I've been trolling the Internet lately, just to educate myself about some of the therapies we haven't explored, and I've gotta tell you...it's like falling into a pool of quicksand. Just sucks you down into alternate realities and a whole lot of very destabilizing "what if" scenarios. (Raise your hand if you are thinking, "Susan, step away from the Internet!") But stay with me a moment. Did you know that the Autism Society of America lists 17 different therapies in three categories? All the common ones are there: ABA, Floortime, OT, ST, RDI and more, plus the biomedical interventions and the complementary ones such as music, art and animal therapies--including swimming with dolphins. In the spirit of full disclosure, we've actually heard good things about a music therapist in our area, but the truth is that we're overscheduled as it is, so it would start the whole spin cycle of "what do we cut, how do we fit it in, can we afford it" (that would be a no), and on and on.
Don't get me wrong--I've seen enough by now to know that choice of therapies is one of those polarizing topics that can lead to hurt feelings and raised voices and a whole lot of unpleasantness all around. So I don't go there. But today's experience brought back the very same rush of panic I felt on that first day in the developmental pediatrician's office, when the floor opened up and sucked us into a future we were never expecting. "Are these the right things? Should we do more? What about...? What if...?" The doctor scribbled a few names on a yellow legal pad and wordlessly handed them to us. We made some phone calls and some judgment calls and then some more phone calls, and things started to happen. Ok, good.
But I hope that someday soon the parents who perch anxiously on the scuffed brown couch as they watch their future take a hard left turn have an easier time than we did. I hope that as they face their news they are greeted with better, more precise information, so they can make choices that they believe in and that will help them feel like they're doing the right things for their child. I can tell you that it's gotten better for us since that day. We are learning more all the time, from stumbles as well as successes, and we generally feel more confident that we're on the right path. So, in the absence of that crystal ball, I wish the same for the next parents. I wish the same for you.