Not so long ago I can remember having extra money…some in savings and some just to spend on eating out, another pair of shoes, or maybe even date night. Those days ended the day that our oldest child received her diagnosis. Suddenly and abruptly not only did our spending habits change but so did our priorities. The more we researched therapies and began compiling a list, the more that we realized that while our priorities had changed the amount of our paychecks had not. Very quickly we were faced with a list of therapies that were all necessary, but it was simply not possible to afford them at least not all at once. We knew that we would be forced to prioritize the list and then quickly figured out that we would only be able to afford a small number of hours which amounted to around 20 hours a week. At that point we began to panic; most of the studies that we had read said that the greatest chance to impact ability was with a minimum of 30-40 hours of intense therapy per week.
So what is a parent to do when confronted with the harsh realities of life verses the needs of your child who needs help to achieve the best possible outcome? Give up? Get a second Job? Take out a second mortgage? Over the years I have seen parents do all of the above to help their children. In our particular situation we decided that the only way that would see the progress that we had read about was to learn to do different types of therapy ourselves, and bring them into our house as a part of everyday life and activity. We were a little shy about telling our therapist we were working with because we thought they might feel threatened and be closed to the idea of us learning to do some therapy. I was relieved when I learned she was very excited to teach us. Over the years I have learned that providers get that you cannot afford to pay them to be with you 24 hrs a day 7days a week and that your child may have needs during those hours. Many providers take this approach from the start, for instance Excel Therapy in Rockwall (See Ad on pg 62) makes a habit out of giving parents with sensory issues a sensory diet to take home. Almost all providers welcome and encourage parent involvement and will be very happy to give you what I call Therapy homework. In fact I met a provider recently who requires parents to be involved in the therapy. Therapeutic Life Skills owner Diana Britt believes that parent involvement is essential to maximum benefit of the individual and family unit.
The truth is that as a parent or caregiver we are our child’s lead therapist. In many ways this was scary to me, but over time I grew confident in this role. Today I have logged more than 3000 hrs in the therapy room at home with my daughter and I can tell you first hand that together we have made really big strides forward.
Who Should Consider Bringing Therapy In Home?
• Families that do not have access to unlimited income
• Families that would like to become more involved in their child’s journey
• Parents and Caregivers who are open to learning new things
What Kind Of Therapies Can I Realistically do at home?
• OT, PT, RT, ST
• Interactive Metronome
• Play Therapy
Therapy Ideas For Your Home:
• Bean Bag Chairs: For kids who crave deep pressure or want to be squeezed take two bean bag chairs and put them in middle and make a sensory kid sandwich
• Nintendo Wii: Used in the right way the Wii can be quite useful as a therapy device. Wii Music has several modes that if used properly perfectly mimic an Interactive Metronome says Diana Britt of Therapeutic Life Skills. The Wii Fit board also offers help with balance and even has a yoga mode that is great for all kids. Integrative Pediatric Therapy offers an Interactive Metronome (IM) Home Unit is an ideal to carry over the benefits of the program from the clinic into the home.
• Trampoline: This is a great tool that many people have access to but few think of it as a therapy device.
• Sensory Room: So you can take this idea as far as you want to, but items can be as simple as a rice table, beads, faux fur rug, paint, koosh ball, glitter sticks, and some play dough.
• Sensory Gym: This one may be a little more difficult and expensive to pull off, but if your kid has an overwhelming need for sensory input then it may well be worth a look. A crash pit, trampoline, & therapy swing can go a long way in satisfying these needs. Don’t have the room? Lucky for you there is a resource called, It’s a Sensory World where you can go to get access to professional equipment for a very inexpensive price. This resource was created by a mom with parent led therapy in mind.