Anyone else out there? DS is 2 and recently tentatively diagnosed with apraxia and DCD. We have him in private therapy and that is going great...but now he just turned 2 and qualified for FREE! :) therapy through the school district...and I can already tell that I am going to have issues with some of the practices...Thankfully it is play-based and I think most of it will be okay...But I can tell that there is going to be some conditionality...Also, we are a Waldorf/nature-y family and DD (4 years) is home because no school nearby meets my expectations and now my 2 year-old essentially will be attending a special needs preschool group once a week...Oh the irony....Just feeling conflicted and wondering what others have experienced? Thanks!!
Wow, I feel for you. We are going to send our son to Waldorf (he's only 22 months now but will start their forest playgroup this summer), and we are also following UP, and I would not want to compromise on that, especially if DS were special needs. He isn't though so I'm afraid I have no advice from experience. However, I see this thread was started a week ago with no response. You might try posting it in the Special Needs Parenting forum, you'll probably get more replies there.
Best of luck to you, and you're doing the right thing by sticking to your values in parenting despite what "experts" in your child's disability might recommend. Ultimately only you know what's best for your child, not them!
Mama since 2010
Multicultural living in Europe
I think it's possible to overthink UP. Parenting is about meeting the needs of your child. Not every reward is means that your child is receiving the message that you love them conditionally.
In addition, there's a difference between rewards to learn a specific skill and conditional love. Case in point: Our ds has some very mild special needs (motor planning, sensory) was completely unmotivated to learn to use the toilet. I swear he would have stayed in diapers until he was 7. But the summer after he turned 3, I needed to have him trained for a variety of reasons. Guess what I did? I bribed him majorly. I did the same thing to teach him to wipe himself when he was 5 1/2. I do not feel at all like those instances of bribery exhibited conditional love. The child needed to learn a skill, was unmotivated/afraid to try. He needed a little extra motivation to try. Once he mastered the skill, the rewards weren't needed.
Therapy for a child is intended to teach them a skill they do not have. When a child is struggling to learn a skill, a little extra motivation can sometimes make a difference. I don't think it's sacrificing your parenting ideals to acknowledge that a child has different needs and different ways of learning.
We are a UP family, we also homeschool in a Waldorf fashion, and my dd(7) is a aspie. It can be really hard because most doctors/therapists use behaviorist techniques and are bewildered as to why we don't approve of them....
My younger daughter is 7 now and doesn't have any kind of official diagnosis, but about four years ago she was assessed as sensory seeking by an occupational therapist in our local children's hospital. I went with her to some occupational therapy sessions and learned a lot about providing a sensory diet that could help her meet her need to feel where her body is in space.
We quit going when the therapist seemed to be turning the sessions into a battle in which she just had to make dd learn to stay at the table and work on small motor activities until she was told that she could get up.
While I love Alfie Kohn and the ideals of UP, I can't honestly say that I strictly follow the rules about never praising kids or saying "good job." What I really can't stomach, though, is coercion. I know the therapist meant well, but as unschoolers, we simply don't feel that anyone should ever have to wait for permission to stand up and move around.
Now that dd is seven -- and she is very extraverted -- she absolutely loves being involved in some group activities such as Sunday School. Honestly, I wouldn't make her go if she didn't really want to go...but since she loves it so much and would be heartbroken if I didn't take her, I take her and she understands that if she wants to be part of a group activity, she needs to follow the leader's rules. Which, of course, means sitting down and being quiet during story time and waiting her turn to speak during a group discussion, and so on.
The thing about raising kids like mine who really crave A LOT of interaction with the outside world is that I simply wouldn't be able to meet their needs if we only associated with other unschoolers or other attachment parenting-minded folks. But, honestly, neither one started needing this degree of interaction until somewhere around age five or later. By the time they needed to branch out, they were mature enough to at least begin learning to wrap their minds around the idea of evaluating activities to decide whether they enjoyed them enough to make it worth following whatever rules were part of the package.
They wouldn't have been ready to make these sorts of evaluations at age two. But I'll admit that I don't know anything about apraxia or DCD. Do you feel that early intervention is crucial...and, if it is, is it something that can only be provided by a trained expert or is this a situation where you can absorb all you can from the private therapist for as long as you can afford him/her, and then continue with it yourself if you need to quit private therapy?
I know that no two situations are the same, so I stongly recommend just taking in what everyone has to say and then trusting your own gut because you know your child better than anyone else does. Hugs!