Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentines for our kids' therapists: from parents, with love

Some of my favorite people of all time are the therapists in Max's life. Therapists past and therapists present: I have a huge debt of gratitude toward them. They have been key to teaching, enabling, encouraging and enriching Max, helping him achieve to the best of his abilities. They have shown me how to best help him. I am forever in awe of their smarts, patience, dedication, and just how much they care. As much as I've felt like throwing my arms around them and giving them a big old kiss, I have refrained, for which I am sure they are grateful.

This Valentine's Day, I'm spreading some love to Max's speech therapists, J&J.

J #1  has been in Max's life since he was a baby. She faithfully comes to our home every Saturday morning, and that alone is amazing because it's not common in our area to have visiting speech therapists. She brings along a bag of games and crafts, and works with Max at our kitchen table or in his room, depending on his mood. She's a big fan of Colorforms' Silly Faces Stick-On Games, which she plays with him to get him talking. She has shown me oral-motor exercises to help loosen up his tongue and jaw; he speaks so much more articulately when those areas aren't tense. Lately, thanks to her, we have Max biting on ChewyTubes in the morning to help loosen him up—placed on the back molar, 10 bites per side (we use the red one).

While she's with him I sit outside the room to listen in, and I hear J getting Max to say words I've never heard him clearly articulate before—"go" and "ketchup" and "monkey" and "down." She describes  "p" and "b" sounds to him as "lip poppers" and "d" "l" "n" and "t" sounds as "tongue tappers" (as in, your tongue is tapping the roof of your mouth). She gives me guidance on what to tell the other therapists in Max's life, like when I emailed last week to ask what the music therapist could focus on. She is savvy and practical, too. She does not hesitate to let me know she has a concern—but when Max says something great her face lights up, and then I know it is a Big Deal.

J #2 is Max's speech therapist at school. It was J who in May 2010 first asked whether I might be interested in trying out an iPad and Proloquo2Go speech app with Max. "YES!" I said, and Max's world opened up. J is incredibly enthusiastic and progressive. I appreciate how forward-thinking she is because while there are good speech therapists out there, not all are willing to embrace technology like she has.

She is full of good ideas for engaging Max; right now, Max and another kid in his class do a speech therapy session together once a week and J has them telling each other knock-knock jokes on their iPads. She is always coming up with ways to expand Max's use of his speech app. Of course, she also gets him working on verbalizing and articulating words. "Max impresses me every week," she recently emailed. "He is talking so much, combining sounds and then using the iPad. His approximations have increased and improved."


Which therapists are your special needs valentines?

This is one of a series of posts sponsored by CVS Caremark All Kids Can, a commitment to helping children of all abilities be the best they can be. Like them on Facebook!

Photo credit: Flickr/
nanny snowflake


  1. I have a woman crush on the PT. So warm, gentle, and patient, yet insistent on forward momentum. She truly understands my schookums for who she is. The things she can make happen with a few simple props!

  2. big hugs to maxie's (former, waaah!) OT mallory, who is now volunteering in an orphanage in nepal!

  3. PT #1. She knows my daughter since she was 2 years old and has a way of getting her to WANT to push herself beyond her exhaustion, building up her endurance.
    PT #2. School based. She is probably the coolest person I know, and her approach to working with my daughter is compassionate, motivating and incredibly fun too. She does yoga, play-acting, broadway choreography, you name it... I would book my own sessions with her if she'd let me!!!

  4. I want to thank my son s therapist as well. I have a quick question. Today we have appointment with PT. Should I give her some gift?
    We never celebrate Valentine s day. But I am learning new traditions. MY son is 3 years old.
    I hope its ok to post a question here.

    Thanks :)

    1. We have no therapy today but in the past I've given a handmade card and/or a little box of Valentine candies!

    2. Thanks Ellen.. I am thinking to get a box of chocolate.

  5. My special is my PT, Gerda Bence, she's been my PT since I was 12 - I am now almost 22 - she's tough as nails and doesn't take any of my BS everybody else, even my parents, have lowered the bar for me because i have CP but Gerda has made it clear to me that having CP is not an excuse to sit on the sidelines of life when i'm with her I feel like she sees me the person before she sees me the person with a disability.

  6. Our therapists G and L, and our babysitter M who was a developmental therapist (but not ours) have truly become family. Whether they want it or not, they are stuck with us for life. They cheer on every step forward and are the first to help us through any step back. I raise my glass to them today and drink to our good fortune to have them in our lives. Reid is one lucky kid to have so many folks who love and adore him for the fabulous kid he is, but who also push him to be the best possible version of himself. And I am one lucky mom. Some therapists don't realize how much their support and connection means to families. Don't know where any of us would be today without these amazing folks. Happy Valentine's Day to our therapy family!!

  7. Our private PT- Martha & Amy & private OT, Kelly & Michelle! These ladies rock! They love my child almost as much as I do. They support her & believe she can do anything! They are some of the best!

    Our school OT, Paula, and SL/T, Carma & Ms. L (cant remember her first name- these ladies have helped her so much. Paula has been with her since pre-k & she knows my girl & pushes her too.

    Thank God for great therapists!


  8. This reminds me to go back and look at an old post of mine, about the fabulous speech therapist who taught my daughter to swallow:

  9. We love our PT...she is the BEST!! One of my little guy's first words was even 'phy-thi-o' with the cutest little rise in intonation on the 'thi'. I can't mention that we are going too early or he finds his shoes and sits at the front door waiting to go. Any therapist that can have her kids camping out for appointments is my Valentine...for sure!!

  10. I regret not sending valentines cards to Max's team of 2 OT, 2PT, and 2 ST. They are worth their weight in gold the way they work everyday tirelessly with my little Man...even going into overtime if they're starting to see results just as a session is ending. Their patience is never ending (and if it is ending, they NEVER show it!) They're more family than therapists, the way they not only work with him but Love him and Love to see him progress.

  11. So thrilling to hear the outpouring of appreciation for speech language pathologists who are making a positive difference in the lives of Max and so many others! We at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association are so proud of our member speech language pathologists and their patients, who are out there making our vision a reality: Making effective communication, a human right, accessible and achievable for all.


Thanks for sharing!

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