Therapy: Filling in the Blanks and the Unknowns
When we waited to get tested, we did so patiently. It was what we had to do. We also knew that choosing the testing to be done by Boston Children's Hospital meant that it would take longer but had faith in a complete testing. Needless to say we had already been tested by the school and (not surprisingly) my daughter's Autism was not even mentioned. Neither was it discovered at an Early Intervention screening. We were just passengers all along, doing whatever and waiting wherever.
That is until we received the diagnosis last January. Then we were not ready to wait anymore. We talked the topic to death and frankly the sea of resources (websites and books) offered overwhelmed more than comforted. We just followed like passengers again, until the 2nd "talk" visit. Then we stopped. This was our daughter and we needed to drive. The school was giving us "enough" therapy to just get by, so we asked for more and more. She was in an integrated class, with a teacher who said she was aware of disabilities. Her behavior suggested anything but as it became clear Autism is a disability tough to deal with as it was not always as visible.
Deciding we wanted to focus, we enrolled her in a special class and, since she is pretty high functioning, made it a tad frustrating for her, but we stuck to our guns. Having a teacher who focused solely on Autistic kids and the "rules" that govern their life worked out as she moved last week completely to a regular Kindergarten class. That amazing step did not happen on its own. For the past year, we took several steps to seek therapy on our own.
As long as they were non-invasive, we "experimented" since we knew that some therapies are still taking their time to be mainstream. We also decided to seek private therapy as well. This has been stressful both financially and effort-wise. Since our days were packed with therapy, it has been difficult to focus much elsewhere, except for my blog which I poured myself in to regain some sanity. We were advised to slacken the pace as our days were long but our gut told us otherwise.
We also realized our every day was a therapy in itself and not just when we were in a session. We bought an iPad and downloaded specific apps to help with eye-contact and other therapies. We noticed artificial food dyes had an impact on her and cut them out of our food that we stock at home. We prepare ourselves much before events and try to minimize or prepare her for trigger points.
When we approached our IEP (Individualized Education Plan), we tried to make sure that some sort of representation or feedback came from all therapies. I firmly believe that had we just followed along we would not have had the success we have had thus far. The road is long but it feels so much better to be in the driving seat.
Niri blogs at www.MommyNiri.com where features news, views, reviews and interviews. Read along to learn more about The World according to Mommy Niri. Follow her on twitter @mommyniri.
Have you or your child gone through therapy? What were the ups and downs? How did you persevere? What helped you get through the tough times and the unknowns?
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