Therapy Thursday: Making Your Own Therapy Time


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If you didn’t know, we are in the middle of a pcs (military acronym for moving to a new duty station). Due to the fact we have moved away from our last duty station and therapists and haven’t yet reached our final destination- we have had no therapy of any kind since the start of May. The lack of therapy is starting to show on our kids. The lack of routine and assistance has become an issue. A issue we can not fix until we reach our new duty station. However, no one likes to see their children regress and suffer. To help aid them we have started trying to incorporate their past therapy techniques as we can.

One tip of being on the move with your littles that are missing out on therapy is to talk with your child’s therapist before you move for helpful advice and things you can do on your own to help maintain the levels they have reached.

For example: We talked with Sb’s PT before we moved to see what fun things we can do on the move to help her progression with her coordination. She told us to go to the park and walk her up and down the stairs. She gave us further information on what exactly what to do. But the mere fact we can easily go to a park to do therapy while on vacation or during a move is awesome and more importantly; doable.

Not all therapy is so easily achieved. We don’t stress about what we can’t do and we make sure we do plenty of what we can. In the end everyone is happy. SB and the other spawn get to play and mommy and daddy feel like real parents (Compared to those alien ones that spike horns and carry a sickle when their children misbehave).

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Therapy Thursday: Tricare Changes to Renewing Therapy Services


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Between three children, there are 7 therapists. So there is never a shortage of company at my house. They no longer use the front door and don’t even knock when they walk in through the garage. I like it that way. If they are going to spend more time in my house than my husband, I want them to feel like family. So it was no surprise to me when I received a call after hours from a frantic therapist.

She was bewildered and confused. She explained that Bugs renewal of his referral was denied. Strange due to the fact he has had these services for the last four years and his prescribing doctor had just told us we needed to keep up with Bugs therapy services at our appointment only a week before. I told he therapist I would call our insurance first thing in the morning to figure out what is going on.

I did just that. Insurance explained to me that Tricare now has a new policy in effect for renewing or obtaining services. Before, a therapist would simply do an observation of the patient and send it into the insurance as proof they still needed services. Based solely on the therapists recommendations, Tricare would approve the renewal. However, due to abuse of that policy, Tricare now requires the doctor AND the therapists to both submit reports. This new policy that was not explained to us resulted in two weeks of missed services and numerous phone calls between the doctor, therapist and insurance to make sure everything was done properly.

Therapy Thursday: Does Tricare Cover Pediatric Orthopedics?


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I’m on a new journey with one of my kids. One I have never been on. I thought we had been to every medical specialty there was; from allergy/immunology to oncology. So when we were sent to a pediatric orthopedist I was a little nervous. So nervous, I took along one of my children’s ABAs who could translate for me. My mind tends to go blank during appointments with all the information being thrown at me.

Tip: It’s not uncommon for me to break out my phone to voice record (with everyone’s consent). This way, when I recount the conversations to Hubs he gets a larger picture than just my memory (which we know is crap).

So here we are at a new specialty, with a new kid. But what had gotten us here?

Of course with two dx older siblings SB has been and is watched very closely. Not to mention her brother and sisters rare auto immune diseases; she is tested yearly. So it should have been no surprise when a doctor asked us if we had any concerns with SB; because he did.

Concerns? Well she almost died from RSV at a month old; spent a week in the hospital. She has now developed serious asthma. She didn’t make a sound until this past October, when finally Bugs ABA agreed with me I wasn’t crazy for my concerns and I took her in for a hearing test; which she failed. A month later she has tubes put in and has finally started making some words and nosies. She did the Army crawl for several months before she finally started walking late. Up until that point we always made the joke how she was born with toes that were perfect for sandals. There was almost a inch gap between her big toe and second toe. Little did we know what that physical meant for her.

When she stated walking we figured it out. In my dad’s generation it’s called “pidgon toed”. Nowadays, it is referred to as “in toeing” or tibia torsion Regardless of what you call it- it is where her leg bones below her knees are formed inward. So her knees and feet face in; causing pain, muscle weakness and muscle tightness.

So we (it is hard to get a 2 year old to do pt!) were given pt once a week for a hour at a time. I have seen a difference. However, one hour a week will not correct the problem. After seeing the orthopedic surgeon, she told us the answer was breaking our child’s legs.

Say what?!

Um, yea. Otherwise she said there was no option. Sorry! Don’t agree! And neither does the pt. We are now waiting on a second opinion to come through.

If you read the link you would see where they don’t suggest surgery until after age 8. We are going with these guidelines; however, due to the degree of her condition doing nothing is not an option. I’m sorry, but my parental intuition tells me something can be done to help (not cure) her. Currently she can’t walk up stairs, gets a few bloody noses and a multitude of bloody cuts from falling.

Lucky for us, we are surrounded by some amazing people. SBs pt went to a class last weekend and spoke about SB. There are options for us! We are very excited. Breaking our little girls legs just seemed, so, um, not right? I don’t even have words to explain it. The biggest question is- will Tricare cover it?

We were told by SBs pt that due to us at a peace time, they are more tighter on what they approve. Ehh?

I don’t have an answer. But what I can do it keep you all updated on what will happen. I will find out. And I will share my findings. Until then, wish us luck.

Tricare/Therapy Thursdays: My Child is Diagnosed with ASD. Now What?


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When Bug got diagnosed with PDD-NOS I was completely ignorant to the types of therapy that might help him. I of course had heard of ASD and all its components, but I really didn’t know what there was in types of assistance to help them. My misinformation and misunderstanding was there were none.

