As someone who works with children with special needs on a daily basis, I can only imagine how difficult it is to have a child or children at home with these needs. Doing everything you can for your child and keeping sanity in your house must be extremely difficult, resulting in many frustrations of your own. What I want to discuss are my frustrations from the other side, in an attempt to help you as the parent understand where we are coming from.
1. I enjoy frequent communication with you about your child and enjoy even more trying to help you problem solve an issue your child might be having at home or at school. What frustrates me is when I put forth great effort to help you with suggestions and activities for you to do at home and find out later that you haven’t even tried any of them and are still asking for help.
2. What frustrates me is when a parent expects me to fix their child. You have a wonderful child with both strengths and weaknesses. My role as your child’s therapist is to help your child participate and be successful with completing certain skills that they are having difficulty doing within his/her abilities. It is like the saying; “there is more than one way to get a job done”. In many cases, my job is to find that other way.
3. I know parents are often not experts when it comes to child development and developmental milestones. I can help you there and provide tables. What frustrates me is when you are expecting skills beyond your child’s developmental level. A simple web search can yield what is appropriate or ask me for that information…I am happy to provide you with it.
4. As a parent of one child with another one on the way, I am sure there will be many days when I compare my girls. What frustrates me is when you compare the skills of one child to the next. Even if your children were the same age, had the same abilities and disabilities, and participated in the same programs, there are still countless factors that contribute to your child’s development. It is unfair to compare them.
5. I haven’t had to deal with developmental pediatricians or other medical personnel explaining my child’s diagnosis to me, but what frustrates me is when I have to explain something essential to your child’s prognosis with you when you should have been made aware long before ever meeting me. For example, I have had to explain tone at least 4 times this school year. These were all situations where the children were receiving ongoing medical interventions to address such tone. The parents asked me what we could do to “fix” the tone. I am writing an article on tone itself but in a nut shell here it is. Tone is neurological and can only be permanently “fixed” with surgery or medicines. Various techniques including tendon tapping, casting, icing, vibration, and gentle rocking to mention a few can only temporarily affect tone. More appropriately would be to modify the task that the tone is impacting to increase your child’s success. In two of these four conversations, the parent was brought to tears in learning this information. I think knowledge is power and am happy to provide you with such, but how frustrating that the doctor did not explain this to you. I would cry too.
Just letting off a little steam! I really do love my job!
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