Okay, so I ended up taking the longer route to the music therapy place, but did take the I-10 on the way back home. I was holding onto the steering wheel a bit tighter than usual. Not sure yet about how we'll travel this week. I've got a few more days to think about it. Well, we are looking for another feeding therapist, again. Over the summer, we made a change because our gal was expecting her first child and closing her practice. We were paired up with someone with a lot of experience (ages 0-3) and initially felt okay. So, I chose a day/time that worked for us and was told her schedule was wide open. Now, the word evaluation was never mentioned. Had I known, I would have told the gal that DDD would not have covered it because it hadn't been a full year. So, we met the feeding person and of course, everyone has their own way of doing therapy.
It's always hard to start over with someone new. You start to explain this and that. You mention your child has shown progress with certain things, but they just stare back at you as if you're crazy. I had typed up a list of all of the foods that T eats and drinks. She wasn't impressed. Lots of carbs and nothing whole grain she was quick to note. She asked me what kind of peanut butter I bought? I said, "Whatever is on sale." I could see the look of disapproval already. In my head I thought, no lady, not buying the $4 peanut butter with Omega 3 at Trader Joe's. Regular, on sale, Kroger freakin' peanut butter. I was so tempted to tell her that sometimes I even buy the jar that has Spanish on it to save a few pennies just to see how she'd react, but I didn't.
We were almost done with the "eval" when she mentioned needing to schedule us. Uh, what? I thought we'd see her same day/time next week because that's what I had scheduled. She said that it was only for the eval and now had just 2 slots open. Early or another day where we already had a conflict. I took the early time slot. The clinic had ordered a toaster oven that hadn't arrived yet, so we were making do with other non-bake recipes. I had explained that we would normally discuss what food/recipe, I'd bring in a book that related, and talk to T about the food prior to help prep him. She said that wasn't necessary and that she had ideas. Okay then, cool with me.
Now, I had told her that T was a smart cookie. He reads. He's verbal. You have to plan for him. She brought him back to the lobby when they were finished and was going on and on about all that he did in session. Yeah, he's smart. It's as if she was surprised even though I explained. I get that it's sort of unknown until one actually works with a child, but it made me start to question just how much experience she had working with this age group and this particular population. The session went well. T really liked it and was talking appropriately throughout about the recipe. The thing that bothered me though when I spotted it was the darn little bag of extra chocolate chips she had given him. We didn't discuss that beforehand. She called it his reward. Oh no!
People I believe in desserts, but I don't use treats in feeding therapy. I don't use them with ABA either. I should have mentioned it, but I'm also shocked that we wouldn't discuss it. She wouldn't give her 2 and 3 year old clients little bags of chocolate chips, would she? We had a few more sessions and recipes that also involved you guessed it . . . chocolate chips. While it's cute to throw them into waffle and pancake batter, I don't. Why all the extra chocolate?! After about the 4th session or so, she tells me that we need to reschedule due to staff meetings. I love that one. It's a good excuse. So, we opted to bump OT earlier and gave feeding back-to-back. We did it this way for 2 sessions. On that second week, she was 15 minutes late to come and get him. Now, I should probably mention that I texted her earlier to tell her please no more recipes with chocolate chips. She was most likely annoyed with me already. I figured that could have been one reason she was late because she was maybe rethinking her whole plan.
Came out with T and I could tell that it did not go well. She was spent and had enough (of T). Wow, giving up on him already I thought. She started mentioning first thing that she didn't think back-to-back was such a great idea and just raised a bunch of doubt. She said that we might need to find another day. Um, what? So, I start in trying to explain and she wasn't getting it. She said that I'd have to come 2 different days as if I would be put out by that. I drive everywhere all week and every week. I don't care as long as my kid gets what he needs. Duh. So, the next client is hearing this back and forth BS. I explained that I had rearranged my schedule to accommodate her. Now I'm going to be stuck with an earlier OT and a huge gap of time until our next appt which was music. I wasn't going to drive all the way home or kill 2 hours at a Target. I was miffed!
We had planned on maybe giving it another try the following week, but her quick defeat as a therapist and total lack of consideration of someone else's time made me think twice. I asked my OT if our usual time might still be available, but it was already filled. Of course, I'm not a moron. I know how this works. So, the other part of this is that feeding therapist we had was also an angel mom. She mentioned it to me during our evaluation. The week of her daughter's angelversary, I gave her a pin. I so hoped that we would have some common ground, but couldn't seem to stand on it long enough. Another thing I've noticed, almost all of my son's feeding therapists have had some kind of eating disorder in the past. Anyway, she was a really nice person, but I'm tired of going through the motions of therapy. The OT offered to help more with transitions (and probably a crash course in ABA) to help her, but I declined. I want my son treated by therapists who already know how to work with him. I don't want him to be somebody's test subject or research project. I don't think I'll ever look at chocolate chips the same way again.
Wow, just wow! I'm getting ticked off reading about this. It's a giant pet peeve of mine when people don't respect my time. That was a huge issue I had with Early Intervention. Second, if I asked a therapist not to do something and she directly went against my wishes, it shows she doesn't respect my parenting choices. That would be it. That part about the peanut butter is hilarious. I laughed over the peanut butter with the Spanish comment. Obviously, this woman does not get what it's like to have a child with special needs.
Unfortunately, finding a therapist or doctor is kind of like dating. Sometimes you have to kiss a few frogs before you find a prince. I hope you didn't get warts from this one. :)
This seems like it would be incredibly frustrating. Additionally, I would be angry for my wishes being dismissed. If T is anything like Charlie, the next time he does something he'll want a bag of chocolate chips.
I don't know about feeding therapists. The last one Charlie saw over the summer traumatized. Each time Charlie walked in the building (she attends other clinics in the building) she immediately screamed out "No eating!" We've had much better luck with OTs working on the feeding.
I hope finding another feeding therapist goes well. I hope who ever it is turns out being a good fit for you guys. Hang in there.
Many hugs (and soon they will be in person!),
Hi there. I'm sorry to hear that things have been so challenging with these therapists. I think I would have nailed the woman too for doing something that didn't align with your methods. Here's hoping that you find that prince, as Rebecca so aptly described.
sorry your having to go through all this. I hope you find a therapist that "fits". Nicki
I am so sorry for all the frustration you are dealing with here. I hope that you can find the right fit for you and T!
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