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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Regional Center First Responders

Laura Shumaker writes at The San Francisco Chronicle about those who work for California's regional centers:

I will never forget the first time a case worker from the Regional Center of the East Bay came to visit.

Her name was Iris.

Matthew was 3 years old, and while he hadn’t yet been diagnosed with autism, his I.Q. scores were low, so he qualified for a range of services, including as remedial preschool(now called early intervention) and speech therapy.

I told the case worker that I didn’t believe that Matthew would need services for long. I was determined to fix him.

“That’s great,” said Iris, “but let me tell you how we can help.”

Iris spent the next few hours asking me questions, translating my optimistic answers, and offering me the kind of support that I didn’t know I needed. As she got up to leave, I said “What ever they pay you, it’s not enough.”

“I don’t do this for the money,” she said with a smile, “I do it for the kids.”