As I sat watching this little girl practice kicking a ball in front of our house, it suddenly occurred to me. This tiny little 4-year-old has met with and worked with more therapists in her short life than most adults have. Since the age of two she has encountered speech therapists, physical therapists, psychologists, special educators, you name it.
That wasn’t the part that struck me the most though. At this point, it’s just so much a part of our journey, we tend to not even think twice about it. What stuck with me during this particular therapy session was an overwhelming sense of gratitude.
I stood there watching them work together, and it hit me just how thankful I am for the therapists who make it easy. The ones who make it easy on this tiny little person in front of them and who make it easy for the bigger person standing behind them. The ones who treat you like an equal. The ones who see this as more than just a job.
It’s easy to spot them—the ones who truly love what they do. In our case, we are so fortunate to have someone like that in our daughter’s world. She perfectly walks the line between making it fun and making it functional. Between pushing our daughter to her limits but not pushing her over the edge. She delicately balances talking to me as a professional in her field, but also as a mom herself.
She’s creative and thinks outside the box. It’s clearer and clearer every session how much thought and effort she puts into it. Every week is tailored not only to our daughters’ physical needs but also to her interests and the things that excite her. Our daughter lights up with excitement on therapy days knowing her “friend” is coming to play.
But it’s more than that. It’s more than the games and activities. It’s the fact that she constantly goes above and beyond. She worries alongside me about the things that technically don’t need to be her concern. She’s there for physical therapy—she could easily complain that my daughter struggles to focus more often than not. But she never does. Instead, she brings extra tools to help work on her attention with her. To help better my daughter not just in her specific field but as an overall person.
Having a child with various medical concerns, regardless of their severity, means we are often faced with doctors and specialists who are single-minded. Who are there simply to work within their zone and focus only on the issue that is theirs to tackle. We are used to it, and we get it. But it also makes us so much more grateful for the ones who understand how important it is to look at the whole picture.
I’m thankful for the kind of therapists who talk us through IEPs and evaluations. Who give us a glimpse into what’s coming ahead so we can always be prepared. Who give us insight on local schools and helps us figure out what extracurriculars are really worth the time (and money). I’m thankful for the therapists who are there to listen to every single one of my concerns, relevant or not, and hear them out without complaint.
These people go overlooked so often. They slip right through the cracks. I’ll be the first to admit being guilt of that too. But not today. Today it was not lost on me how grateful I am to have someone in our world who makes things just a little bit easier for all of us.