Every other Tuesday (with some exceptions for holidays and vacations, etc.), I take my son to a behavioral therapist. He has been going to her since he was in 3rd grade. Mostly he goes to help with social interactions (which he lacks a good understanding of social pragmatics—basically, he doesn’t always pick up on social cues—in a lot of ways, he is just that shy, geeky kid in the corner you probably met and picked on in junior high—you know, the one who is making a ba-jillion dollars on the whole inventing the internets thing…) (well—he also sometimes can get frustrated and angry and blows up when you least expect it—kinda like that weird kid who was always trouble at school that you are sure is locked up right now…). So yeah, therapy seems to help with those issues.
I don’t think we knew what a commitment it would be. Especially since we picked the therapist that our Pediatric Neurologist suggested which meant that we had to schlep all the way down to her hospital (no where near our house or our normal pediatrician). It is a long drive from work, to the after school pick up, then past our house (way past our house) to the therapist. And yeah, we should change to a therapist closer to us, especially now that our PN has moved to a different hospital and is closer to us—but its hard to know how or when to break off such a tenuous relationship. Thing is, sometimes I don’t even know if he gets anything out of the sessions. And just when I think we should stop them, I find him using something his therapist has suggested to deal with his frustrations or he mentions her and what they did in session together (usually a board game). Especially with teenager-hood just around the corner, I think we are going to keep going to this therapist.
It is a strange world to go into a children’s therapy waiting room. The department we go into is combined neurology, behavioral and speech therapy. So, every time we go into the waiting room, I see children that are far more in need of services than we are. I see a lot of children who are coming in with their adoptive or foster parents. It makes my heart warmed to see such wonderful parents taking the time and energy to help their children. I also wonder what were their circumstances that bring them to this waiting room. I also see siblings coming in the waiting room—sometimes Willow is with me and they play together.
I wonder what Willow will think of these visits to the waiting room as she gets older. There is a stigma there that I don’t want her to perceive. I want her to unconditionally love her brother. To make it more fun, we play music the kids want in the car (oh, I am sick of Weird Al and School House Rock right now…) and we go to McDonalds (I bring my own honey so I can eat the less fattening Chicken Nuggets…).
As for Michael, I often wonder what he really thinks of all of this. I wonder what he will remember and what he will take away from these excursions—will he remember going to therapy as a chore or as something that was helpful for him.
Tonight is therapy night. I am bringing Willow with us, and I have her stuffed kangaroo and giraffes. I bought bananas for the kids to have in the car along the way there…and I guess some Weird Al will be heard soon in my ears….