By Amy Tanner, a member of the SkillCorps Czech Republic August 2017 team

Each day is made up of a series of moments. As a professional working with children, teens and adults with Autism, it is without exaggeration to say that every day is made up of many unique moments. Some days are made up of a series of very challenging moments; when you question everything that you are doing, wondering what you should be doing differently, and if you are making a difference or making it worse. Some days are made up of lighter moments full of tickles, bubbles, balloon animals, goldfish crackers and contagious laughter. And some days contain moments that touch, move and inspire you in a way that reminds you why you do what you do. Today was one of those days.

Julinka is a 5-year old girl with ASD who has been coming to the ABA centre in Prague for 14 months. The amazing staff at ABA Centrum have been working with her a few times per week and Julinka has made so much incredible progress. Over the last few months she has learned to a few signs and gestures to meet her needs. Yesterday, for the first time she used her voice to make a request for a banana, one of her most preferred snacks. Today she added a second word to her vocal repertoire, “blow” to request for the instructor to blow up the balloon.  Her amazing Behavior Technician, Jana asked me to grab my camera to capture the moment and so we can share it with her parents. With tears in Jana’s eyes and the excitement in Jana’s voice as Julinka used her voice; I quickly became aware of all the moments of small steps forward and backward and all the challenging days, awesome days and uneventful days over the last year that led to this moment right now.  

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As I watch this video again and again, I can’t help but tear up knowing not only what this moment meant to everyone involved, but also aware of the many months of dedication and persistence from not only those around her, but from Julinka herself that came before this moment. Moments like these go way beyond “#joblove” but touch, move and inspire you in way that clearly reaffirms why we do what we do. 

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