1. When your therapist walks in the door, do not say "So glad you're here! Gotta go get a smoothie/a new pair of shoes/a life, see you in forty five minutes!"
2. Have an annual or biannual Child State of the Union, a conference call between you and all of the therapists—speech, occupational, physical, the whole gang. They'll each work better knowing what the other person is up to. (Note, your shrink does not have to participate in this call.)
3. You know it's true: Therapy takes three people—the therapist, your child and you. Therapy sessions in and of themselves do not produce miracles, but combined with the exercises and tactics you put into use, they can.
4. That said, if you're feeling overwhelmed by all the stuff you've been asked to do with your child, say so. Better that than pretend you have actually done it all. Not that any parent would ever do that. Noooooooooooooo, not us.
5. If you're not convinced that a particular tactic is effective, be open about your concerns—but be open-minded to the way the therapist works, too. Out-of-the-box approaches can go a long way for our kids.
6. Word, it is best not to request things like "Could you show him how to prepare a four-course meal?" and "Do you think you could teach him how to hold a vacuum?"
7. Keep a notebook where your therapist can jot down progress notes, a helpful record for both of you (and a must for working moms). Refrain from drawing little hearts or sad faces next to her notes.
8. Also: Do not kiss her—or him—on the lips when your child does something incredible, although it is OK to squeal and/or do cartwheels.
9. Once in awhile, show the therapists print or online special needs equipment catalogs and see if there is anything they recommend or would like to try. So many of them spend their own money on stuff; it's nice to pitch in, and it's a good way to find cool stuff that'll work for your child.
10. If you capture your child's first steps or first words in a photo or a video, or your child finally grasps a crayon and colors a picture, share it with the therapists. Way to make them proud!
11. Patience! Yes, it's so hard to have because you so want your child to walk, to talk, to use his hands, to do. He will, hopefully, but on his own timeline. No amount of effort, by the therapists or by you, can make a child with disabilities do things sooner than he is ready to. And when he wows you? You should probably still refrain from kissing the therapist on the lips.
OK, parents and therapists, got something to add?