As the parent or caregiver of a child needing therapy services, there are challenges the adults guiding and directing this path may face. These are primarily internal battles parents struggle with when trying to manage everything that goes into an evaluation, diagnosis and treatment plan.
What’s important to realize, is that these are normal. Feeling this way is common. It’s actually part of the process. Understanding and accepting that these emotions are bound to emerge at times, and knowing how to address them, will help ease your way through them.
Fear and Worry
It’s easy to play the “what if” game and imagine all the worst-case scenarios. Particularly at the initial stages when evaluations and diagnoses are occurring. However, it is vitally important for parents to keep a big picture viewpoint. To regularly take a step back and look at what is fundamentally true and known. Your child is loved. Your child is unique. With a diagnosis, a plan is possible to create a path that will lead to the best life for your child. Taking control, building understanding, and crafting reasonable goals and expectations are the best tools to battle fear and worry.
Doubt and Inconsistency
Followed closely on the heels of fear and worry comes doubt. This trouble-maker fosters second-guessing. Is this the right plan? Are these really necessary? Maybe they’ll just outgrow this? And when a parent doubts the process, inconsistency flourishes. Children crave security, and security is grounded in consistency – knowing what to expect. Parents set the tone, and that needs to be a commitment to the process. Start by doing the research and talking with the experts. Doctors and therapists have years of training, specifically so their knowledge can be used to alleviate your worries and doubts, and bring a peace that their recommendations and plans are grounded in experience and proven results.
When faced with the prospects of a child needing therapy services, parents can feel extremely alone. Embarrassed or overwhelmed, unsure of who to trust and where to turn for support, assuming no one else understands or can do anything to help, many turn inward. However, it is during these times when external supports are needed more than ever. Find a community. This can be other parents who’ve traveled the road ahead and can provide guidance, trusted medical providers, or just friends and family to help lighten the daily loads.
Lastly, do not let communication slide. Typically, one parent takes the lead when researching, scheduling, and managing a child’s therapy sessions. As the primary contact, this parent processes all the information received during a session, the at-home instructions, and relays the growth and development back to the therapist as the child progresses. Effective communication is key. Between the parent and therapist, this is necessary to track progress on goals and enable clear expectations for sessions. It is also so important with other co-parents. Parents that are not on the same page breeds discord and stifles growth. Everyone involved in the caring and development of the child needs to be fully briefed and actively engaged, and this only happens if all of the adults are communicating clearly and able to work together in treatment decisions and practices.
All of these challenges are nothing new to The Speech Pathology Group and Rehab Services. They are normal. They are common. And we understand that many of our parents will face them. So bring your worries, your questions, and let us guide you. Most of our therapists are parents too. We get it. And our family is ready to support your family with all of the challenges surrounding therapy.