This is a post about how we can make good decisions about therapies for our children. But first, I need to set the scene a bit.
The details of your story and ours may vary, but the emotions from which most all parents make decisions about therapies are very similar. I believe you’ll make better choices about therapies for your child if you grasp where you are emotionally with all this. Once you do, you’ll be able to decide from a position of strength and know what warning signs to look for, a list of which I include later in this post.
Our earliest days in therapy with our J-Man – starting with feeding therapy around nine months old – had one consistent theme.
We figured that at some point it would end. He’d learn what he needed to learn, and we’d move on. Therapy was merely a detour in his childhood development. He’d figure out how to eat and overcome his sensory issues, and we’d get back on the road with life.
Almost everything at that point sounded so foreign to us, as it does to everyone when they first get on this road. If it didn’t seem invasive or completely hokey, we at least considered it. We got him the various array of standard therapies for issues with names I’d never heard of, which was admittedly about everything at that point.
You always start out in near total ignorance. We did plenty of research and learned that a surprising percentage of people – kids and adults alike, including Mary and me – struggle with feeding issues, sensory overload, motor planning challenges, and the like. For a while, it was all very interesting, like some research project. The various things we read said he’d likely either grow out of his sensory and eating issues or retain some level of them, but with therapy and some effort he’d be able to adjust well. Sounded OK to us.
But we sorta skipped over the parts that said that other issues may be going on along with the sensory challenges. He was a loving child who’d been late on a few milestones – OK, so a lot of milestones – but no big deal, we thought. He was just having a lot of sensitivities and difficulty figuring out the world. A lot of us do. In hindsight, it’s easy to see everything we missed – or that we refused to see – back then.