Although the issue of inclusion has been heavy on my mind lately, a bigger issue for me is therapy, because unlike school and inclusion, therapy is actually a big part of our reality now.
In a nutshell, I want to quit therapy. I have been ambivalent about therapy forever, and lately have become downright opposed to it, at least in our case. I'm not trying to make a case for everyone, and I'm sure that a lot of parents who read this might be horrified that I want to take Finn out of the very services that so many parents see as a lifeline. Just for the record, it's not the book that's making me question the value of therapy; I've been questioning it for a long time. Reading this book is only validating a lot of the thoughts and feelings I've already had.
There are so many parts of this chapter I could quote here, but instead I'll just say that basically it outlines, very articulately, these points:
- Children with disabilities deserve to have and enjoy typical childhoods just like every other child, and filling their schedule up with various therapies can be detrimental to their self-esteem (sending the message that "There is something wrong with you and you need to be fixed"); it intrudes on the entire family's schedule and therefore everyone deals with the stress of it; and it emphasizes the child's differences and deficits even to his or her siblings.
- Nobody - nobody - can say for sure that therapy actually does any good. Therapy is an inexact science at best, and there is no way to truly measure outcomes. Just because a child progresses does not mean it's thanks to therapy.
That last one, that's where I'm at. I have felt in my heart and my gut for a long time that all the things Finn has learned to do, he has done because he is him, and not because of therapy. I don't believe for a second that he is able to sit up and transition and crawl and pull up and eat crackers because his therapists taught him how to do these things. I know that he is doing these things because he's just ready to do them.
So I am having a really tough time justifying therapy at this point.
And again, I'm not trying to sell everyone on this thinking. I'm sure there are kids who are helped to varying degrees by therapy. I'm just saying that in our house, the results have been so negligible in my mind that it hardly seems worth it.
However, the matter is not settled, not by a long shot. See, Michael is not convinced. And so I have a case to make with him. Which isn't easy because I get all emotional and he argues for a living and so can pretty much talk circles around me which drives me freaking insane, and . . . well, I'll spare everyone the rest. But he's agreed to at least read this chapter, which makes me glad because Kathie Snow articulates it all far better than I can.