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Autism, Meet the Dream Team

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Dreams. They appear to us from a variety of directions. Whether during our nightly slumber, moments of daydreams or those personal dreams of hope, success and happiness. We dream about the past, present and future. They encompass a great portion of our lives as do the people who help us achieve those dreams. For Jonathan and our family, his therapists at WEAP will forever be thought of as-the Dream Team. 

Jonathan’s WEAP (Wisconsin Early Autism Project) program began early in 2000 and lasted all the way until 2012. We were blessed with amazing therapists over the years, each adding to the foundation of Jonathan’s future while bringing a unique and important piece to the future we were building together. Keeping dreams, hopes and ambitions alive and even creating new ones along the way. 

Our very first team—Eileen, Jodi, Abby, Andrea and Susan, set the bar for expectations, caring and commitment. I couldn’t have hand picked a better group of therapists to start making our dreams a reality. From our very first meeting, I began to feel myself start to relax, not only physically but emotionally as well. I was so focused, driven, some may say, to give Jonathan everything I could to secure his future that I was beginning to run on fumes. It was a huge sense of relief to find myself in the company of this team and to hand over the reins. Help had finally arrived and it was obvious they were ready to begin and knew what to do.   

Eileen was our senior therapist and Jodi was the lead therapist. Together, they put together the programs, set schedules and made all of the visuals and materials the team would need. They both trained the team to implement the programs, but more importantly, how to support Jonathan every step of the way. Andrea, Abby and Susan were quick studies and eager to aid in Jonathan’s progress and success.

That’s not to say that everything went as planned or smoothly. There were plenty of obstacles and roadblocks along the way. But as a committed team we made our way through them and kept moving forward. Jonathan’s successes were their successes and his struggles they took to heart. But like me, they never gave up and always believed in Jonathan.

Probably the hardest part was losing team members. I knew it was part of the process, especially given the length of time we were with WEAP. These therapists were family to us. They gave their time, devotion, support and compassion and were a great source of comfort and reassurance. For me personally, I valued their friendship, company and countless conversations, not just about Jonathan, but life in general, ours and theirs. We shared dreams and made countless memories. Every of them added to Jonathan’s progress, taught us to trust and believe in ourselves and each other. I was reminded of this each time one left and another one arrived to continue the dreams we had for Jonathan.

Many years have passed since the Dream Team graced our lives. While I don’t know where some of my team is today, thanks to social media, I’m able to stay in touch with several. Most have married and are now raising families of their own. I feel a sense of pride and comfort watching their lives unfold and seeing them fulfilling their own dreams. But most of all, I’m thankful and grateful for them all. So what better opportunity than now to say thank you to each one. To my Dream Team: Eileen, Jodi, Abby, Andrea, Susan, Nell, Lane, Paul, Christine, Adam, Lindsay, Arianne, Amy and Wade. Thank you for the years of support, dedication and compassion. For helping us bring dreams to reality-especially those we never expected. For always being there through the good times, challenging times, successes and struggles. For never losing sight of the dreams and giving them flight. 

But most of all, for showing us that dreams can come true, if you dare to dream.

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