Saturday, May 4, 2013

May 4th - Saturday Therapy

4th Day of Better Speech and Hearing Month

Saturday Therapy

All across New England, parents are scurrying to get their children to extracurricular activities. Soccer fields are surrounded by minivans and SUVs, parents are helping their little kids carry hockey bags as big as them, kids are suiting up in their bathing suits for swim lessons, kids are warming up and stretching for gymnastics or dance class, and here in the building Cha-Cha goes to speech in, kids are running up the stairs for Chinese School, Russian Math, and some form of Japanese music lessons. Instead of doing these things with Cha-Cha, we are in the small minority of parents who bring their children to Saturday therapy. In the waiting room are parents who just can't get their kid to another session of speech during the week. Sometimes, if I think about it too much, it can get depressing.

Our Saturday starts with a routine. Hubby and I hear the kids stir around in their rooms and we hear demands for strawberry milk and the I-pad. Hubby is usually the one to help them get settled for a bit so both of us can get a few more minutes of shut eye. By 8:00am, we are scrambling to get everyone ready, as Bee-bee and Hubby head to soccer and Cha-Cha and I head to speech. I have to make sure we leave at least 30 minutes early so we can get Cha-cha's favorite breakfast - McDonalds Hotcakes. We head through the drive thru, I park and cut them up, and magically blow on them to cool them off, and he manages to eat all three by the time we hit the parking lot at the building speech is in.

Cha-Cha typically is "neaky-neaky" (sneaky-sneaky) and takes his shoes off during the ride, causing me to have to put them back on, gather our bags (in case he has an accident and so I have something to do for the hour), and head into the building. Racing around us in the parking lot are other kids trying to make their various lessons in other parts of the building. Cha-Cha always insists on taking the elevator. He gets to press the buttons and gives me a big smile at the little independence of being able to be in charge of where we go. On Saturdays, he gets to run down the hallway since no other offices are open on the floor. It helps warm him up for therapy. When we enter the waiting room, we are greeted by other parents and their children.  We smile and make nodding glances, occasionally exchange a comment or two, but it's the same group of us Saturday after Saturday.  After a few minutes of play time on the train table, his SLP greets us and takes us back to her office.

His therapy varies with his targets, but I think Cha-Cha secretly likes it because he has almost any choice for what he wants to play with during therapy. We've been doing this now for almost 2 years now and his SLP often says seeing him on her Saturday mornings makes her entire day and Saturday therapy sessions worth it. Because of Cha-cha's separation anxiety, I get to accompany him by sitting on the floor, minding my own business, and observing.  When he feels he's getting pushed too hard, he will ask his SLP to get a squeeze from me or a few jumps on the trampoline outside her office.  It's always over in an hour and by then he's worn out and ready to go.  My rule after therapy is that we have to take the stairs down to work on alternating his feet as he maneuvers the steps.

We do Saturday therapy because it fits our schedule (we also do Monday afternoons). It gets us up and moving and out of the house by 8:30am, but it also gives us another afternoon during the week to let the kids be kids.  Bee-bee does dance and soccer, and Cha-cha does therapy.  I keep searching for something for him to do for fun, but most classes for his age are at the same time on Saturdays - and even though it's work, he definitely looks forward to his time with his SLP and all of her toys. :)  Someday, I hope we can trade in the therapy for something he gets to choose.

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