Once again I'm sitting in a speech therapy appointment (for anyone who is a therapist, please don't take this sharing to heart) discussing ways of helping my son learn to speak better and the relationship of talking, questions and how as a parent we encourage our children to speak. To be honest I felt under pressure, as though every conversation I have to think of myself as a therapist constantly on the job and trying to think of ways to help my son learn new concepts and learn how to say things better. Mentally I am tired, the stress of being that type of Mum is hard work.
What do I feel inadequate, not as a person but inadequate to make a difference, to do ENOUGH to help, is it going to make a difference, thinking I should have done more, done less, under pressure that it's not going to be enough and my kids will be the same developmentally. More than anything I feel like no-one actually gets it. The pressure is on the parent, not society, it's all on me, if I don't do it no-one will.
It's not often I say what I feel about the situation. Selective Mutism is a curable condition with early intervention you can actually OVERCOME this condition, however without intervention this is impossible. Where is the funding? certainly not here for my son. This is what we get: 10 speech sessions a year (apparently this is decreasing now as he gets older) through child development, 5 medicare sessions a year, 10 sessions via mental health care plan a year. We are not eligible for any help from Disability Service Commission because apparently they don't help anyone with mental health issues as their primary diagnosis, the Mental Health are supposed to help them (apparently).
The reality what have I seen time and time again recommended in EVERY documentary, the therapy recommended is at least the following for the sliding in technique they use at a minimum 3 sessions a week of around 20 minutes for TWO months this is just the beginning. So naturally what we are currently getting is not enough, given that I am spending my time at home we live on the Carers Payment (thank God for small mercies) I really am struggling to find the money to bridge the gap.
The issue with this whole story, the parent is where it is at. Because of the funding issues the rest of the therapy burden is put upon the parent. Often I see what I receive from say child development or such places it is more a consultative approach, they tell you what to do rather than actually do the therapy. Homework for the parent actually becomes the therapy. Now I am sure they don't realise how bad things have gotten. I remember taking a file to every therapy appointment I made a point to show each therapist the list of programs and activities I had been given, this was a full lever arch file as what was happening was we receive a little homework from the speech therapist, a little from the occupational therapist, then if you are lucky to have more than one child with special needs. It's all a little crazy don't ya think!!
You'll have to forgive me, today I'm a little over it! It's incredibly discouraging asking the experts what is wrong for no-one to actually be able to help. That the majority of the time I understand my son, more than anyone else, actually no-one really knows my son truly. Something, somewhere has to change.
Now to finish on a positive note, I am sure a lot of you have actually been here with me, so you will get me. For those who haven't been here and you wonder why we are often a bit distracted or tired, now you know why!!!
This is what is really the most important no-one and I mean no-one will get your child like you do. It sounds strange but some days I take off the therapist hat off and muck around with my kids, let them climb all over me, stay up a little later than normal. Or I take my boy riding with me for some one on one time. Laughing over what my kids find funny (usually what adults think it stylish). I snuggle up with my baby and feel her cheek on mine, ask my 4.5 year old if I am allowed to kiss him tonight or enjoy the moments when my eldest son holds my hand while out shopping not just because I told him to. This is where it's at!
So the last few days, in my self searching I'm determined to do something a little different. Instead of being the "therapist" all the time I'm going to the therapist sometimes. In the whole scheme of things I guess I have put myself under the pressure to help my kids, the pressure from others is not necessarily what I have to be, I choose who I am and what I do. An idea I have had to make things simpler is to try and allocate times for therapy rather than allowing the WHOLE of our time together be therapy. This may be the challenge!!!