Not all Therapists are Created Equal
I have always operated from the position of being thrilled for my child to have therapy services and a therapist. My daughter needs physical, speech and occupational therapies. After being denied for years through insurance companies, fighting the system, paying “through the nose” privately to finally get insurance to help, finding a spot with a therapist (and an open schedule/time slot), I have always been thrilled that my daughter was getting the help she needed… or so I thought. I recently had a situation that brought me to a different conclusion. While receiving occupational therapy (services outside of school, because schools will only cover academic relevant therapies, which is entirely another article. ) for fine motor skills, my daughter, who is 11, was working on strengthening her hands, cutting more accurately with scissors, using a knife and fork, manipulating door latches for public bathroom use, and buttoning and zippering skills for dressing. Prior to beginning my daughter’s session, her therapist advised me that she was going to have to discontinue services after this visit!
What?… My head was spinning… What?.. I kept thinking: “how can that be?” She has not mastered any of these skills yet. How can you discontinue services that she so desperately needs? She then advised me that my child had plateaued and that my daughter would not be able to strengthen her low muscle tone. This therapist did say if I could think of other life skills she needed, she would be happy to discuss continuing services. I scrambled…. what life skills? Where is the list to go by so that I can see what my daughter has and has not yet mastered in order to see where she needs help.? At the same time, I was thinking “aren’t you the therapist?” “Aren’t you supposed to help and advise me on what my child needs to work on in order to help her be more successful in life?” I called and asked all over for this “list of life skills”, figuring it would be helpful for all. Not one person had it that I could find? My daughter discontinued services, but I was not happy. I didn’t believe my daughter was never going to be able to wear a pair of jeans by herself. I kept asking questions and searching for this life skills list -keep in mind, I live in a relatively small town, not very many therapist or spots are available. The next week when I took my daughter to speech therapy (at the same center) I noticed her O.T. spot had been filled with a baby. What if I had been able to find that life skills list?. I was still operating from a point of trust and belief that this therapist was on my side and that she wanted to help my daughter if she could.
While visiting my daughter’s pediatrician, I asked her about a list of life skills. She did not know of one, but, offered me her American Academy of Pedriatics books. I did not find a list of life skills in those either. My Pediatrican did have a list of new therapists in the area that another therapist had provided to her in order to help parents. She recommended that I call another therapy service. When I called my insurance to switch therapies, they informed me that where I was going to receive therapies was not one that they normally recommended. Why? Didn’t they tell me that in advance. What if I had taken what this therapist had said as gospel and not asked any more questions? I am sure I have done this in the past with other therapists. I may not have ever pushed for my daughter to achieve those goals. My questioning, and not accepting NO for an answer, provided me with a much better spot for my daughter. She is receiving therapy services where they do not believe children plateau. My daughter’s muscle tone/strength in her left hand has increased significantly. While she has not yet mastered the above skills, we are much closer. She can zip, snap, and is working on buttoning and unbuttoning her jeans by herself. At Least they continue to work with us and give us HOPE ….
Because of this situation, it made me reflect on all of my child’s past therapists and needless to say, we have had many. I have always believed blindly in my child’s therapist, considering them part of her team and very grateful that I had them. I now know that, I need to be less accepting and ask more questions. I need to Interview her therapists just as I would interview a potential employee. Which brings me to the next part of this article. We all need to interview our children’s therapist!
Read ––> How To Interview a New Therapist
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