Thursday, 18 February 2010

Promiscuous parents?

Shopping around

Just over a week ago Conductive World reported on a parent-blogger's posting, from Jennifer in the USA:

This caused a minor kerfluffle in comments on the original posting:

Jennifer is a sharp lady and in the last week has checked out and seen straight through something called 'brain-based therapy', an amusing and revealing post in its own right:

A Feydeau farce

The issue here, though, was the plethora of 'therapies' that she has accumulated notwithstanding. She is not alone. Just days ago another entertainingly salutary parent-blog dropped into my mail box, from Brenda, also in the USA:

I particularly like her metaphor of having multiple therapists as being like trying to juggle a life with several lovers...

Conductive Education, which I totally believe in, which has overtaken my basement with wooden furniture, and which sucks my money out of my account, but I see the most promise with. They want me to date them exclusively. No exceptions. CE believes that if he and I are exclusive, my life will be full and functional and independant. But how do I keep Occupational Therapy happy when Maclain has to sit at a plinth for eating and playing, where he is not totally supported, which OT says we need for him to learn to maximize his fine motor skills. And what about PT? They would love to have Maclain in a stander so he can bear weight on his legs, and a walker that will help him be independant. CE would slap me if they heard me mention those things. But I become confused when I try to balance the value of Maclain learning how to walk one day on his own, but giving up his ability to explore his environment on his own in a walker that he can use by himself. And then we have AVT therapy which wants me to focus on having Maclain listen, but which requires me to narrate my entire day, use visual reinforcement and now tactile input to help him develop language, which needs to happen in an environment where he doesn't have to work on anything but listening. That would almost involve me doing no other therapy but AVT if I one day hope to have Maclain talk. And I didn't even mention the time I spend setting up doctor appointments, assessments, pre-school meetings. Oh, and we are going to start trialing a communication system soon, so there is another person we will be dating.

If this were truly a dating situation, I think I would break it off and just be single!

Her son Maclain is a little older than Brenda's Roa, and mother Brenda, has achieved a certain modus vivendi of sorts and is perhaps beginning to sense the possible benefits of settling for Mr Right and becoming a one-guy gal:

So my latest struggle is how to make CE a part of our day, while trying to make sure that we have the appropriate "equipment" for Maclain. And how we work in all of the other things we need to practice in a day while working through our new CE schedule. Oh, and did I mention that I also have another son and a husband? Just saying.....

I tell you, if I wasn't already crazy, I would have no trouble getting there in a hurry. To make a really informed choice, the she really ought to know more about him, get to know his upbringing side...

Maybe stay at home a bit and read agood book (Dina), certainly hunt down, meet and talk with others who have found happiness on the same road...

Too many cooks

Both these recent examples come from the United States but they do not represent a specifically American phenomenon. It goes on around the world and was already common when I came into 'physical disability' some thirty years ago. Nor of course is it specifically a matter of physical disability, witness the amazing array of products and services' on sale in the booming 'autism' market.

I seems to flourish especially when there is no perceivedly effective paradigm on offer, for understanding or intervention, from established ('official') systems of provision. People are understandably disappointed, puzzled, frustrated, desperate, and – as far as their resources allow, and sometimes beyond that – they shop around.

Did you know that some (a few) of the more worldly evaluators of service-effectiveness, those who take a more psychosocial perspective of the processes that they are investigating, use 'shopping around' for yet further interventions as a simple quantifiable index of services' effectiveness? The less people shop around, then perhaps the more satisfactory the service received, and the more they shop around...

Feuerstein's finger

My take on this is very like Reuven Feuerstein's finger of blame. When a child fails to learn or to behave,we should never point a finger at the child .Instead we should turn it round, and blame ourselves, and set to working out what we could de more, or better, or different – or not at all..

Similarly, where people shop around for more and different sernet and comtinually novel services, howver implausible the basis for their claims, we (society) should not point the finger of blame, pathologising them, as some professionals do, as feckless,  'pushy' parents, 'middle-class mums' etc. . Rather, we should force that finger of blame back upon ourselves, and seek to find what it is that we do – or do not do – that pushes parents out to act in this way.

And the only effective way to give people peace and calm in bringing up their children? Something that hands back control of their children's upbringing, and restores confidence and hope...

Sound familiar?

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