Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Therapists who know my son are like old friends

We had an unexpected treat on our vacation last week on North Carolina's Southern Outer Banks. Max's old music therapist, Joanne, emailed me after she saw a post I'd put up. She was only 45 minutes away, she wrote, and could she swing by?

Joanne did music therapy with Max starting when he was four until she moved away last year and got married. When she walked in the door of our vacation rental, Max laughed and laughed, which is what he does when he's too gleeful to say anything. Sabrina gave her a big hug; she often sat in on their sessions.

All of the therapists who have worked with Max have had a special relationship with him. But there are a few who've been with Max for years and years, ones who have seen Max mature and develop—and played an integral part in that. Joanne has gone through many Max phases, including his fascinations with purple, spaghetti, car washes and Cars 2, and come up with songs for all of them. She knows him.

I was often at work when Joanne came by, but I sat in on many sessions with the Early Intervention physical and occupational therapists. I have a special place in my heart for them, and not just because of what they enabled Max to do or the tips they gave me to best help him. These therapists saw me at my worst, when I was despondent about what the future held for Max. As they worked and exercised his muscles, and I asked a million questions and expressed a billion fears, they provided therapy for me. They gave me hope, a scarce resource back then.

Max has always been glad to see his therapists. He doesn't think of it as work, per se, both because it's been a natural part of his life since he was a month old and because I've always requested that therapists refer to what they do as play. But therapy done with a guitar is going to automatically be more enjoyable, and so Max has always been particularly giddy for Joanne sessions.

Before Joanne arrived, Max kept telling me he didn't want Sabrina to hang out with them. Here's the "Hello" song Joanne usually sings to start a session. She's trying to get Max to say hello to Sabrina—except he kept saying "Fireman Max." And cracking up, because he knew it wasn't fair to hog Joanne. We were all laughing, including Sabrina.

But right after the "Hello" song, Sabrina jumped in, and then the three of them jammed for an hour and made videos. 

The wonderful Joanne works in the Jacksonville, NC, area; here's her Facebook page and is her email.


  1. What a treat! My daughter is now 18 years old. Those early intervention therapists truly are our good ole friends! I still get together socially with one and pictures of her with our whole family are in the mix of our 800+ pictures on our digital picture frame in the living room. Keep those connections!

  2. That video was a true joy --- truly enjoyed it. Max's sense of humor is 100%. Loved watching him "lose it"! (I still remember the one where you asked him what he was having on his cereal or whatever, and he said "drool". A master.)

  3. She has a beautiful voice. Cute kids.

  4. My music therapy is marching band,

  5. Please ignore the Wordpress link in my previous post. This is the one I intended to use. Thanks.

  6. One of the happiest things I've seen in a long time! Wonderful!


Thanks for sharing!

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