There needs to be a universal holiday to honor those who are therapists to children and those in need. Seriously, we need Hallmark cards that say “Happy BCBA Day” or “Happy Speech Therapists Day”. The movement for this would probably be huge. For us, we would honor many, many tremendous professionals who have graced our path over the years.
One of those is this happy, smiling, beautiful woman named Charlotte who was Daniel’s first therapist of any kind. He was 7 months old when the pediatrician became concerned at his lack of muscle development so asked to have a pediatric physical therapist come to our home to evaluate and provide services. Little did we know that our lives would be intertwined over the next few years as Charlotte helped Daniel to achieve milestones, only to watch him lose them all starting around the age of 13 months.
By the age of 16 months Charlotte made the tenuous decision to approach me with her concerns that Daniel was falling somewhere on the autism spectrum. She carefully laid out what she observed with his sensory issues, his language delays, his meltdowns and repetitive behaviors. As naïve as I was to all of this I was willing to listen because Charlotte truly cared for Daniel, and was professional to the core. Daniel was officially diagnosed with autism at 18 months old, and in spite of the difficulty of hearing the word “autism” we were relieved to have found out when we did in order to begin therapies.
As time went on, Charlotte observed our challenges and celebrated our victories. She attended our first IEP meeting and later would watch as Daniel’s milestones came back, surpassing the expectations of everyone.
I have not spoken to Charlotte since we moved but I did send her a copy of the book, especially since she is mentioned in the Acknowledgement section. It was the least I could offer for all she did for us. And if there was a holiday to honor the therapists in our lives, I would send her a card too