There was a time when saying “I’m seeing my therapist” wasn’t spoken for fear you’d be judged. Later those same words would come to be a fad, a hip thing to be doing, a norm in society. Whether it’s solving marital problems, childhood issues or trauma, to gaining motor skills, speech, or cognitive function, therapy became necessary for so many people. The list of therapy possibilities is endless. Deciding what will work for you or your child is a huge decision and often costly. As a parent of a child with special needs, therapy is obviously something needed in our house in so many ways. The challenge I have is getting it.
In BC, once a child goes into the school system therapy becomes “consult” based. Essentially that means your child doesn’t get hands on therapy from the therapist. Instead they view the child in the school setting and make recommendations to the support staff. The onus then falls on the support worker or other team members to make it happen. The reality is they have very little resources or time to make it happen. Our classrooms are overcrowded, support staff is minimal and the schools are constantly experiencing cut backs. The parent meanwhile gets very little direction on how to proceed at home to support their child’s needs.
In my opinion, consult based therapy puts a huge strain on families and schools. We are forced to do much of the work at home or to search for other means and services to support our children. The financial strain from seeking extra help can be staggering. In some cases, families can get funding from government sources like the At Home Program. The criteria to meet this program cannot be met by so many children that need assistance. Even if your child is on the At Home Program, the costs of extended therapy, travel, etc., are still greater than the assistance provided.
The most common phrase I hear from therapists is “We don’t have the resources” or “Our caseloads are too high.” The biggest reason for this is lack of government funding. We all know money makes this world go around and let’s face it; the world of finance is rockin pretty hard right now and not looking very stable. I guess my beef here is that even when it was looking better, the funds for these services weren’t there. When are our children going to matter in the eyes of this government? I recently learned that organizations providing therapy for children often can’t even fundraise for money to hire extra therapists because they are union. So Union’s play a part in this too? Are you kidding me?
Let’s be wheelistic. In order for our children to receive the appropriate amount of therapy, the system has to change. I believe before our children are supported in that way, the therapists themselves have to be supported with the resources and funding required.
“Does anyone else out there find this to be as poor as system as I do? Any suggestions on how we can come together to change this? “