Our roots are growing deep. Keep doing what you’re doing!”

That’s what data’s for.

Damn, I hate data.

But damn, where would I be without it?

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