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  • Jessica Elsing

Marissa's 1st Session

Hey everyone! I was hoping to have this blog done sooner but we are dealing with a PANS flare up. So, things have been a little crazy over here! 


Anyway, I wanted to share a little about our very first S2C session. Not necessarily what it looked like - but how I felt. Our first session was in Florida on a Monday, just a few days before Christmas. My husband Chris and I decided we would stay for Christmas and give the kids a little vacation. We had no idea that we would be spending one week a month in Florida for the next 6 months!  


I remember having a hard time sleeping the night before. I had a million thoughts running through my mind. Some were pure excitement and planning on how I thought it would all go. And then there was a part of me that wondered how we could have had it all wrong. Was she mad at us? Was she sad? What would the future look like if she could do this?


The next morning came and off we went. The energy in the car was positive and upbeat. We were definitely all excited and hopeful. When we made our way into Spellers Center Tampa, we saw quotes from nonspeakers all over the walls. It was quiet and peaceful, and it just felt like we were in the right place.

Spellers Center Tampa Office

After a few minutes Dana Johnson came out to get us. We made our way back to a room and I had knots in my stomach. Was this really happening? This was the moment of truth. The fear and excitement I was feeling was in overdrive. We didn't talk much before the session. Dana got started with Marissa almost right away. I can't tell you what she spelled. It's all blurred together at this point. I'm sure I have the transcripts in an email. But what I can tell you is - Marissa was doing it. She was answering questions and sitting in the chair and DOING IT! My mind was blown, and I couldn't help but cry. It worked she wasn't an exception to the rule. 


After that first session we had an hour break. We went to grab some food and we told Marissa we were so sorry for ever doubting her and that we were very proud of her. When we went back for the next session, I got on the boards with her. And then a whole new range of emotions started. Would I actually be able to do this with her? What if I grab the wrong board or forget how to spell the word? 

Marissa & Jessica 1st S2C Session

I made it through my first session of working with Marissa with a lot of coaching from Dana. She gave me tips and tricks on how to coach Marissa's eyes moving forward. And how it was important for me to be working daily with Marissa while at home - even if it was only for 5 minutes. And in the beginning, it was definitely not all rainbows (still isn't).  For the first few sessions, Marissa had flaps over half the boards to help her and she was incredibly fast with her poking. 


So, I'll leave you with this...feel all the feelings. It's ok. There are times I cry just thinking about our beginnings and how much has changed. And give yourself grace. Every Speller I have met is full of love, forgiveness, and compassion. They just want to help the next person stuck in silence. 

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Dec 10, 2023

Thank You for sharing your thoughts and experience as you venture into the world of amazing, intelligent and graceful people, the world of the Spellers. You are now part of history, a pioneer and on the correct side of history.

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