Thursday, March 13, 2008

Moving will be Bittersweet

Yes, we will be leaving the Big Bend. This has been our home for more than 4 years now. We moved here before Sam's first birthday, so he's about to celebrate his 5th birthday here in the park. We've had the greatest backyard a family could have. We have friends that are incredibly hard to leave behind. I can't entirely explain all of our reasons for leaving. There's the whole park service truism: move onward to move upward; we've been here a while now. I think the biggest reason is Sam. We moved here for him, so he could grow up living inside a national park. Some of Eric's greatest early childhood memories are of living with his family in Yellowstone, where his dad was a seasonal park ranger. But this means we also have to be willing to leave for Sam. He needs more than what he can get here. So we chose a park in a small town with large city benefits nearby. We chose a town with a good school system, and best of all, regular speech and occupational therapies available. Sam's made huge strides, but he's got such a long way to go, and he needs everything we can give him. I've worked with him as much as possible, but I'm his Mama. He needs a real SLP to do the therapy, and once every three weeks isn't cutting it; it never has. His current therapy schedule goes against everything I learned in college during my clinical work. He's on a monitoring schedule, not a therapy schedule, and that's how it's been since he started. Now the Coop that I used to work for is going to start using 'teletherapy'. This is, I think, where an aide will assist Sam at the school, and his SLP will monitor/direct via satelite uplink. Given that Sam has a sensory integration issue, I think this is going to be disasterous. Heck, I'd be against it for any kid. I'm vehemently opposed to my son being a guinea pig for this. The parent letter I received in the mail stated, "studies have shown it to be as effective" as regular therapy. Hah! Did they cite any of the studies? Nope. I'm willing to bet I could find 5 studies for every one they had stating the opposite. I do owe Sam's SLP an apology. I vented and took my frustrations out on her when she called to set up Sam's next therapy session on the 25th. Anyway, I think teletherapy only really makes sense from a managerial point of view. When you have as many miles to cover as the Coop does, and you have a very limited number of therapists available, coming up with ways to cut down on the number of hours your therapists spend on the road instead of in their office or doing therapy does make sense. I should know; I lived that life until I got sick of the driving and 12 hour days. Oh, they'll still have to send someone down in a car - San Vicente ISD doesn't have an aide on staff, let alone anyone qualified to do therapy in concert with someone via satelite, and I never did convince any of them that it was faster and shorter to drive through Marathon and down 385 (94 miles instead of 110, 1 hour 40 minutes instead of 2.25 hours).

So where are we moving to? Chickasaw National Recreation Area. Sulphur, Oklahoma.
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