As your child ages and you begin to look towards the start of his or her formal education, treatment options can be overwhelming to explore and understand.
Through trial and error it became clear to me as an autism parent that treatments must be based upon your child’s strengths and needs.
What works for someone else’s child may not work for your child.
What one parent highly suggests may be controversial in your mind.
Your pediatrician may make a recommendation for an advanced treatment that has shown remarkable results. It might be beneficial for 10 other children, but not work for yours.
Look at it this way; I hate chocolate. My best friend however, would consider chocolate a NEED in her life!
Chocolate will not motivate me, soothe me, engage me, or calm me. Chocolate does all of these things for my best friend.
No two people are exactly alike.
No two treatments will work exactly the same for two children. Chocolate rules the world for many. Not me…BLAH!
It’s also important when choosing treatment options that your choice be realistic for your child, and just as importantly for YOU!
Will equestrian therapy be beneficial for the child that is scared to death of large animals? The child that screams when you drive by a farm because the pungent air disturbs them, or physically withers at a photo of a horse?
Will music therapy that requires you to drive 90 minutes one way in the middle of the day, three days per week during your normally scheduled work hours be beneficial if you lose your job or are unable to accommodate your other children?
I have no doubt that equestrian therapy and music therapy offer great benefits to many children and even adults.
I have grave doubts though that these therapies would be beneficial for the child and family unit in the above scenarios.
We find ourselves wanting to believe the latest fad on Facebook to help us lose 30 pounds in a week really works. It’s best to do your homework however, regarding not only conventional therapies but also non conventional therapies.
Evidenced based treatments ensures that a therapy is safe.
Evidenced based meaning that there is scientifically based research available regarding the therapy.
It’s important to ensure that your expectations are reasonable and obtainable.
Be wary of any therapist who will guarantee results.
I CAN GUARANTEE you with 100% certainty the outcome for all participants is not the same.
Know Your Child
Know your child’s baseline before you start any therapy.
Without knowing where your child is “beginning” you won’t be able to gauge response or improvement.
This is important for insurance companies and authorizations as well, so be sure and keep this data in your “Sam I Am” book.
Once you decide on a therapy for your child, see it through.
We don’t quit mid season of a summer baseball league unless the physician states we can no longer play.
You also shouldn’t quit mid course of therapy treatment unless your physician states the therapy is causing detrimental harm, or there are other life altering effects known to be harmful.
Lastly, identify your child’s goals before you start.
Any evidences based therapy modality will ensure that a treatment plan is in place with measurable goals prior to a course of treatment beginning.
Be reasonable and understanding when assisting to develop this plan.
Speak up as well!
You know your child, the therapist most generally will not.
If you know that scheduling therapy 3 times a week at 4pm when that is the time that you child has always had a scheduled activity that they love is probably setting yourself and your child up for failure.
Review. Readjust. Continue or find a different way. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.