We are often asked by our clients, “How bad is it (our loved one’s disability) ?”   The answer is It doesnt matter what we see clinically.  If you live with disabilities, the person under your roof is the most important, profound and clinically significant case in the world. 

Your journey is a marathon, not a sprint.  Someday, the marathon may evolve into a relay.  We wanted to share an article from The New York Times  (October 5, 2012) on a timeless subject for families living with disabilities. 

“Assuring the Care of a Family Member With Special Needs” by Ron Lieber



A first grader is struggling with reading and his behavior has become more challenging for his parents and teachers. The teacher asks the school counselor for ideas. The counselor talks with the student and creates a rewards system which does not help. The teacher refers him to the Campus Response to Intervention (RTI) Team who recommends small group reading with the Reading Teacher. The reading teacher’s remark on his progress report are “He has acquired recognition of short vowel sounds for the letters “A” and “O” but is having difficulty following directions”. The RTI Team reconvenes and recommends continuing small group support and a Dyslexia Evaluation. The Dyslexia Teacher’s tests point toward “inadequate phonological skills” but he does not qualify for Dyslexia Support Services.

His parents are frantic with worry and they ask their pediatrician for advice. The pediatrician is aware of the school interventions but is reluctant to prescribe medication. Instead, he refers them to a Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) for a comprehensive evaluation. The results of the evaluation indicate “underlying language deficits necessary to develop reading skills”. The SLP recommends language therapy to develop pre-reading strategies.What If the pediatrician referred his parents to a Therapist instead of an SLP? The therapist meets with the family, the child, parents and teachers. She then recommends sessions with the child focusing on social skills and coping strategies; and separate sessions on parenting skills with Mom and Dad. The SLP saw a delay of language development in the child’s story while the Therapist saw a mismatch between the child and parenting skills as well as a developmental gap in his social skills.

While each one offers the family important information, they are not mutually exclusive. A licensed and certified SLP is a trained professional in all facets of communication: physiological-pronunciation, stuttering, and hearing; language content- comprehension and expression. A Licensed Therapist is a trained professional in mental health: heighten personal awareness; identify feelings, thoughts and behaviors; build and strengthen communication and interpersonal skills. While both professions focus on sending and receiving messages, their point of reference leads to work on a different part of the story.

What if the family chose to work with both professionals………?

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