Proudly Supporting all Military Families with a Special Needs Dependent
Last week, Addie got dumped. At our weekly visit to OT and Speech, the therapists informed me that, “due to slow progress” (plateau), they would be discharging us. The provider could not show ‘enough’ progress towards her goals.
Blindsided, I thought, wait: she is progressing. She is making strides. She is improving! Over the past two years, Addie has flourished in therapy. She went from being a little girl with sensory integration issues, complete G-tube fed, and very little neck and trunk control, to a calmer, happier girl who is making progress every single day.
Therapy doesn’t end when the hour-long session is up. It’s 24/7 in this house. I work my ass off teaching her, making sure that there is something exciting that Addie is working on, and then silently beg her to ‘perform’ on therapy days. And she has worked so, so hard – not 100% of the time – but damnit, she’s made progress!
Maybe my expectations were off, but, I thought the purpose of OT and Speech was to help her with her fine motor skills, put coins in a bucket, learn to eat solid foods regularly, and learn to communicate. Her goals stated just that and she is making progress, at her own speed.
After the therapists informed me that they were dumping us, and through my tears, I showed them one final time what Addie is doing now. I positioned her, made sure that she was using her head and neck properly, and, spoonful after spoonful, Addie ate applesauce. She chewed, swallowed, and signed for more. She can’t currently put coins in a bucket by herself, but she will allow me to hand-over-hand simulate it. If the therapists can’t see that kind of progress, especially from the girl she was only two short years ago, then they’re not the company for us, after all.
I feel betrayed. These professionals were supposed to be fighting for my daughter. They were on our team. And they quit and walked away from her, leaving me with “Sorry, she’s hit a plateau. There’s nothing more we can do for her. Come back if she regresses and we’ll re-evaluate her.” Addie didn’t plateau; the therapists simply ran out of ideas and gave up. If a child isn’t making progress towards their goals, you don’t discharge them; the therapist needs to change their approach. You try Plan B. Plan C. Plan X. Dig out the therapy bag of tricks – every kid is different, remember? Saying that Addie “can’t go any further” puts the added responsibility on me to be her OT, PT, and Speech therapist. And, Addie deserves more. The therapists might have given up on her, but I never will. And the next therapist we hire will think outside the box when Addie hits a supposed ‘plateau’ and they’ll keep going. Her possibilities are endless, and she deserves a therapy team that believes in her.
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A site to discuss and learn about TRICARE Philippines Policies and Issues that are often times implemented in secret by the Defense Health Agency (DHA). Policies that result in payments at about 7.7% and 3.8% of what they should be or $328 per under 65 person instead of the expected $4,261 & $328 per over 65 person instead of the expected $8,650.
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