Therapy

Jane Scott by Jane Scott Additional Needs

Jane Scott

Jane Scott

Mum of 3. Reluctant special needs specialist. Champion procrastinator. Need an opinion? Happy to oblige.

I am the very image of a late adopter.

I very rarely type straight onto the laptop, preferring instead to scrawl everything down long hand.

In a book! With a pen!

How very, "last season."

I have a note book in which I write first drafts of blogs, and any ideas or startling insights that occur to me during the day.

I wrote this in it. It is pink,faux leather, with three little birds on it. When I have my midlife crisis - there’s one due any moment - this will be my tattoo.

I love this book, and the birdies - the more I write in it, the more I love it.

The book had a different initial purpose.

When Pearl’s difficulties first became evident I leant on my profession as a coping mechanism. I was a Registered Speech and Language Therapist.

I would observe from a detached distance Pearl’s progress, documenting everything. It would be a fascinating insight into how to fix all her problems.

It would probably be published and I would be held up as a ground breaking exponent of early intervention. Perhaps  I’d get a Masters out of it.

Possibly even a Doctorate?

The first four pages, before the blog kicks in contain Speech Therapy plans, assessments, aims and observation. Underneath each session is a short note.

“Responds well to mirror” says one” Responds well to drawstring bag” another, and yet another “lip closure noted at rest mid-session”

I look back on this with a mixture of fascination and revulsion.

Where was my head? Did I really believe I could fix her?

Pearl in fact had other ideas. She was definitely under the impression I was The Mummy, not The Therapist ,and under her able instruction this short lived experiment

(4 pages of A5) was discontinued.

When Pearl was 4 I had another go, a therapist who was promoting a particular type of therapy came to England and I shelled out a great wodge of cash to attend the course to learn the basics and to have Pearl assessed.

The therapy was extremely intensive articulatory drill which, anecdotally worked phenomenally well.

With evangelical zeal I wrote programmes for school and drilled Pearl within an inch of her life.

She remained resolutely unimpressed. Looking back, she had a lot of other developmental issues that needed dealing with before this could begin to be effective.

Supportive seating was one, her concentration during sessions was entirely taken up with keeping her head and trunk still and upright.

Attention was another, she had very little in the way of an attention span. She couldn’t play easily as her physical difficulties got in the way.

In fact, what she needed was time, fun, Mummy cuddles and play.

Play is an important precursor to language development and I’m firmly of the belief that Play is children’s Work - so much happens during it.

I offer this experience to you for a variety of reasons, particularly if you are a newbie to the art of Special Needs Parenting.

You have one job.

Caring for, loving and parenting your child.

You do not have to fix them.

They are who they are. You will need plenty of energy to love and care for this small person.

It is enough.

It is more than enough.

It is the very thing.

Therapists will come and go with ideas that they feel very passionate about.

Take their advice they have expertise and experience.

BUT!

You decide what you are able to do and commit to at a given moment.

Expect small steps. If it is impinging on your family life, bin it.

Sometimes a Therapy or approach will come along that is intensive and works.

Grab it, make everyone in your circle use it, and be prepared to run with it while it shows progress.

If it begins ruining your mental health your, child’s relationship with you and progress slows, it’s probably time to stop.

Remember; you have not caused your child’s problems, and you do not have to fix them.

Your child’s developmental trajectory, and where it will end up is likely to be very different from your expectations and from their peers.

Change your expectations, find other parents in the same boat and do your best to enjoy the ride.

Fellow traveller, I write this as if it was easy.

Adjusting expectation and coming to terms with a new normal is never going to be simple.

It takes time.

Be kind to yourself, cut your child some slack.

Fine tune your eyes to seeing the progress they make.

Rejoice in the small steps, because they are astonishing achievements.

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