Fighting for the Children
When we hear that children have autism, speech impediments, or a learning disability, it’s assumed that the child will automatically get the help that they need. Truth be told, it’s often an uphill battle for the parents to get those much-needed therapies and assistance. There are still stigmas and reluctance to actually take care of those who are deemed “abnormal.” For the newly disabled or newly diagnosed, the first year can be incredibly difficult as they navigate their own journey with new challenges and a battle in the able-bodied and able-minded world.
Why Aren’t Resources Available?
The assumption that resources are available is due to the fact that we know that the child is not alone in their diagnosis. Most often when resources are not available, it’s because the school or doctor’s office is underfunded and understaffed. Many speech therapists work long distance and online with children because their district cannot afford to hire someone to be at the school. When the school needs a therapist for one or a small number of children, the expense may then be deemed “unjustified.” We see this happen a lot in rural and poverty-ridden areas across the country. If you are lucky enough to live in a developed area with resources, you may still find families fighting for resources because they are now competing with many children who need the same resources.
How Can We Get a Speech Therapist at School?
All special needs children are entitled to an Individualized Education Program (IEP) because of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). If a school is not cooperating with a family’s needs, they will need to hire a lawyer that specializes in special education rights. This can be an exhausting, financially and emotionally, for any family and child who is lacking in services. If you are starting your career or looking for a change, consider reaching out to schools where they have a need that is not being fulfilled. Talking with the school board and fighting for those children could work in your favor and provide work that will fulfill your soul.
What Are the Other Options?
When things take longer than they should, suggest support groups to the family so that they can get advice and feel supported. If you are unaware of any groups in the area, suggest they check online and find some local groups or statewide groups. The great thing about these groups is that they can learn from other parents how to best handle the situation. They can also recommend computer apps, games, and websites that can help them begin the therapy at home before they can get affordable professional help. Having support from other moms and dads who have been there can help keep the families from doing anything that is unnecessary and make their journey just a little bit easier.
Believe it or not, some parents have had to go public when they are met with brick walls and a refusal to assist. It’s always a last resort, but if they aren’t getting help then it’s time to grab some public support through interviews with the local newspaper or television station. Some parents are not a fan of this method, and we certainly understand why. Putting yourself in the local limelight will open everyone up to criticism by folks who think they know better than you or your doctor. Many people who have resorted to this sort of method have suffered from torment but also have gotten the help their child has needed. If you are able, provide your own voice of support for services needed!
For the therapists who like to think outside the box & innovate, there are many children that may need therapy but can’t receive it in person. That’s where teletherapy comes in. Join the technology revolution by checking out our career opportunities here!