In the last couple of weeks, I have been vacillating on whether or not to push forward with getting Aiden into ABA, Speech, and Occupational therapies. Following his formal diagnosis late October 2020, I had been looking forward to getting him these services. The thought of my child being reintroduced to these interventions after many years was exciting.
Reality check! Wanting the services and seeking the services, at least the right fit (or so you’d hope), isn’t one and the same. I have found myself many times in the past get so disheartened by the disconnect between the two. And if I am going to be completely honest – my unwavering love for Aiden does not amount to an unwavering patience. I despise the hoops a parent like me must go through to get these supposed “needed” services. And must I go through it every single time?
I phoned numerous providers. One seemed ideal because they provided Occupational and Speech therapies at home. We already homeschool so having the therapists come to our house or do virtual sessions would just be perfect. But, I had to go round and round (and back again) with this provider because each person I spoke with would explain billing to me differently. And one of the ones I spoke with was audacious enough to tell me, “We like to explain these things right from the get-go so the parent can decide whether or not they want the services we provide.” Basically, what she was saying was if I could not afford $250 per session per service for about maybe 2x/week, then I better let them know right from the start. Now, trust me when I say I have good health insurance so I’m pretty sure what she was quoting was wrong. But she insisted on the amount. I gave up and told her I was no longer interested.
I felt as though giving up that easy was not doing right by Aiden. In the succeeding days, between calls to the insurance and talking to two others from the same clinic, we’ve all determined that the lady was absolutely wrong. She was quoting the price for the entire service versus my portion after my insurance pays. After all the back and forth, my insurance authorized the services. The consent has been sitting in my inbox waiting for me to sign. I’ve had it for a week now and I just can’t get myself to sign.
I also found what seemed like a great place for ABA. We scheduled a tour. They wanted a copy of the complete diagnosis because they said if we had it, we can just schedule the assessment right after the tour. So we rescheduled the tour. I made sure all of the paperwork they needed were turned in timely. We completed the tour. Liked it. Nothing too spectacular but it’s hard to judge it just based on a tour. The kids in there seemed happy and they seemed to have the kind of facility we would want for Aiden. Unlike what was agreed upon, we walked out of there without having an assessment scheduled because the director was “out for lunch”.
Two weeks later, they called to say they were ready to schedule the assessment. We scheduled the assessment. One week later, I got another call from them. Turns out, they are short on therapists. They do not want to do the assessment until they’ve hired another one which is “probably” going to be around January 2021. They promised to call me once they’ve hired but not to worry, we are on the wait list along with another family.
I’m sure they will call. I’m just not sure if they will call in January. That part is a maybe. And that is the sad part because Aiden is ten and their max age to serve is ten years old. The longer they take the time to call, the shorter time they would be able to work with Aiden because he will age out of their allowable age range.
At the risk of sounding arrogant, I find myself asking. What is it that a Speech Therapist, an Occupational Therapist, and an ABA Therapist can do that parents like us cannot do? Sure, they have the education and degree to practice such specialties. But so does teachers with Masters and Doctorates. Yet here we are, homeschooling Aiden, successfully. The proof is in the pudding – Aiden has academically improved since we’ve homeschooled him.
What is it going to be? I’m almost decided.
But, I have to know more so I ordered a few books to read up more about Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, and ABA Therapy rationale and techniques. I plan to do more research and I plan to do it quickly. I have to determine whether it’s something that we can do. My best guess is that, a lot of it, we are already doing while parenting and homeschooling. However, making an informed decision sounds a lot better than deciding out of frustration.