I read a flyer yesterday about Dr Andrew Whitehouse giving a public forum in Perth on ‘complementary and alternative therapies’. It got me thinking about all the therapies I have read about, talked about, learned about, used and seen used with my son, particularly when I lived in the USA. I still remember the first time someone said ‘ABA’ to me after my son’s diagnosis. I remember thinking ‘where have I been all my life that after 33 years on the planet I have never heard of this before?!’
Little did I know it was only the beginning of words and acronyms, theories and ideas I had never heard about before. I have to admit for about a year or so after diagnosis I dived head first into the ocean of tests, tools and treatments. I read about them and talked to anyone and everyone I could. I certainly didn’t get to all that is out there, but I did get to a few.
Social Communication, Early Start Denver Model, Hanen training, Millar Method, Sensory Integration, GF/CF foods, incidental teaching, prompt hierarchy, functional behaviour analysis, ABA, AVB, DTT, PRT, DIR/flootime, RDI, biomedical therapies and specific strategies for feeding, toileting, sleeping, community outings, daily living skills, and social skills. I heard that therapies should be evidenced based, and I also heard about hyperbaric chambers and chelation therapy. The testing tools blew my mind also, the WPPSI, Mullen, ADOS, DSM 1V, Vineland, ADI, CARS, and M-CHAT. I had to sort through it all and sort out fact from fiction. It was the steepest learning curve of my life to say the least.
Then one night during this time my husband was looking around for another pillow after we had gone to bed. When I asked him what he was doing, he said he was getting another pillow because he needed some extra sensory input! I laughed so hard I nearly fell out of bed!
It was the first time I had heard him use ‘therapy speak’. That’s the deal with therapy and treatments. It doesn’t account for your partner making an innocent comment and making you laugh so hard that the stress and pressure just fades away for a little while. I need to be reminded from time to time that we are all going to get through this, that I love my little family and that me, my hubby and my son are doing the very best we can.