Thursday, September 23, 2010

Can I get some therapy too?

When we moved here, I was anxious to get started with our First Steps therapists. That took about a month. So by the time everything was set up, that left only about 5 weeks with each therapist. I have already mentioned that my coordinator is not the greatest. I haven't had much interaction with her since that first meeting, so that is OK. The rest of the therapists have been a mixed bag.

Before we moved, we had an IFSP meeting with all of Emily's therapists. We set goals for her and they all did their final reports. Most of them have worked with Emily since she was a baby, so they know her very well. They were very thorough on their reports and I thought that was great. When the new PT came the first time, she seemed almost afraid to touch Emily. She kept asking me what I wanted her to do. I got the impression that she never read any of the reports or any of the goals. That frustrated me. Now I don't want people to read a piece of paper and think they have Emily all figured out, but at least come prepared! Now that she has worked with Emily a bit, she seems much more comfortable, which is good. She is really nice, but to be honest, our personalities just don't click. That's OK. I don't have to absolutely love everyone. As long as they love Emily and are sweet to her, that is all that matters.

Our old OT had a recommendation for an OT here that was supposed to have some great AT (Assistive Technology) experience. We were so excited to find out that she was assigned to Emily. She is really wonderful. She is very sweet to Emily. Emily smiles away at her and gets very chatty when she is here. She also gives me a lot of great information, so she has worked out really well. The only problem is, she really doesn't have much AT experience. So much for that idea!

Speech therapy has been a bit interesting. We met the therapist a couple of weeks ago. She was very nice. When she came, Emily and I were out in the backyard playing with her bubble machine (she actually showed up about 30 minutes early). She came out there and we talked and she played with Emily some. At one point in the conversation, she asked me if I thought we should get another therapist. She typically works with kids who are using sign language or have speech impediments. She didn't have much experience with AT either.

Since AT is going to be vital to Emily's communication, I could not figure out why our coordinator would assign a speech therapist with no experience (especially when I told her several times that I really wanted to focus on communication for Emily). At the same time, we have such a short time in First Steps, so I figured I would stick with whoever was assigned. I told her that I wasn't sure it was worth the trouble of changing with so little time left. She said that she would continue to come until we could get set up with someone else. We never saw her again. I think she just didn't know what to do with Emily.

In the meantime, we have had an AT specialist come out to do an evaluation. She was great. She had a LOT of great ideas. Almost too many ideas. By the end of the appointment, I could not wait for her to leave because I felt like my head was going to explode. I think she was just trying to squeeze so much into that one appointment, since we both thought that was only one we would get. The thing that was great about that appointment was that Emily showed me something that I never knew she could do. We were playing with a basic computer game. Hit a switch and it draws another piece of a picture. We decided to set Emily up with 2 switches and the computer tells her which one to hit (with a color to match the switch). When she started to set this up I thought "Emily cannot do this", but I never said anything. Well, Emily proved me wrong! She was playing with both switches. It was awesome! I hope she continues to prove me wrong when I set limits on her!

Today I met our new speech therapist. She is very nice and did a great job with Emily. She has a bit more experience with AT, although not a lot. She is going to work together with the AT specialist to give Emily what she needs. They will both split the speech appointments that we have left. I think it will work out well.

The funny thing about the change in speech therapists is that everyone thought it was my idea. My coordinator asked "don't you like her?" about the first therapist. I told her that the therapist suggested the change, not me. And today I found out that the new speech therapist wondered if I was hard to work with. All I can do is laugh!

Emily has done really well with all of these new people. Today she was smiling away and chatting up a storm as the OT and speech therapist worked together. It was pretty funny. The hardest thing about all of this for me is that each person comes in and expects me to teach them about Emily. When Mike was home with her, I had about 2 hours a day with her. I didn't go to all of her therapy appointments so I don't know what works for Emily and what doesn't. The First Steps therapists came to our house and I tried to get to those appointments if I could, but listening is far different than doing. So I feel like I am just learning and everyone expects me to teach them. It can be a little stressful, which is why I might need some of my own therapy - although a much different kind than what Emily receives.


Stephanie's Mommy Brain said...

Sounds like you need some girls night therapy!! :) Hang in there! You'll get all the kinks ironed out before long.

Anonymous said...

Yes, we definitely need girl time, don’t we? In spite of all the changes, so glad to hear that Little Em is adjusting well to all her "new friends". Hang in there. Just think how great it will be when it all gets worked out and situated!


ajourneyinmommying said...

Ahhhhh!!!! This brings back so many frustrating memories of dealing with all the people about therapies! In Memphis it seemed so organized. EVERY time the OT, PT or speech therapist left our house they left a duplicate copy of their notes during the session that showed the goals they worked on during the session, comments about new things Ethan did and notes about his progress or participation, and clear notes about things we could work on until the next session. It was SO great! (and CLEAR!) It took just about 5 minutes and we always ran through it really quickly at the end of each session. HERE, we had to go to a center and they wrote nothing down so I felt like we didn't have that carry over that we had in Memphis. They DID schedule 10 minutes @ the end of each session to chat about the session and things to work on...All the changes were hard and we wished we had all the people who knew Ethan so well.

It's funny that years later I just this morning sent in a note in Ethan's backpack to his teacher about scheduling his next IEP meeting to try to get the right amount of time in the classroom so he's not taken out too much...or not enough...and trying to get that right for him. I have some concerns that they are emphasizing some things that he's now overapplying. I'll pray for wisdom for you today and you do the same for me!! :)

Katy said...

My kid is always surprising me! I think that's one of the cool things about these special needs kids.

Sounds like had a great pow wow with the AT person--that's wonderful.

Jenkins said...

AT is so wonderful...we love switches in our house!
Praying for good therapy!

Kristina said...

Sounds like th transition is mostly going well. I always find transitions hared on both me and Emma - she spends the first ew sessions trying to "work" her cuteness into getting out of doing much therapy and it usually takes the therapists a couple of sessions to catch on!

I find that the AT resources out there are not what I expected. We just decided to purchase EMma the iPad with prolouo2go on our own and it's working out ok. We are also using it now in her classroom while I'm there and the school has one on order for Emma. The school AT person has a lot of experience with AT (both personal for her son and professional in the schools) so I'm really helping she can move us along in this aspect of Emma's communication. Of all the things going on with our kiddos I think that if we had some clear method of communication it would make it so less frustrating for them!

Good luck with the remainder of the EI program and the transition to school. I'm sure all the teachers will fall in love with Emily and spoil her in the classroom since she is such a cutie pie!