I suppose there are some folks who enjoy taking their kids to therapy. I don’t know who they are, but I figure stranger things have happened. After a decade of therapy, I’m here to tell you:
It ain’t no fun.
Between the two kids, we’ve done physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy. We’ve done it at home through early intervention, in a private therapy office, as an inpatient at a hospital, and at school (“at school” being my favorite because I am, by definition, not expected to be there). So without further ado, three reasons why I hate therapy:
1. Having to Watch
Therapy is work, no matter how much fun the therapists try to incorporate. I don’t always spend a whole hour working out, but at times Sarah Kate has been expected to spend FOUR hours exercising with little break, and therapy is never less than an hour. Kids should be reading, playing, and having fun – not working.
2. Not Being Able to Watch
At speech therapy, Nathan goes back without me. It’s easier that way because he’s more willing to cooperate. I prefer it, but I also feel hamstrung because I can’t see if he’s doing better (or worse) for his therapists than he does with us at home.
3. Seeing the Other Kids in Therapy
Most physical therapy offices we’ve used have a “big gym” that can accommodate more than one child at a time – some can treat several at once. You’d think that I’d enjoy the opportunity to be in a place where we are “typical” instead of “different,” but I don’t. If a child functions more easily than mine, I’m jealous; if a child doesn’t function as well, I feel guilty. When Sarah Kate was small, I especially hated seeing the teenagers without cognitive or speech delays, because of their advanced maturity level. I hated hearing them talk about the accommodations they received or the battle they’d had to fight at school to get X, Y, or Z. They didn’t seem like kids at all, and that made me sad.
But there’s one thing about therapy that I love: the personal attention that my kids get.
We’ve seen a lot of therapists in the last decade, and every single one of them has had my child’s best interests at heart, and they get to know the kids (and their quirks 🙂 ). Not only that, but they’ve become friends. One of Sarah Kate’s current therapists handed down her son’s outgrown clothes to Nathan, and a former therapist (who lives four hours away) drove in to be on Nathan’s first Buddy Walk team. Another of her current therapists has walked every year for Nathan. Let that sink in – she’s walking, not for her patient, but for her patient’s brother.
Therapists who work with children are special people; they make the experience as fun as possible for the kids AND the parents.