Corrective Therapy

This morning, a friend of mine with an autistic child linked to this blog article. I read the article and then browsed the blog a while. I’m not here to say what’s true or not about Autism therapies, as I do not have any experience with them, but I see the parallels between PDDs and Speech Delay/Disorder therapy.

” …When I hear people say that an autistic child has to stop echolalia because it socially isolates the child, it sounds like we value the other children’s opinions more than we value the autistic child’s.  If a child’s skin color socially isolated them, we wouldn’t try to change it.  How is being autistic different?” –Mama be Good

I’m interested in reading more about how therapies might damage a child’s self-esteem. As a mom with a 5 year old receiving speech services in a public school setting, it’s important for me to explore all  of the risks and benefits, not to just see the “progress” and accept it as a success. How do we really measure the success of a child, anyway? Their ability to be less different from others? How awful!

My personal barometer for gauging the success of my kids is their happiness, something that is affected directly by how often they might be subject to ridicule. Some people see correcting our children’s differences as an answer to that issue, others choose to build their own child’s self-esteem as protection. What do we do for a child who is different and is possibly outwardly “corrected” by therapy but has had the experience of ridicule and disapproval from adults as a child for behaving differently? This is such an important topic for me.

As we move quickly toward Kindergarten for our middle child and Junior High for our oldest, our family has all of these thoughts on the table, our opinions on how to proceed changing weekly. I want my children to have positive experiences that bolster their esteem, I want to protect them from harm done by other children and also the adults who seek only to help them. I know it’s not coming from a place of mal-intent to offer services to children with learning differences, which makes it all the more confusing navigate.

In short, correction=greater chance of school/social success, at least outwardly. Acceptance= greater chance of feeling secure and unconditionally loved?

These are the thoughts on my mind today, and most days!

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2 thoughts on “Corrective Therapy

  1. i have a child with MERLD — I’m on some of FB networks for NLT and MERLD. What struck me about this post is that the ideas to “correct” children with learning differences are in constant flux but often change for the better over time. I am reminded of how it was once more the norm to change a left handed child to use their right by some pretty extreme measures — this is not so anymore, at least in the Western hemisphere. Perhaps one day, it will be realized children with neurological differences should not be forced to change, but the environment needs to adapt for them so that their natural gifts can be realized, & expressed. Personally, I am a big believer in supporting my child by preserving their self-esteem. This has two parts to it, allowing them to fall so they can rise & protecting them from unreasonable expectations that squash the very essence of who they are.

    • Thanks for your comment. I totally agree, although it has taken me years to this place of absolute acceptance. I WAS that left-handed child who was forced to use right-handed scissors, by the way!

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