For the past few weeks, speech therapy has been a struggle for us. After making monumental strides with feeding, my 3.5 year old son has become increasingly frustrated with his therapy sessions. That frustration has led to a helpless feeling for me and his therapist.
I’ve seen this frustration for a while, and I’ve had the sneaking suspicion that something else was going on. Maybe our methods weren’t the right methods or perhaps we needed to try something new.
So one day, out of frustration, I started doing a little bit of research and came upon a possible new diagnosis of Apraxia. Apraxia is a neurological disorder. Someone who is diagnosed with it may find it hard or might not be able to make certain motor movements—even though their muscles seem normal.
One of the things about Apraxia is that conventional methods of therapy just won’t work. It’s not that the child doesn’t see the value of speech, but rather there’s a disconnect between the brain and the mouth on how to speak.
If there was a lightbulb above my head when I read that, it would have gone off and eventually exploded from the brightness. This made perfect sense! This might be the reason we’ve been so frustrated lately! We finally had answers instead of being stuck in the same questions over and over again!
As parents of children with disabilities, we are surrounded by experts. Experts on medical issues, expert therapists, expert teachers, etc. But the truth is that we are the experts in our kids. And we need to indulge that expertise on occasions.
If your gut is telling you something is off, or wrong, or needs to be changed, trust your gut and take a step in the direction to make yourself feel better. Maybe it’s asking the doctor a question out of the blue. Maybe it’s Googling something. Maybe it’s getting in contact with an expert that doesn’t normally work with your kid. Whatever it might be, indulge your gut feelings on occasion. You know your child. You know them better than anyone else ever could. Trust that knowledge.
My wife and I often talk about how we wish we would have been physical therapists or doctors instead of our current professions so that we could better serve our child. But I think that’s a flawed thought process … it’s that non-medical view that allows us to see things from a completely different perspective. Combine that with the intuition and tireless dedication of a parent and you have the perfect recipe for the perfect caregiver: a thoughtful, critical thinking and loving individual who will do anything to help their child succeed.
Don’t ever hesitate to trust your gut. Don’t ever hesitate to ask the question that you normally wouldn’t ask. Doing so makes you a darn good parent.
Learn more about becoming expert parents of children with disabilities here.