Hands touch yours, "put your hands down", moving them away from the toys. "Stop babbling." Hands pull you, "eyes, please", push you, make you do things. "Focus..." Hands on your arms, legs, shoulders, back. "Time to pay attention." Holding you still, "not right now", you don't want to be still, "don't do that", holding you still.
Frustrating, isn't it?
This is therapy. I would hate therapy.
If someone came to your home and did all of those things to you, they would likely be asked to leave and never return. Yet, we pay people to do this to our children. We even do this to them ourselves.
Not surprising that our children get angry, frustrated, and upset. You would, too.
I know, I know, we don't do it to that extreme. We're nice about it. Patient. We take the time to explain things, nurture them through the process, and encourage them when they do well.
But, do they see it that way?
Imagine you are watching the Super Bowl or talking to a long lost friend you hadn't spoken to in years and a Therapist started working with you. It wouldn't matter how patient, kind or understanding they were, they need to get the heck out of your face before you toss them from your house.
That's the perspective.
Our world is uninteresting. We have nothing here that can properly supplant the amazing imagery happening in our child's mind.
So, what does this mean? No therapy? Abandon the one thing that works? Allow our children to disappear into their world because it's more fun and beautiful?
Of course not.
The challenge I am facing right now is about balance. How much is too much and where is the sweet spot?
For the last two weeks, my daughter has opened up, connected, and reached out to those around her more than she has in the last six months. She has been actively engaging people, expressing her needs without incident, and trying, on her own, to develop her language.
Oh, and she wasn't receiving home therapy during this time.
She started again yesterday and had a major meltdown during and afterwards. She was also nervously licking her lips to the point of bleeding and she was no longer "aware".
She had completely locked down. One day of therapy.
The therapy hadn't changed, the therapist was known to her and the methods were familiar to her. She was simply done. She wanted no more and was through being told what to do all the time.
Now, before I get a hundred responses asking which/what/who/how, I will tell you that we are transitioning from ABA to Adaptive Skills because she is ready to branch out. We also stopped therapy again today to give her a break and see how she responds.
"I'm lucky and Daddy's lucky." she said on the way home from school.
"Daddy's lucky to have you as his daughter." I reply.
(She nods) "Yeah...".
She was back. Clear as day. She had already been told that therapy was cancelled and she was open to opening up again.
I write this not to condemn therapy. Not at all. It has brought my daughter from the shadows into the light in so many ways. She would not have been able to have that small conversation with me were it not for her incredible therapists. I am forever grateful for them.
My intent is to illustrate balance. Know what is happening in the sessions, think about how it might affect you, listen to your child and their expressions, understand the impact and adjust accordingly.
We are changing my daughter's routine because she is ready for the change. She had been telling us, through meltdowns and babbling, that she has moved on from this style.
We are listening.