The tot received play therapy through a local organization from just after she turned two until she aged out of the program at four. At that time, we transitioned to Occupational Therapy at a privately owned clinic.
I was sad to be leaving our in-home therapy (and S!), but I had hope that the change would trigger a leap forward, as we had been stalled a bit. When we had begun, the tot had so much anxiety that trying to work on food desensitization could only happen at home. Outside the home, she would simply shut down. But as the tot got older, she progressed and, I think, was actually held back by being at home. So, the clinic.
The hour-long sessions occurred on a weekly basis, and were broken down roughly as follows:
*about fifteen minutes doing gross motor play and motor planning
*about fifteen minutes doing pretend play
*a transition from the big gross motor play room to the small room, plus getting situated
*about 10 minutes doing oral motor play (whistles, bubbles, etc)
*whatever time was left rushing through the food items we had brought to focus on
This was problematic, and my criticism of it is tangled. On one hand, I understand that the tot has a motor planning delay. Yes, she needed to work on that, but that was a secondary concern for me. Additionally, I understand that the tot scores on the border of Sensory Processing Dysfunction (or whatever they’re calling it this month), so yes, she needed the gross motor play to help her regulate her sensory integration, but the amount of time we spent on it could have been shorter because, with coaching, I could have done it prior to the session.
My priority was food, from day one, but it was not K’s priority. So, each week, we spent too much time doing things that were useful, yet they used up the time I wanted to be spending on eating issues. This was complicated by the fact that K was impossible to communicate with. We routinely ran over time, so there was no time to talk about how to improve the session during the session, and only after a couple of months did she reluctantly give me her email so I could send some questions to her. Even then, I don’t think she checked her email every day because it would take many days before I’d get a reply, and when I did, it never fully addressed my concerns.
So, I bailed. I am not proud of this, but my aversion to confrontation got the better of me. I used the birth of Tater to try to reschedule as a way of getting to meet another therapist, but it didn’t work. My schedule didn’t line up, plus they were booked solid and acted like they preferred to simply put me with K on another day.
I completely felt like I was done. At home, HG was making progress with the tot eating, and it didn’t cost a 20% copay each week. On top of that, it was during this time that we discovered the tot’s tongue tie, and when I asked K to take a look and tell me what she thought of our choice to pursue surgery (eventually), she dismissed it. She said it was definitely tied, but the tot didn’t need surgery because she didn’t have a speech impediment. (Bonus: the ENT had *just* told us that some large percentage of kids with tongue ties do not actually have speech problems. I don’t recall the percentage, but I recall being STUNNED!)
Ugh. So, we went for a few more weeks, and then HG caught wind of some downsizing happening at his company, and I decided to temporarily cancel therapy and sock the money away as a way of battening down the financial hatches at home. I figured, at the time, that I could try to go back in a while and request another therapist, but following the tot’s surgery, we had so much success at home that it hardly seemed worth it.
We’ve had our ups and downs, but it wasn’t until this most recent big down that returning to therapy even crossed my mind. Now it seems pretty critical.