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Old 10-16-2010, 07:35 AM
 
74 posts, read 180,158 times
Reputation: 108

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So--I have two children--one of whom is special needs. I have noticed that well meaning friends seem to think they have an open invitation to offer advice on anything from therapies to techniques etc. Mostly, I tolerate this good naturedly.....and typically I am confident that we are doing a solid job of maintaining our child's dignity, supporting her needs, etc etc. She is happy, confident and delightful in many ways.

However....

Yesterday I went to see a family therapist for the first time and spent some time talking about the challenges I face in supporting her. I was candid and in my opinion, perceptive about my opportunities for improvement...namely because this child is not always easy to understand. Our child is perceptive and asks piercing questions and my husband and I have always tried to be honest in an age appropriate way. But she stumps us with her questions, observations and insights. We don't always know the right things to say--or how to help her navigate tricky social interactions. It is why we are seeking help!

So I told the therapist about a conversation we had with our child--to illustrate the uniqueness of her thought process. I admitted we were stumped as to what was the most appropriate way to manage her incredibly adult like perception about things.

What surprised me was the therapist response..... SHe raised her eyebrows and saod that WE were unduly burdening her with adult issues. In the heat of the moment, I agreed because I am the adult and I also felt unease about these conversations. She basically said "Well it is obvious you are putting things into her "child bucket" that are basically "adult bucket" materials. In the moment, I got exactly what she was saying but it felt like a bit of a slap and I had no idea why..... The word made perfect sense; her demeanor however..... I don't know..... I walked away thinking she believes us to be the initiator of these conversations. I felt like Betty Draper walking out of there--like the childlike mother who puts her own ego ahead of her childs.

It wasn't until I got home that I started realizing that 1) I would never INTRODUCE these deep subjects (death, afterlife, love, etc etc) with my child--in fact, I don't ever discuss this with our other child because it doesn't come up. 2) Our delving into these things with her is strictly reactive to her thought processes and 3) I sought help PRECISELY because we don't quite know the right way to manage it---and we want support in how we talk to her. I identified the problem; not the therapist. Yet, she acted like she had a huge insight that I was blind to.....

SO

I am going to continue going to this therapist--and will retain an open mind. My only take away is that if I was parenting only our neuro-typical son, no one would ever perceive me as "overinvolved" or "unduly burdening" or "anxious"---all labels that I have heard related to ME by well meaning professionals and friends. NONE of whom get the fact that I am NONE of those things when it comes to our other child because the situation with him does not call for it!

Do you ever feel this way?
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Old 10-17-2010, 01:56 PM
 
Location: Interior AK
4,729 posts, read 8,637,848 times
Reputation: 3359
From my personal experiences with therapists... ditch the one that has little or no experience with ASD and find one that does. Not that NT therapists don't have great and wonderful insight, because they do; but they are completely out of their league when it comes to the quirks of an ASD mind. It's like trying to give someone directions using the wrong map.

I've had (NT) therapists leave me feeling guilty and vaguely "wrong" for being and thinking my Aspergers way... because, well, compared to an NT we're abnormal, so the therapist is trying to "fix" us and make use "normal". That's their job and how they've been trained for the most part. A truly perceptive and receptive therapist, especially one who's worked with ASD patients, is a true blessing and a completely different experience.

As for "child bucket" and "adult bucket" --- pshaw!! Your daughter is intelligent and inquisitive enough to have discovered these things and understand them enough to ask for more information on her own... better she get the honest answers from you, because she'll do the research on her own if it's become a new special interest and she may come across related information that is inaccurate or really is outside her maturity level.
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Old 10-17-2010, 05:33 PM
 
18,852 posts, read 31,727,414 times
Reputation: 26118
I would find another therapist if I was you. Did you interview her about her background in special education, and with children who have ASD? Therapists are not to tell you what to do...they listen to you, and assist you with finding your own choices.
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Old 10-17-2010, 06:25 PM
 
74 posts, read 180,158 times
Reputation: 108
Thanks guys---my child is ADHD with other LDs--I am not familiar with your terminology--ASD or NT--can you explain?

