October 2017

Most of our kids require interventions of some kind or the other in order to make progress and function better due to Cerebral Palsy.  As parents, how do we know when they have received enough therapy?  Moreover, how do we know when it is necessary to do more therapy in order to achieve a desired result?

In the school environment, the goal of interventions is to provide the child with the ability to function well in that environment.  That is, the child should be able to communicate his/her needs, have enough mobility around the school setting to get to his/her classroom, write/read well enough to reach the curriculum requirements.  In most cases, school based guidelines fall short of providing the child enough physical, speech and occupational therapy for that child to function well outside of school - life’s requirements are slightly different than school requirements.  To that effect, many of us seek private (non-school based) interventions for our child.  

In most cases, we rely on professional opinions to know how much therapy is enough.  We ask for a therapy plan and we make sure that the plan is followed.  We also monitor progress and ensure that goals are being met.  Sometimes though, and even if the plan is being adhered to, the child stops making noticeable progress.  Why is that?  I learned from personal experience that there is such a thing as being “therapyed” out.  That is, the child stops being responsive to a specific therapy because they have reached their maximum capacity for that type of therapy at that particular time.  How do we know that the child has reached the point of being “therapyed” out? That’s where we need to depend on our gut instinct and some queues from our child. We might notice that the child seems less willing to go to therapy or is not quite so eager to spend time with the home-based therapist.  Other signs may be things like less progress is being made with that particular challenge i.e. the child was making significant progress with walking readiness and has now reached a saturation point and makes less significant progress.   This is not a permanent state of affairs.  It just means that it’s time for a break.  That particular therapy can be re-introduced at a later time.

As with any child - special needs or not - we should trust our gut instinct and take queues from our children to know when he/she has reached a point where something is not quite working for him/her anymore.  Good therapists know that this is a real phenomenon, and therefore, they should be willing to work with you on taking a break or re-focusing therapy in order to ride out this period.  Most importantly, allow your child to give you those queues without judgement. 

On another note, I received free passes for a disability expo taking place in Vienna, Virginia.  I have never been to any of this organization’s events, nor I am affiliated with the organization. I am simply passing this information on to you in case there is interest.  If you are interested, and could use a free pass, please write to me and I will send it to you.