Sorry it’s been so long since I’ve been here. You know, life sort of got in the way. It does that on occasion.
If you’re here, hopefully you’ve come from Dani Jace, and you’ve seen what she’s had to say on this topic.
This week’s question comes from Jeanne McDonald, and it is this: Outside of writing, what is you day job? Give interesting facts about the job, and yes, homemaker is a viable option. What inspired you to take on this job and would you ever consider giving it to one of your characters?
Well, in my real life, I’m a speech-language pathologist for a school district, and before that, I worked in the hospitals. Sometimes, when I get a wild hair, I’ll still work in the medical settings over breaks or holidays. I’m that girl that usually has two to four different side gigs going at any given time. I need to learn to curb that.
Anyhoo, I work primarily with preschoolers who are developmentally delayed and/or have autism spectrum disorders. I also work with school-aged children with intellectual disabilities, and my students range from mostly or totally nonverbal to low verbal and using communication devices, to fully verbal with a language delay. I even have a few kids on my caseload that are gifted, but have an autism spectrum disorder and the related social deficits… I’m the gal who comes equipped with a bag full of toiletries and a month long lesson on why we don’t pick our noses, but I’ve also written social stories about why we keep our clothes on at school. That may have been my finest piece of writing to date!
I also flash. A LOT. In a little bit of background information, I am not an exhibitionist–no way, no how. I believe in as many layers of cloth between my skin and the outside world as reasonably possible. That being said, because I work with preschoolers, I sometimes get pulled on. Sometimes more often than others. I once made it a policy that I could only wear the cute bras in certain rooms, because, no matter how high the collar of my shirt, I could very well find myself showing off the girls. (And yes, I do wear a tank top or cami underneath, but honestly, it doesn’t always matter. Little hands go… places). My coworkers have even said that it’s not a good start of the year until I’ve flashed someone. Last year, a little friend pulled on my dress, and the entire thing came undone, including the buttons that I had pinned shut in case of such an emergency. To this day, I am unsure how such a massive failure occurred. I was In the parking lot. During drop off. Neat-o!
Don’t worry people, it’s already happened this year. I lost a button in an unfortunate place (but, because of the rooms I work in, we had a sewing kit and extra buttons, so I got to fix that). And, as I write this, I have finished my first day with kids. Go team!
But seriously, all joking aside, I love my day job. I get to teach people how to communicate in the most effective way they can. I have the privilege of helping people, who may not otherwise be able to communicate at all, find their voices. Personally, I find it awe-inspiring. I have cried when a child said their first words. I have cheered even the slowest progress–things you wouldn’t think are important at all are massive to me. I have programmed AAC devices and struggled to figure out what a child is trying to communicate. And I have cried with parents during meetings, both good and bad. I get to work with the most perfect miracle they ever received, and I am humbled every day that they trust me to do it.
That sounded like a total humble brag. Sorry, dudes. I really do like my work. I could do without the paperwork, which is insane, but when I actually get to do what I have been hired to do? That’s priceless.
So… Would I give this job to any of my characters? Well, I write historicals, so the closest I can come to is a governess, and yeah, I’m doing that right now!
Why not head over to JJ Devine and see what she has to say on this.