This therapist came highly recommended so I may give her a second chance but yes, after the dust settled, the warning bells came on loudly. My gosh if I have to worry about being judged in therapy--forget about it. I am stressed enough. It's like having to worry that my cleaning lady is going to think less of me because she thinks I am messy!!!!!!! :-)
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Old 10-17-2010, 06:33 PM
 
Location: Interior AK
4,729 posts, read 8,637,848 times
Reputation: 3359
Sorry about that.

ASD = Autism Spectrum Disorder, the entire range from high-functioning to drastically impaired
NT = neuro-typical (i.e. "normal"), someone without autism or learning/developmental difficulties

Given your description, I assumed your daugther was on the autism spectrum... and she may be, ADHD plus one or more LDs is a common combination in undiagnosed/misdiagnosed ASD cases. Not saying that she is, just that she might be and that wouldn't be uncommon.
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Old 10-17-2010, 06:36 PM
 
Location: Coastal New Jersey
56,107 posts, read 54,597,263 times
Reputation: 66503
Quote:
Originally Posted by MommaBear2Cubs View Post
So--I have two children--one of whom is special needs. I have noticed that well meaning friends seem to think they have an open invitation to offer advice on anything from therapies to techniques etc. Mostly, I tolerate this good naturedly.....and typically I am confident that we are doing a solid job of maintaining our child's dignity, supporting her needs, etc etc. She is happy, confident and delightful in many ways.

However....

Yesterday I went to see a family therapist for the first time and spent some time talking about the challenges I face in supporting her. I was candid and in my opinion, perceptive about my opportunities for improvement...namely because this child is not always easy to understand. Our child is perceptive and asks piercing questions and my husband and I have always tried to be honest in an age appropriate way. But she stumps us with her questions, observations and insights. We don't always know the right things to say--or how to help her navigate tricky social interactions. It is why we are seeking help!

So I told the therapist about a conversation we had with our child--to illustrate the uniqueness of her thought process. I admitted we were stumped as to what was the most appropriate way to manage her incredibly adult like perception about things.

What surprised me was the therapist response..... SHe raised her eyebrows and saod that WE were unduly burdening her with adult issues. In the heat of the moment, I agreed because I am the adult and I also felt unease about these conversations. She basically said "Well it is obvious you are putting things into her "child bucket" that are basically "adult bucket" materials. In the moment, I got exactly what she was saying but it felt like a bit of a slap and I had no idea why..... The word made perfect sense; her demeanor however..... I don't know..... I walked away thinking she believes us to be the initiator of these conversations. I felt like Betty Draper walking out of there--like the childlike mother who puts her own ego ahead of her childs.

It wasn't until I got home that I started realizing that 1) I would never INTRODUCE these deep subjects (death, afterlife, love, etc etc) with my child--in fact, I don't ever discuss this with our other child because it doesn't come up. 2) Our delving into these things with her is strictly reactive to her thought processes and 3) I sought help PRECISELY because we don't quite know the right way to manage it---and we want support in how we talk to her. I identified the problem; not the therapist. Yet, she acted like she had a huge insight that I was blind to.....

SO

I am going to continue going to this therapist--and will retain an open mind. My only take away is that if I was parenting only our neuro-typical son, no one would ever perceive me as "overinvolved" or "unduly burdening" or "anxious"---all labels that I have heard related to ME by well meaning professionals and friends. NONE of whom get the fact that I am NONE of those things when it comes to our other child because the situation with him does not call for it!

Do you ever feel this way?
I don't have a special-needs child, and it's quite possible you've got a bad therapist. Not everyone jibes with their therapist and may have to find a different one. I have had quite a bit of therapy, however, and it involved how I was raising my child as well as other issues.

However, first bear in mind what therapy IS. It's not advice, not mainly anyway. It's a mirror of sorts to reflect back at you how you see the world. Do you often see others as judgemental of how you are raising your child? If so, the therapist may have picked up on this and is bringing this out for you to see.

