How I became a better therapist
Hi. Welcome to my lil ole blog. I hope you have enjoyed all of the recipes I have posted and continue to post. Inspiring others to eat plant foods and make colorful plates so you can fuel your body in a way to thrive is a passion of mine, but my daytime job is a pediatric speech-language pathologist. I love LOVE what I do. I am so thankful that I get to wake up and work with these sweet babies and their amazing parents.
When I moved to Charleston, I started working at the Disabilities Board (thanks to my bestie Katie) as an Early Interventionist. I provided Family Training for families of children with developmental delays and other special needs. I went into homes on a weekly basis to help families learn how to work on their child’s developmental skills and to help make some stressful daytime routines a little bit easier for them. I loved this job! I worked with PTs, OTs, and SLP’s as well. I knew immediately that I wanted to go back to grad school to become a speech-language pathologist. Whew…it was a lot of work, a few years later I had graduated, landed a fellowship, and was doing exactly what God wanted me to be doing.
During grad school something happened that changed me in a big way. I became pregnant and had our first child, a little boy. I will never forget that pregnancy because I was so sick but also so happy all at the same time. I remember feeling excited but a little overwhelmed that I was going to be responsible for a tiny human in just 9 months. I remember feeling the first kicks. The bond created during pregnancy is hard to explain but I loved our little nugget from the beginning. My husband and I talked a lot about what we thought he would look like, act like, activities he would enjoy as he got older, etc. I am so thankful I was able to experience it all, even as sick as I was. The feeling I have for my child is like no other.
Before I became a parent, I thought I had a clue about parenthood. I thought I understood how the families that I worked with felt. I thought I had a good grasp on what their life was like on daily basis but when I became a Mom I realized I really had no clue. I realized I never really took the time to truly “see” what these parents were going through or even try to put myself in their situation. I would go into their homes and I was kind and compassionate, but I would give them activities to work on for that week that they probably honestly had no time to do. I would get frustrated when I came back the next week and they had not worked on what we talked about. I would miss signs that maybe they didn’t care if “Amy” wasn’t signing “more” or “all done” this week because they had not slept in a week and they were just trying to make it through the morning. I would miss signs that maybe they just needed to vent or laugh about something or talk about ALL of the amazing, positive things happening in their child’s life.
Once I became a parent I started to treat differently in my therapy sessions. One of the ways I’ve changed is by starting each session by asking about the family’s week. This opens the door to talk about what is going on in their life and how they are doing with everything. The difference: I get to know the family better, see what their life is like every day, find out what is important to them, hear about their struggles and their victories, learn about their culture, and create such a meaningful bond with these families.
To all of the families I work with:
I see how much you love your lil ones. I see how proud you are of them and I hope you are proud of yourself for being an amazing parent. I see how you advocate for your child. I see you heat your coffee for the 10th time while your toast from breakfast is still in the toaster. I see you worry and stress and cry; I’ve cried with you. I see you want so much for your lil one. I see how you somehow balance therapy sessions, doctor’s visits, siblings, a husband, work, house stuff, medicines, etc. I see how much you research and ask questions, so you have the knowledge to do what you feel is best for your child. I see you show appreciation for me and the other therapists which means so much to us. I see you sometimes hanging on for dear life, but you still do it with grace. You got this! All of this hard work is worth it, and you are one beautiful parent!
Becoming a parent made me a better therapist and I am so thankful for that. I am inspired daily by the sweet families I work with and I am grateful for that.