Saturday, July 11, 2009

Physical Therapy

Maybe it's the pregnancy (all ready?) but I'm beat from chasing Goldie around by the end of the day. Well, actually by lunch. I've been questioning whether she still needs PT. I know there are things she still has to do, like running and jumping. I have the book Gross Motor Skills in Children with Down Syndrome and spent some time this week looking over the checklists. Out of the 45 motor milestones there are only 9 left for us to work on. We also continue to help her build up endurance and strength.

Hank and I talked about it and we really feel that we can handle these last 9 on our own. It helps that Goldie is such a physically motivated girl. She also has 2 sisters that keep her moving, a swing set, riding toys, and the country side at her disposal. PT has been one of the easiest things for us to do as a family on a consistent basis. Just this week she mastered climbing the ladder to the slide all by herself. I'm so proud and scared all at once! At first she would only do it once. Now, she does it over and over. I love to see how strong she is getting.

Now, how do I tell the PT? She's been coming for 2 years and when we dropped from every week to 2x a month I could tell she was disappointed. My eyes got all wet just talking about it. Hank said I'm just being an emotional pregnant woman. The PT was here yesterday and I couldn't bring it up.

I've really grown to like her. We chat about our families and she is great at showing me how to help Goldie. But, yesterday she said something that's been bugging me. She asked me about Goldie's swallow study and if she was drinking any more. I told her how that was going and went on to tell her about taking Goldie swimming. Goldie has never really enjoyed swimming. She usually hangs on my neck, then I pry her off of me into a floatation device and try to keep her moving and happy. I realized this week that what she hates is the water going in her mouth (she chokes and gags). If I hold up the front of her floaty or if she holds herself up she is much happier. I think this is also why she doesn't like me rinsing her hair during her bath. Getting back on track now, I tell all this to the PT. Her response, " I don't know. Are they smart enough to make that connection? Really, are they smart enough to know what will happen when they get in a pool?" My response, absolute silence. Did she mean any 2 year old or does "they" mean kids with DS? I have a 2 yo niece and I don't think anyone would question if she could make that connection. Am I being overly sensitive?

After that conversation I'm not as sad about letting her go. While I like her, she has never set very high expectations for Goldie. She was always a little skeptical when I told her Goldie had learned something new. I had to add walking to her IFSP last year.

And since I finally got the camera back from my husband, here is a picture of Goldie smelling a flower "with her nose, not her hands."


Beth said...

Oh man! You're getting the cream of the crop this week aren't you?

It is really difficult to end a therapy relationship. Sometimes the therapy is complete, sometimes it's a bad personality match, and sometimes it's a bad therapist. It's hard because we grow to care about the therapists, and they have feelings for our children. But I guarantee that your PT has had this happen several times. It's part of the business. She can handle it.

So, yes, drop PT--Goldie will get the rest of the milestones on her own, and if she doesn't, they aren't that important. It won't matter at all in the big picture.

I'd tell the therapist like this, "We've decided that we'd like to stop having physical therapy for Goldie. She's doing well, and we'd like to focus more on other areas of her development." Then don't say anything more--you can keep repeating the last half-sentence if the PT keeps asking for more information. You can ask if this means you have to have an updated IFSP or other paperwork, to get her to move along. I'd do this at the end of the next session. Then, later, after it's all done, have Goldie send her a Thank You note or something to give some nice closure.

Or, you could move to a new town? It's nice here in Virginia!

Beverly said...

love that photo of Goldie! she is too cute! Beth gave good advice on how to get rid of the PT. Dont feel bad about it.

Wendy P said...

I'd say it's time to move on, too. I'm sure you're right about the swimming and the hair rinsing, as well.

What a big girl she's getting to be!

Mel said...

Get rid of the PT- I can't stand the 'they' comments. A friend of mine was out with her daughter the other day (who has DS), and some woman came up, said how cute she was and then said "A friend of mine has one of those too." My friend was quick-witted enough to say "What, a daughter or a stroller?" but I would have stood there stunned. Goldie doesn't need this woman holding her back. OF COURSE she knows about the water and her swallowing! Who would know better? Love the photo by the way :)

Monica said...

I think all of these ladies gave you awesome advice!! And if it makes you feel any better I get teary eyed when we have decided to let a therapist go also and I have not been pregnant during any of these good byes!! Even when they have said things I don't agree with it is still hard. And of course she gets the connection!!! Sadly your therapist has not yet. (I'm not saying she is a bad therapist or person I just don't think she fully realizes how smart our kids are)

Goldie is growing up so fast!! Adorable picture!

Jennifer said...

Wow, you are not over reacting at all. You got some great advice above, so good luck.