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When You’re Wondering If Your Child Is Too Busy With Therapies

Not too long ago, we were featured as one of the 22 Resolutions Special Needs Parents are Making for 2016. All of these were great, and I was so glad they chose to include ours. I was #8: “To take some time to just breathe. To let them just be kids and let me just be their mom.” I wrote that with such high ambitions for the year.

When I think of the progress my older son has made since we started this journey about this time last year, I am so proud. But sometimes I have to think, how much therapy is too much? Anyone who knows my boys knows there is no shortage of play, outside time, marble time, whatever time. But still, sometimes I feel like no 4-year-old should have a schedule like this.

It’s a hard balance to figure out which therapies are right for your child. If you’re seeing progress, why even consider there are too many? The more I think about it, the more I begin to think perhaps I am being selfish. Perhaps I am struggling with what I wish life looked like — what every mom has in her head as the ideal life: play dates, free time (ha) and naps (ha).

boy wearing black jacket looking up
Casey’s son

My sons have tons of playtime every single day, and now we are lucky enough to have obtained the services we fought so hard for: applied behavior analysis, speech therapy, occupational therapy, developmental preschool, the list goes on. Each and every single one of those things I fought for with tears and phone calls, evaluations, the long waits, appeals and finally approvals. And you know what? These things are helping them. They are doing new things they were not able to, no matter what I tried. They are having (supervised) peer time, learning to regulate themselves and their emotions, and best of all, they are talking more and more each day.

Once again, I have to take a step back and think about my resolution. Maybe I need to remember what it means to be their mom before I can resolve to “let me just be their mom.” I already know being their mom means you never know what to expect. The atmosphere and game plan changes by the minute. You may be rejoicing that he is trying new foods at feeding therapy, and then suddenly he’ll be diagnosed with another rare disease and have to eliminate eight entire food types. It means laughter and tears and constantly changing demeanors. It means watching little boys trying to figure out how to navigate the world, sometimes in the most exceptional ways.

I already am “just their mom.” I already love them more than I could ever express and more than I ever knew possible, hard times and all. They most certainly are already “just being kids.” I can see them across the room playing cars, waiting for me to finish so we can go out and play. I do need to “take some time to just breathe;” most special needs parents do. I say almost every day, how can I remember the six medicines he has to take every day in different forms and at different times but I can’t ever remember my one nighttime allergy pill? We do an excellent job of taking care of our kids, but maybe not quite so good a job of taking care of ourselves.

So maybe my resolution should have been to take some time and just breathe and to accept that our life is fine as it is, packed schedules and all. It’s better than fine. We learn as we go, with mistakes and triumphs. Our life is blessed, each and every minute that we have together.

The Mighty is asking the following: What’s one wish you have for the upcoming new year related to your experience with disability, disease or mental illness? If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to [email protected] Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.