Remember the number one rule of therapy: If your therapist doesn't **** you off at some point, the therapy isn't working. The whole POINT of therapy is to make you learn something about yourself.
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Old 10-19-2010, 11:13 AM
 
Location: lumberton, texas
652 posts, read 2,458,795 times
Reputation: 254
I think while your trying to keep an open mind, you should tell the therapist what you felt and thought after the session. See what happens after that.

I have felt criticized and judged many of times throughout parenting both my NT child and my son with special needs. In the end though, I know that I am doing the best I can for my kids and much better than the average parent. If anything though I am typically criticized for doing and thinking to much. I think most people (myself included) have the best of intentions in mind. Either they truly have info that they think will help or they are just trying to connect in some way. The way I typically try to look at it (even when they get irratating) is that it never hurts to have to much information. even if you think it is a bunch of crazy unusable stuff, you may find down the road it is worth thinking about.
My 2 cents about your child asking questions that dont seem age appropriate:

I (like you i think) have always believed in answering all questions as honestly as possible in the most age appropriate way as I can. For the most part this has worked well for me. sometimes that changes though. just yesterday my almost 15 yo daughter asked when I lost my virginity. I was of course stumped and it took a little bit to come up with an answer.
anyway that is a different story. but I wouldnt put it past my 9 yr old boy who was recently diagnose with aspergers to ask the same question. I've had to change my way of thinking many times with him. My favorite use to be when you are old enough to read and google you can find the answer! lol
cant do that anymore. I am lucky enough though that he trusts me and understands when I give him a somewhat basic answer and tell him that he needs to be a little older before he knows the rest. I dont know how old your child is but unless you keep them in a locked room you cannot keep away everything that is traditionally supposed to be in the "adult bucket".
hope I didnt ramble to much. bad habbit.
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Old 10-19-2010, 09:39 PM
 
Location: Hampton, VA
287 posts, read 490,536 times
Reputation: 171
Well, for one, I would not accept a therapist that seemed to put you down or make you feel bad. And definitely not one that says things like "child bucket" and "adult bucket". Unless you're child is 2, then maybe that might be appropriate...but that still sounds weird. One thing that my daughter's in-home therapist has made me realize is that therapy is for you and your child. If YOU are not comfortable, you have the right to find someone who you are comfortable with. No one is going to be helped by someone who makes them feel that way and no one is going to want to talk and work with someone who they aren't comfortable with.
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Old 10-21-2010, 11:57 AM
 
74 posts, read 180,158 times
Reputation: 108
Thank you all so much for taking the time to reply! I read each and every response and took it all to heart. I appreciate it. We will go bak one more time and yes, I think I am going to be forthcoming about how I felt. I have nothing to lose by being honest.

I appreciate your perspectives!!Would write more but have no time!
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Old 10-21-2010, 01:03 PM
 
Location: Kansas
19,185 posts, read 15,031,058 times
Reputation: 18249
Personally, I would try to find parents that are actually dealing with and have dealt with the issues you are facing. Therapists, in my opinion, have no more a clue, maybe less then you do about how to address your child. I see the best therapy across the board come from peers. I have son with Down syndrome who is 24 years old. Have we been judged for our choices? You bet especially by school personnel and people that didn't have a clue, for instance, because he did not speak, someone told me that I needed to make him say "drink" or "water" or not let him have any and he would talk - OK and no, I knew better than to follow that and just sort of brushed that person off. The thing is that other people can tell you how/what you should be doing but, in the moment, I still think as long as you have the basics for a decent parent in general, you will do OK and OK is good. Think peers, those dealing with the same situation and you should easily be able to connect with them and find out what is working. Adult "bucket" and child "bucket", those are new terms. You know, my husband's stepmother, in her reference for us as adoptive parents, mentioned that she felt that we treated our 9 year old more like an adult than a child. He was a very mature, intelligent and an only child at the time. I told the social worker that I felt that a parent's job was to prepare a child to be an adult. We were approved to adopt. The stepmother's children, 1 never left home, 2 that left divorced and remained alone and another just limped along. My son with DS functions as a pre-schooler and I continue to get advice as they feel he should move out of town and live in a group home. I just removed him from the day center and am addressing abuse/neglect with the State. Feel it out with your heart.
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