Posts Tagged by Occupational Therapy
|November 30, 2012||Posted by Laura under Diagnosis, E, Special Education, Treatment|
E is losing her occupational therapist at the end of December. She is a victim of school district budget cuts. It is cheaper for the school district to hire independent contractors (read no medical insurance) than to keep their own OTs on staff. E will of course continue to get services but it will be with a different provider.
I’m sad we are losing her as part of our team but resigned to what is happening at the same time. It wasn’t always this way.
There was a time when I knew E had CAS but couldn’t get anyone to diagnose her. I finally found an SLP who diagnosed her and we began therapy with her immediately. I put all of my faith in her. I knew we were in for a marathon and she was going to be the coach – our Mr. Miyagi if you will. Then four months into therapy she decided to stop seeing E because we didn’t fit into her schedule. E continued to see another SLP in the practice but she was not as experienced dealing with CAS. E didn’t really care but I was devastated. Mr. Miyagi had abandoned us.
In reality, it was I and not E who needed a Mr. Miyagi. E was completely dependent on me and I needed someone to tell me what to do. I would do anything I was told, I just needed someone to tell me what I should do.
In the three years since that happened, I have come to the realization that there will be no Mr. Miyagi for me. Instead, I have to be my own Mr. Miyagi. I do the research. I make the treatment plan. I find people to put on our team to help make this happen. The buck stops with me and it’s scary as hell.
Losing that first SLP was the worst. We’ve gone through several more – well, eight to be exact. We’ve found another specialist, one who knows her stuff, one who wants to be on our team. She treats me like an equal. She’s the expert in treating CAS and I’m the expert in E. The two are not synonymous so we have to work together to come up with the treatment plan that works best for her.
I’m really going to miss our OT. She has worked with E for two and half years, longer than anyone else has worked with her in the school district. She’s knows her stuff and she genuinely cares. She’s going to be a real loss to our team. E has come a long way in her sensory processing and fine motor delays journey because of her. I’ll be forever grateful but we must pick up and move on.
We’ll have to wait and see what January has in store for us
|October 18, 2012||Posted by Laura under E, Learning to Read, Special Education|
Over the summer, E had a two-week break in speech therapy when we traveled to Boston for the CASANA Conference. When we started up again, one of her speech therapists was still on vacation so it was an entire month before we got back onto our regular schedule. I thought the break would help E, that she would be refreshed. Instead, it was like she’d had a taste of freedom. She didn’t want to do speech therapy.
She’s verbal now and she was able to tell us that she didn’t want to go and that she wished she was like S and didn’t have to do speech all the time.
What I really wanted to tell her was, “I know honey. I don’t want you to have to go to speech anymore either.”
Instead I told her I was sorry and that she still had to go to speech. I understood that she was frustrated and tired but she’s made so much progress and will continue to make more progress. One day she won’t have to go to speech anymore.
When will that day be? Five years, ten years? To me it seems like a lifetime. To her it seems like eternity.
Her speech therapists were wonderful and switched things up a bit. They tried to give her more choices in therapy, tried to make things more fun. We pushed through the hump and are now on the other side for her. At least at the moment, she’s no longer complaining about speech therapy.
I, on the other hand, am starting to feel the effects of burnout. E attends preschool five days a week, a distance from our house, but the right school to meet her needs. She has speech therapy four times a week, twice in our home, once at preschool, and once nearly an hour away in one direction. She has OT twice a week and plays on a soccer time that practices twice a week. We’ve also recently added in a once a week session with a children’s counselor to work on her anxiety. I have two other kids and I work part-time. Most of E’s therapy is on the days I don’t work so my days off are spent driving, driving, and driving, or sitting in my car waiting, waiting, and waiting.
I’ve been doing this, we’ve been doing this, for nearly four years. I’m tired. I’m exhausted. I’m burned out.
I know that next year will be easier in some ways. Once she starts kindergarten, most, but not all, of her therapy will be during the school day. I will have less driving and waiting to do.
But I also know that next year begins learning to read – a potential problem that I am acutely aware of because of my job and my educational background. What we give up in speech therapy next year may be replaced with tutoring or educational therapy. The public school system is not set up to proactively address potential learning difficulties. Instead it addresses kids who are already failing.
One of the things I have learned from our experience is to be proactive with E. We are proactive with addressing her anxiety difficulties now rather than waiting for them to worsen. I am working with her at home on pre-reading skills in addition to her regular preschool curriculum. I notice the other day that she doesn’t know that Flag Salute. I downloaded it from iTunes so that we can listen to it over and over again in the car. She will need to be able to make a reasonable attempt at it next year in Kindergarten.
Being proactive is exhausting. I’m burned out but I don’t have a choice. I’ve got to push through the hump and hope I’ve still got enough energy when we get to the other side.