Sunday, October 9, 2011

Choices We've Had to Make

Any of us in the autism community knows that, in order to achieve really substantial success, our kids need 25-40 hours per week of intensive therapy. Ideally, this comes from therapeutic centers and licensed, school trained providers. Hopefully, they are able to receive services at in a clinic environment, filled with tools and equipment specifically designed for speech, occupational and physical therapies. At one time, this was the situation we were fortunate to be in.

Sadly, as with all good things, over time this perfect situation came to a slow but inevitable end. First, the amount of time allotted for their therapies whittled down. From a couple times a week, to barely once every other week, the services soon became glimpses in time.

Next, the clinic closed. A unilateral decision was made that in-home care would be of the most benefit to our kids. The gym, equipment and tools were considered overkill and unnecessary; according to the private therapy organization that provided these services, the therapists themselves could offer all the tools needed for our children’s successes.

Then, these home visits every other week went from a one-hour session to 20-40 minutes per visit. Our providers would show up, spend about 7-10 minutes doing administrative work on their laptops, then our kiddoes would engage in twenty or so minutes of therapy, and finally, 10 more follow-up minutes would be taken to wrap up the computer’s administrative needs.

It was then that we made the unilateral decision to pull our kids out of these formal services. Twenty minutes every other week was doing them no good, and was becoming more of a pain than benefit. We had to break our day up that one time every other week, with basically no benefit from the meeting. Fortunately, we have, over many years, developed a fairly well-stocked therapy gym and have a pretty good supply of tools. Lori and I have been very consistent with our own therapy schedules for the kids, and they get a pretty good array of help from their school.

It’s been a little over a month since we parted ways with the ‘clinic’. The sun still rises and moon still shines. And --- can you believe it? --- the kids are still developing in in ways we never could have imagined.

While we’ve had some pushback from here and there regarding a lack formal services, we don’t see the problem.


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