I pictured a family with an ASD child like this:

Screaming child…everywhere. Screaming in the house, at the park, in every public location he went to. All his screaming was unintelligible (no, I did not think they were all stupid) because I thought not many of they could actually talk. I thought they went through life in a normal school environment just with the understanding that the child has ASD and there is nothing you can do for them; because there is no cure right? Then I pictured the parents and them crying every night after the child goes to bed because they are beyond tired, worried and stress. They are smelly (the parents not the kids) because they are so busy giving 24 hour attention to the ASD child, they don’t have time to take a shower. So they also have stock in Old Spice and Dove deodorant and their stock portfolio looks amazing. The parents are also so skinny they look like Ethiopian children because their intake of calories isn’t enough compared to the use of calories in a day chasing around an ASD child who can’t speak but sure as heck can run. Lastly, are the siblings. They are druggies, or don’t even live at home because they have run away. If they do live at home, they are never given attention and often are at the receiving end of the abuse from the ASD child, who can’t talk, can run and is violent when he can’t express what he needs; which is all.the.time.

After we got home from the doctors I looked at us and our home. No telling when Bug actually got ASD, but we looked average. I was over-weight, personally well taken care of. Our daughter was happy and healthy as well. Bug could tell us what he needed to a point and our bank account did not reflect income from stocks, since we didn’t even have a portfolio. So I waited. I waited for that shoe to drop. I waited for him to stop talking, for him to start running and for us to wither away to nothingness. But we never did.

Instead, Bug was given an IEP and started at a special education preschool. He thrived. He was the only verbal child in his class and because of that he was a amazing model for his peers. The doctors soon wrote prescriptions for therapy and the influx of therapists started entering our homes and our daily lives. I quickly learned what they all did in terms of helping ASD children. However, it took me some time to get it all down.

When faced with a new diagnosis, it is always overwhelming, even the second time around. With two ASD children, I felt in control and prepared when handed her diagnosis. But I wasn’t. I was less prepared actually. I quickly feel back onto Bug’s therapists for advice and help. And soon I was maneuvering the road down ASD again like a pro. So I thought I’d share some of the foundations of therapy that are often prescribed with a ASD diagnosis. Remember every child is different. I have two ASD children and besides them both receiving ABA, they receive different services.

OT– Occupational Therapists (OT) Autism Speaks describes OT as “brings together cognitive, physical and motor skills. The aim of OT is to enable the individual to gain independence and participate more fully in life”.

PT– Psychical Therapists (PT) “focused on any problems with movement that cause functional limitations,” as stated by Autism Speaks.

Autism Speaks lists speech – encompasses a variety of techniques and addresses a range of challenges for children with autism.

ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis), to me, is the most important type of therapy a child with ASD can receive. Autism Speaks states that “Since the early 1960’s, applied behavior analysis, or ABA, has been used by hundreds of therapists to teach communication, play, social, academic, self-care, work and community living skills, and to reduce problem behaviors in learners with autism.”

All this information and more can be found by visiting Autism Speaks.

Take Me, Or Leave Me


Before you had your own children you saw a screaming kid in a restaurant, hands flailing with a parent trying to bargain a peace treaty. You said to yourself “My kid will never act like that; because I wont let them”. You commented about how the parent should do this, or try that. All the while, the child is still running the show and the patrons out of the restaurant.

After having your own child/children you see a parent who is trying to calm the child whose is screaming and who’s hands are covering their ears because the level of noise we don’t notice… is unbearable to a child with sensory issues. The noise level of the dinners, the clinking of glasses, the occasional plate to crash and hit the floor, the rushing and quick movement of the waiters all sets your child into a state of sensory overload. They are screaming and other patrons are looking with learning eyes; the same looks that you gave once. It hits you and now you understand. Nothing is as simple as it seems from the outside.

Having a child on the Spectrum is never easy. I get asked all the time how I do it. But how do I do what? I am a parent.I keep moving forward. I do what it takes to raise my children as best I can, despite what conditions they have. I will raise my child to be a productive member of society to the best of their ability. Anyone who tries to do less, needs to put the well being of their child first.

Yes, it takes work, and there is a lot of lonely days as a parent. The friends you had are replaced by the ABA’s, respite workers, OT’s, Speech therapists and other additional workers your child requires. When you have two or more children who require all these, the workers double; but if you can manage, sometimes your friends can too. Because they are not just workers who come into your home seven days a week, they are the people who see your dirty laundry (literally at times), who eat meals with your family, and who see you and your children at their worst.

What bothers me most about this lifestyle, is when the few “outsider” friends see this, they assume I have a nanny, a private cook or maid. They assume I have help and two parents become numerous ones to raise one child. At first, even my husband hated the notion of someone coming into our home and working with our child. But after he saw the behavior improve and the life of our child became better; he realized we were still the parents We were still the ones raising our child, disciplining our child and grooming him into the man who we hope he becomes. But without the help of these people, our child would be destined for less. He is reaching his true potential because of these people.

If you know of someone who has workers coming into their home, do not assume their life is easy. In fact, it is harder that you could imagine. My children don’t have regular play dates because they have 12 hours of OT, PT, Speech, ABA therapy a week. Therefore, I don’t get play dates either. My friends I had assume I was a recluse or felt that I had more important things to do. I do, it is called being a parent. I put my children’s needs first. If you can not accept that from me or someone you know, then we don’t have time to make for you. But that’s the catch. If you are accepting and understanding of our lifestyle, then making time to spend with you as a friend, can become the most important.

I learned that for a relationship to work for you, both friends need to see what they can get out of it. It might seem selfish; but its honesty. Is it a private sounding board, a gym buddy, a good story teller, or a every day companion? It takes a lot of energy to maintain a friendship. And having the lifestyle we live, it is important to realize who is a true friend. One who can accept you, your children and your lifestyle. So put your big girl pants on and start accessing those friendships you have. Remember its quality, not quantity.