You are not just a mom! Don’t let others intimidate you into questioning what you know is working or not working for your child. Trust yourself and keep moving forward.
I have to admit that sometimes I outwardly went along with the therapist’s plans for my child (shhh, don’t tell her; she really was a good therapist). But when I saw it was resulting in much more frustration on both my child’s part and my part on a daily and even hourly basis, driving us both to tears and at the same time not resulting in any progress, I set the plans aside and did other things. We kept the therapists’ weekly appointments to document my son’s progress, and so I could keep in mind what he was supposed to be working on. We tried the therapist’s recommendations a few times over the course of the week instead of every hour and see how he responded, if he responded at all. From the therapy, I learned ways to help him when he was ready for it, and markers by which to measure his progress. But overall, he wasn’t ready for it. It was helpful, but it wasn’t what he needed most at the time.
As his mom who was with him all day every day, it was obvious to me. The therapist couldn’t see it on a day-in-day-out basis. All the tension and anxiety the therapies introduced and his complete lack of ability to respond appropriately just made things worse. Instead, I focused on what he could do, built on that, and focused other aspects of his treatment apart from therapy.
Yes, there are times to push our kids into things that are difficult for them. They need to be stretched and challenged in order to grow. Sometimes, that will cause tears and frustration. But as mom or dad, you have a front row seat to what is stretching them toward growth or what is pushing them too far and into the breaking point. No, you won’t get it right every time. And sometimes, hindsight will inform you how to do something differently next time. That’s okay. That’s part of the journey. Learn from it and adjust, but let the guilt go!
When a DAN (Defeat Autism Now) doctor insisted on a treatment program with medications that I had seen cause significant regression in my child, and refused to treat him without him being on those medications, I pulled my son out of that doctor’s care and went back to the drawing board to figure out how to accomplish the same treatment goal another way. And I did it!
Moms, Dads, you are amazing advocates for your child! You know your child better than anyone. If plan A isn’t working or is causing too much angst, there is plan B, C or D—even if plan B, C, or D doesn’t exist yet and you have to figure it out. Take a deep breath, pray, talk with other parents who have been there or somewhere similar and take one step forward. Then another.
Sarah McGuire is the Mom of two boys and co-founder of Hope Anew, a nonprofit that comes alongside the parents of children impacted by disability on a spiritual and emotional level. You can follow Hope Anew on Facebook here.