Thursday, May 5, 2016

Therapy Services by Michelle Green

As I reflect on my history with therapy services, I realize that I am a seasoned veteran of approximately 9 years.  It seems like yesterday when I first realized that my middle daughter’s speech and language development was not appropriate for her age.  I remember the frantic call I made to her pediatrician to schedule an appointment to discuss this issue.  When she informed me that she suspected her problem was due to recurring ear infections, I felt that I had skipped a chapter in the book about raising babies.  I had no idea that the frequent infections could have potentially caused hearing loss.  Her referral to an ear, nose and throat doctor (ENT) and First Steps helped me resolve the problem.  She received ear tubes, and I made a call to have her evaluated.

While she was receiving speech and developmental therapy, I had my youngest daughter 4 months prematurely.  In the NICU, she received an evaluation from First Steps.  During her first three years, she received occupational, speech, and developmental therapists and a vision specialist and nutritionist from First Steps.  Their program helped her beat the odds and astonished her doctors.  They also helped me make a smooth transition from home-based services to outpatient and school-based services.  I am not sure how I would have done this without their assistance.

My eldest daughter has an anxiety disorder, static encephalopathy and ADD and was in need of behavioral therapy.  When she started receiving services, I realized this type of therapy was in a totally different arena and required a different type of effort from me.  Her psychologist referred me to a great behavioral therapist, but within one year, she moved out of the state.  This lead me on a journey to find another therapist, and I have found that with patience and determination, the battle can be won.  She is now successfully receiving services.

My advice to parents securing therapy services is to try to find a therapist who is a good match for your child.  Sometimes listening to other parents’ comments, can help you avoid a mismatch.  I would also suggest avoiding a therapy overload.  I remember getting so burnt out because my children had so many therapies and medical specialists’ appointments.  If I could redo it, I would remember to schedule a day off to reenergize myself.

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