A Parent’s Perspective in Raising Neurodiverse Boys

Tell me a little about your family.

Hi, I’m Amy. I’m the mom to 4 wild boys, ages 11, 7, 6, and 3. Three of our children are neurodiverse and two were adopted from foster care. 

When and why did you start to notice a difference and seek support from an OT?

We’ve had occupational therapy in our lives since my oldest was a baby. He was a preemie and needed support when he was tiny and we actually just brought him in for another OT evaluation last month! My 7yo and 3yo have had OT involved in their lives since they were infants. My 7yo was the most difficult baby to calm and I’m an oldest child and former childcare provider, so I knew all of the tricks! We really struggled through the first year, and when he was a year old, OT came onto the scene. They recommended trialing compression gear with him and it was like a switch flipped, and everyone could breathe for a moment. Within a few days we knew that OT would be with us for a long time. He’s since told me that he hates all of the typical things you do to calm a baby, gentle swaying, patting their back, shushing in their ear…he’ll forever be our question mark. Our youngest needed OT for feeding support as a newborn, and started at Galvin Therapy around age 2 when he was having a difficult time swinging and struggling with his body in space, those are still struggles, but they’ve lessened. He’s working with them on other skills now too.

What are the most challenging aspects as the parents of a child with developmental/behavioral challenges?

The most challenging aspect of parenting a neurodiverse child is feeling alone, having well-meaning friends or family members of neurotypical kids minimize what you’re going through by commiseration, or even feeling like your children’s needs are somehow your fault, or you could have prevented them with better parenting. It’s been especially hard for all of us with the pandemic and being home and together all of the time. 

What have you found to be the most beneficial part of therapy? Biggest achievement?

The most beneficial part of therapy is having someone that can help us make life better. Kara is like an extra family member that my sons trust and is awesome at helping us figure out how to solve the hard times. My son’s biggest achievements are being able to recognize and name his emotions during the hard moments, and watching him utilize his skills to help himself calm down. It’s not every time, but I’ll accept any less meltdowns.

What message would you like to share with other families considering OT?

If there is anything you’re questioning about your child’s gross or fine motor development, or quirky things that you and older family members or experienced mom friends can’t figure out related to food, clothing, or getting something on their hands, contact Galvin Therapy Center. It’s life changing having a person in your corner that understands your child’s intricacies, and that can help you solve the problems as a part of the team.

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