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What do you do about therapy?

501 Views 4 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Mama Bee
I am most curious to hear from other families with Down Syndrome but would also love to hear from families with other types of special needs.

When DS first came home from the hospital and we learned about early intervention our outlook was "most is best".... the more therapy he receives, the earlier he receives it, the better off he'll be. I didn't see any down sides to all therapy, all the time. However, now that he's older and we're facing transition, I'm beginning to rethink this theory. I plan to homeschool- heavy on the unschool with a little bit of Waldorf- and don't really know how to fit my ideas about general education (unschooling) with DS's special needs (intervention through therapy).

Right now he has therapy 6 times a week an hour each: OT 1, ST 2, DT 2, PT 1 (we recently dropped from PT 2- it was just too much). I'm pretty sure I want to keep the ST at a pretty high level because I don't know much about speech. The DT is definentally going to go away because we're homeschooling. I don't really see the point of OT (fine motor skills) anymore because it's basically just doing the things we do anyway- playing with puzzles, pointing to stuff, stirring, tying shoes, using utensils to eat, etc. PT I think he needs but less often because that, too is doing stuff that we already do (but I do think a little guidence would help me help him).

So, how much therapy is too much? When do you say, enough is enough? For those of you who homeschool, what do you do about special services? How do you balance the need to nurture the child with the need for therapy?
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Oh wow that is alot of therapy. My Ds is almost three and has a speech delay coupled with a really intense temperament. We have been unable to establish the cause of his speech delay, but we are still trying. Right now he is getting ST every other week, BT every other week, and his ECI coordinator comes out every other week and does some speech and some play therapy with him. We are about to move into the public school system for speech therapy, at which time we will be dropping behavoiral therapy, as that was really more to help me get ideas on helping him. I don't want him in the public schools special ed preschool, and I intend to homeshcool him. I am only willing to accept the speach therapy from public school system, and right now that is the major point of contention between our family, and the school system, well that coupled with the fact that they want to evaluate him for PDD and I don't agree that they are qualified to make that kind of diagnosis. So we are trying to sort that out. I am hoping for him to get ST once a week and that is about all I am up for. I feel like even twice a week is too much for my Ds. He hates therapy so much, and ECI comes to our home to do it, but even that doesn't help. I want to help him, but I also want him to look back at his childhood and see it as free and happy, not as a drudgery of Drs appointments and therapy.

I don't know what I would do in your case, if you feel you are not strong with speech than I would definately keep that up. As far as PT I think you are right that if you have enough to get a little guidance you can probably keep doing it yourself. I have heard really good things about OT, but it never really did anything for ds, so we dropped it, maybe you could look into a different OT and just try it out a little. My cousin has Autism, and his OT has helped him emensly. I would say that you should do what feels best to you. If something doesn't seem to be helping then cut it out and try something else. There are things other than therapy that can really help Special needs kids, such as music lessons, gymnastics, karate, even horse back riding lessons and swim lessons. These can all help build confidence and physical dexterity.

I hope some of this helps you. Good luck to you and your special little guy.
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My son who is almost three years old receives a little over thirty hours per week of intense 1:1 behavioral therapy in addition to speech. I do nurture my child and recognize that our situation is not normal. But my autistic son has a narrow window for making dramatic neurological changes and is progressing so rapidly that we know we are doing the right thing, even though it's five hours per day, seven days per week.
Find a balance that works for your family. When I was an EI therapist, I definitely recommended that parents accept as much therapy as was offered. As a parent of an SN kid, I understand much more fully how intrusive therapy can be. Currently we're at 4 hours a week, 2 each of OT and PT (we just graduated from speech!) and we're doing an adaptive swim class, as well as a few other fun hs things, and then we unschool as well. We're finally able to do therapeutic horseback riding, but it will wait until fall--we have too much on our plates right now.

Therapy fits into our unschooling model--Elliott makes lots of choices about the activities he does during therapy, and he really likes both therapists. The rest of the day is his to plan as he likes, so he's ok with it. It's kind of like making his bed, or turning off the tv, or anything else that temporarily disturbs his world order. He'd rather be in charge, but it's just a temporary intrusion, so he deals.
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This is all so helpful. I think I've got it under control while he's in EI because everyone either comes to our home or we meet at the park or pool, etc. But when he transitions and I'm forced to take him "to school" for therapy, I think it will become much more intrusive. I also really like the idea of classes, etc. It just becomes so expensive considering that EI & then PS therapies are practically free. We did a gymboree class two springs ago but I really hated it and then we took a modified swim class after that and it was fun. I guess what it boils down to is that I'm really terrified of transition.
I hate the idea of him going to PS for therapy. I'm getting ahead of myself, though, I guess since we've still got 8 months in EI. Thanks for your input, Mamas!
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