And will we ever have an answer to that?
Something that has been troubling me lately, and, it seems, some of my friends as well, is the question of therapy and how much is enough.
I have been asking myself lately whether or not I should be getting some private therapy for Ryley. As in, extra therapy, on top of what he is already getting through school.
I am yet to come up with the answer, and I have been pondering this for nearly 2 months.
I guess the concerns I have is that I will overload him. He already has a full day at school, where therapy is incorporated into the activites he does. I am a little in the dark about everything they are doing, and perhaps this is why I wonder whether I should be doing more. Should we be working on things at home so that there is consistency everywhere?
Are we perhaps already doing that?
One of the things I learnt very early on, was that I was the one who knew Ryley the best. And I was the one who knew when enough was enough. Therapists were good at encouraging me to push Ryley (particularly when he protested very strongly), but more times than not, I would stop the therapy session and say ENOUGH.
I wonder if this made me a difficult parent?
I actually preferred to have a home program written so that I could practice things with Ryley without someone else breathing down both of our necks. I was also able to incorporate therapy into playtime.
This meant that we went at our own pace.
In some ways, the thing that has helped us the most, has been our expectations of Ryley. We haven't stuck our heads in the sand, or set our expectations too high. We have always just accepted Ryley for who his is, not what his abilities may or may not dictate. It is easy to fall into the trap of focussing solely on what Ryley can't do, and put pressure on yourself to 'make it right'. And I can't say, that I am not guilty of doing that on occasion, because if I didn't, then I probably wouldn't have the motivation to continue to encourage his development. But there is a danger of setting yourself up to fail, because, no matter how much you encourage those muscles to move, they are always going to do it when they are ready. Right?
Should I be doing more?
I don't know.
All children go through 'developmental spurts'. Often you will be teaching your child something then all of a sudden it will consolidate and they will learn it. This is normal with any child, regardless of ability. The difference with children with disabilities is, that often the process takes a lot longer, and you can feel very much like you are doing nothing.
Perhaps what we as parents need, is more encouragement.
Considering the costs of private therapy, I wonder if it will be worth it. Will that therapist have the expertise I need? Or will they tell me to do the same things they are doing at school, or that I am already doing? Guess if it's pay as you go, then I can see what happens hey? Not to mention the newly named 'chronic disease' money, which allows you a rebate on up to 5 visits to a speechie or physio (and others), provided they are medicare approved (sounds like hard work to me though!).
For us, the first step will be when I meet with his teacher next week and go through the IEP. It will give me a very good idea of what the focus is on at school, and I can then follow up a bit at home and decide whether we need to be doing more.
We now have a referral to the speech therapy team at the RCH (which is to follow up on a few things that have been requested by his school therapists). I can always ask them about their services.
At the end of the day, I don't want to be looking for a way to fix Ryley and suddenly make things right. But if there is something we could be doing to help eleviate the frustration Ryley is feeling about communication for example, then I should be doing it. Right?
So, maybe the answer is to keep seeking solutions, never ever give up, and to do what is best at the time.
But to keep having fun, and not get too caught up in 'therapising' my beautiful son.
Maybe I figured it out after all?
What do you think?