Thursday, July 29, 2010

Let's hear it for our kids' therapists!

This is the message I got tonight from the speech therapist who works with Max at his school:

Hi Ellen,

You probably hear this a lot but it's always nice to hear -- Max is an absolutely amazing kid. He lights up when he sees me, but he always brightens my day. This week, he's been trying so hard to not side swipe the spoon on his cheek, but pull it straight out. He feels so happy when I get excited for him. He amazes and is so smart. He found Sesame Place by showing him 1 time on the ipad. I just don't think I tell families enough how special (in a good way) their kid is and Max is definitely one of them. I'm lucky to work with him!

I bawled.

I have to admit, I tend to take Max's therapists for granted. This e-mail reminded me what a special breed of people they are, and how much of a difference they have made in Max's life—especially his quality of life. He would surely not be doing as well as he is if it weren't for the thousands (yes, thousands) of sessions he has had in the hands of passionate, caring, dedicated, enthusiastic, knowledgeable, resourceful therapists.

That's baby Max above at a holiday party with Nafeesa, the occupational therapist who started seeing him when he was a month old and has been coming to our house twice a week ever since. Back then, she and Max's physical therapist were often my therapists, too. They'd patiently hear out my anxieties and while they weren't ever falsely optimistic, they gave me hope. And told me how cute Max was.

This speech therapist at Max's school is the one who got us to trial the iPad and the Proloquo2go app. She typically answers questions I email her the same day she gets them. If she doesn't know an answer, she researches it. She is open to suggestion, but also has firm opinions of her own. She is a huge champion and cheerleader for Max. Tonight, I feel so grateful for her.

Which therapists in your life do you most cherish?


  1. I could never choose one. Every therapist over the past 6.5 years will forever have a special place in my heart.

  2. Wow, I am feeling really jealous! My daughter's school has never had a therapist as great as this one!

    We have not had good luck with finding a great speech therapist. Ironically, that is my daughter's biggest need.

    However, we found a great SLP at a hospital and she has been wonderful. Finally, at 8 years old, my daughter has a wonderful speech therapist. She is helping us in so many ways right now, and I am so grateful to her. I am going to tell her that when I see her today!

  3. What a sweet note. I am so lucky to have an amazing therapist for my little guy. She is like family.

  4. Our kids' therapists are truly amazing people with a special gift that few have. We've gone through many therapists trying to find the best, but until this summer we've always had the same occupational therapist since Avery was 12 months old. I don't even think I have the words to describe how amazing she was with Avery and me too! We loved her and it was heartbreaking when we weren't able to see her any longer this summer. It was like losing a family member. But I will forever be grateful for everything she did for Avery who has come lightyears from where doctors thought she'd be. :)

  5. Monkey has an amazing physical therapist named R. She is sweet and caring, yet tough on him. Monkey really needs someone to be tough on him from time to time to get him to work to his full potential and to let him know that we believe in him. She also is wonderful at helping us fight the insurance company for better services. Because of her, Monkey actually looks forward to going to PT.

  6. This is nice boost to start my day! Thanks, Ellen!

  7. My mom is a speech therapist in a small school district. Sometime she comes home with scratches because a few of the kids get violent, but even when she is frustrated she still talks about how cute they are and tells stories about funny things that happened.
    She works so hard--putting in another 2-5 hours of work at night to keep up with the paper work. I'm really proud of her and I don't think I could do it.
    Because therapists stay with kids year after year, I think they get much closer to their students then even teachers can.

  8. Great post, and I bawl too when I read those notes. Since my son is speech delayed I don't often get to know what his day is like. Notes sent home by the therapists offer me a little window into his world (as well as boost my Mommy ego). I really appreciate it when they take the time to share info--ANY info!

    I also love how the therapists know Leo in a way that I don't. He's a very hard worker for them-for me not so much! :-)

  9. Not a therapist, but a music teacher sent me home a glowing letter about my Max that just made me bawl. It was just so good to hear someone focusing on his strengths instead of the areas he struggles in.

  10. Thank you...

    1. For reminding me, a pediatric SLP, how important it is for us, as therapists, to tell parents how much we love working with their kids... I think it *all the time*, but probably don't say it enough. I need to do it more.

    2. For the nice words about therapists. We all need encouragement every now to help us remember that we are making a difference in the lives of the children with whom we work. :)

    3. For your blog. I love it.

  11. There was only one therapist that I didn't "click" with too well, and that was OK, because she was a substitute. I have to agree with JSmith--I think they're all pretty special. It takes a person with a particular amount of grace to do that kind of work--it's often physically demanding, repetitive, and probably thankless on many days. You're right--they do deserve a Hip Hip Hooray!

  12. we've had only one speech therapist that we didn't get on with. She just didn't know Ashley and was sloppy with arranging appointments. She talked to us like were were idiots.

    The rest of our experience has been like most of the comments above. They love the Little Man and are tireless in helping him.

    We also benefited from a "Portage" worker who came to our home and worked with him. She was the one who got him rolling and crawling for which we'll always be grateful.

  13. I couldn't live without my sons Special Needs teacher. When he was about to start Kindergarten I was on the fence about sending him. I was terrified of how cruel kids can be and had the image in my head of him being tortured. He isn't my baby by birth order but he is MY BABY and always will be. She met with me and calmed all my fears. I know it is more than a job for her and she truly loves Baily. She even comes to his Birthday parties and Miracle league baseball games to support him. He wouldn't be where he is today without her!

  14. Our entire Early Childhood Intervention team is amazing! We especially connect with our PT and OT though. Both of them seem to genuinely love my daughter. It's nice when the team cares for your child as if they were their own.

  15. I am an instructor in a small college in Canada that gives students there first courses toward becoming a PT or OT...they have so many questions...and just a few weeks ago I emailed Ellen to tell her how grateful I was for her incredible website but also her courage and insight. I am going to create an assignmnet where my students have to come to this sight and interact and see what some of the "real life" issues are for kids and their families....this discussion thread is great....i thank you ahead of time for giving them a honest look at being professionals in the field of human services (big emphasis on the human side!!!).


Thanks for sharing!

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