If nobody touches ANYTHING, we may have the perfect therapy set-up right now. Seriously, if no one changes jobs, insurances, or moves across the country, Nathan’s therapy set-up is golden. I know it will not remain this way forever, but I’ve learned a few things about finding the right team as we’ve wandered this narrow and rocky path. I’ve come to understand what works for Nathan, and the rest of us, in terms of his therapy regimen.
Here are the two biggest things I’ve learned:
If you encounter a therapist who doesn’t believe in your child, politely turn the other direction and run the other way. No therapy (at least for a time) is better than bad therapy. In the beginning I didn’t trust my instincts and I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings if they weren’t the right fit. I’m learning how to graciously stop services with a therapist who isn’t working well with me or my kid. I don’t want to shortcut my child on chances to develop in areas simply because a therapist doesn’t believe he can, or doesn’t have the skill to work with him. Nor, do I have the time to wait it out. It is frustrating when he doesn’t demonstrate the ability to have a skill. Believe me, I know. But I need therapists who see his hidden potential and have the ability, and desire, to pull it out of him. I need therapists who believe in him even more than I do. I’m so happy to say I think we’ve found those special people for Nathan for all three main therapies–physical therapy, speech therapy, and occupational therapy.
Sometimes less therapy is more therapy. Less therapy can sometimes have more benefits. More for Nathan. More for our family. Being a crazy mom driving every which way across town to get to therapy is not always helpful to Nathan’s progress, or to the rest of us who have to be in the car so frequently. I’m so pleased that right now we are only driving to OT at a nearby therapy gym. The rest of Nathan’s therapy services are based at our home, in his known environment. Also, I now know that breaks for vacation are good and productive. So also are trips to the library, park, mall, or children’s museum considered therapeutic, at least in my mom assessment.
So that’s what I’ve learned.
This is what is happening:
Physical Therapy–Though he still isn’t walking independently, PT remains Nathan’s strength. This kid likes to move places by crawling, rather quickly. He loves to pull to standing to see the world from an upright perspective and he has started cruising along the couch if the toy he’s after is motivating enough. He’s a fan of bouncing on his peanut ball and on the trampoline. It’s been especially fun to see him graduate from a gait trainer to a walker. Even though we just ordered him a wheelchair for school next fall, I’m so hopeful that this boy will be able to walk on his own one day. His PT comes twice a week. He does fuss at her because she pushes him pretty hard, but on a good day, he’ll meet her challenges.
Speech Therapy–Exciting things are happening with the new year. Our beloved speech language pathologist left the Children’s hospital and started doing home health. Instead of me driving all the way down to the hospital, she is now coming to our house three times per week. She’s doing not just feeding therapy anymore, but communication as well. Nathan’s feeding capabilities have plateaued due to the complications of not feeling well. We’ve got a lot of work to do there. And it’s taken the communication piece of ST a long time to come together for various reasons. I’m eager to get started because Nathan is doing some functional signs and primitive sounds to request things. Once we add-on more argumentative communication devices, I believe she can motivate him to communicate more. It’s also worth mentioning that Nathan is IN love with his speech therapist.
Occupational Therapy–This one is just plain fun. We go to a therapy gym once a week for occupational therapy. Nathan works on finger isolation, holding a writing utensil, brushing his teeth, crossing mid-line, and grasping and releasing techniques. In addition to fine motor work, he is able to play (and relax) in a ball pit and experiences all different types of swings and slides. I also love going to a gym for OT for Nathan because his big brother comes along. It’s a place for brother to play with other kids and he’s getting really good at introducing Nathan to other people in public.
Right now Nathan’s pain may be the complicating variable related to his success with therapy. We’re working on the medical stuff. In the meantime, we have an amazing therapy team put together.
So I’m not kidding, nobody touch ANYTHING! I will probably never be a therapist, but I’m gaining confidence that I can find a good one. That’s my role and I’m trusting the rest will work itself out.
In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.” – Proverbs 16:9
For more information on finding good therapy services, this is also some useful info I’ve learned along the way.
My book, Beauty in Broken Dreams: A Hopeful Handbook for the Early Years as a Special Needs Parent, is now available on Amazon!
Also be sure to check out my list of Favorite Books on Disability!