Bubs’ therapist asked me to write a post for parents embarking on a physical, occupational, or speech therapy journey with their children. With so many therapy questions lately on the ABCJLM Facebook group, I thought I would share here as well to help you or a friend of yours.
I remember the emotions like it was yesterday. Fear. Feeling alone. Seeming hopeless. I knew deep down that what my son was experiencing was not normal, but no other moms whom I talked to could relate or help.
Explaining the situation to our pediatrician, she suggested an evaluation with some therapists. At the initial testing I remember explaining that I would do absolutely anything to have more than short glimpses of who my was son was. I knew a smart, talented, precious little boy was in there, but he was trapped behind disabilities.
Because of our experience, I am often asked what I wish I would have known when we began our therapy journey.
It’s a Journey
Therapy is typically not a quick fix. It is a rocky road with hills and valleys. Growth, changes to your daily life, and breaking bad habits is hard work. The journey is filled with emotions. More than once I had to turn around to hide the tears as a therapist gave our son tough love. But, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. The journey is worth every bead of sweat and cheek-stained tear.
Become a Student of Your Child
The private and group therapy sessions are very important for your child. But, taking what the child learns into your home on a daily basis is where the greatest change will occur. I sat in on as many of my son’s therapy sessions as possible so that I could incorporate in our home what the therapist did with him. While this isn’t a possibility for all, a therapist will gladly teach you if you ask.
Stay Off the Internet
While it is important to learn about your child’s disabilities, trust your therapist over what you read on the internet. Your therapist is the expert of your child and his situation. Discuss concerns and ideas but remember that not all info on the internet is best for your child.
If you feel there is an issue, don’t wait to seek help thinking that the problem will disappear. While seeking early intervention can awaken emotions from friends, family, and people you don’t even know, trust your gut. If your child doesn’t qualify, a quality therapist can provide you with tools to use in your home. And if she does qualify, you are on the right path to getting the help that she needs. Read Why Early Intervention is So Important
Adding multiple therapy sessions to your schedule is exhausting. Do what you must to take care of yourself as running on empty only hurts you and your family (e.g. exercise, daily Quiet Time, guard your marriage).
The Light at the End
Our son spent 11 years in occupational and speech therapy. At the start of therapy, there were doubts that he would be able to be in a regular classroom. Today he is excelling academically and socially beyond our wildest imaginations. Already talking about college, we are excited to see what he becomes. But, we know that none of this would have been possible without the therapists in his life who pushed him, believed in him, and gave him the tools needed to be successful. The journey was worth it.
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