My Big Guy has been receiving therapy for about 6 years now, occupational, physical & speech therapy to be exact. We've seen therapists in clinics, he sees therapists at school & we have also welcomed them into our home. Over the years we've grown to love our therapists, they have taught my son & myself so much, we've reached goals together, conquered milestones & more. My son's teachers & therapists are a big part of our lives, they have all become like family to us.
Big Brother C currently receives therapy at our home, several afternoons a week after school. Sometimes I wonder what's going on in the therapists mind as I sit there & watch him/her work with my son. I try to participate when I can, but other times it's easier for me to just step aside & let the therapists work one-on-one with my son.
So what do his therapists do exactly?
- Speech is a tricky one, your child maybe experiencing stuttering or maybe difficulty producing sounds in syllables. With my son, he's non-verbal, so we get a lot of sounds & letters, like "O", or "Yeah" for a lot of things. So his speech therapist works on a picture schedule, picture cards or flash cards for communication. We've also taught Big Brother C a few signs, he can sign "More" & "Please" on his own. Through play his ST works with him, while modeling correct pronunciation & a LOT of repetition.
- Help improve a child's cognitive, physical, sensory & motor skills. An OT can help a child develop good handwriting skills, teach your child how to feed himself with a fork, knife & spoon (yay no more messy hands!), learn self-help tasks (getting dressed - working buttons & zippers too, brushing teeth, etc) as well as hand-eye coordination & more.
- Help with strength, endurance & gross motor functioning. A PT can help a child with developmental milestones such a crawling or walking as well as work on balance & coordination (I can't even tell you how clumsy my son used to be before PT - just ask the wall!), fall prevention & more.
Raising a special needs child is a whole different ball game, before my son was even born I had no idea what occupational therapy was, or what a speech therapist did. Today, several years later, hundreds (probably thousands) of sessions that I've sat in on, I feel like I could provide therapy myself. Do I still need therapists? Yes! Will my son receive therapy for many more years? Probably! However, as a parent, watching these amazing people come into our lives & make an impact on my son like they have, I would love to do that.
I've sat (or stood) on the other side for many years, sometimes it's great, watching my son's face light up when he sees his therapists or watch him successfully complete a task the first time. Other times its hard, hard to watch him struggle & get frustrated, but he's a fighter, he's a child that has to be pushed to succeed & because of that he's come a long way.
My daughter has one more year of school before she is in full-time, I've thought about over & over what I would do if I returned to school. The one word that appears every time, "Therapist". I would love to attend school & get a degree as a pediatric therapist. How amazing would it be to help other children & families? I'm sure my son will need his therapists for many more years, if not for most of his life & it would be so heart-warming to have a career that I would truly enjoy!