I bet you’ve never heard of “thrifty therapy” but you are probably doing already anyhow. I mean really, who can actually afford the 40 hours/week of ABA therapy? (Not that I like the approach, but that is the ‘gold standard’ treatment for ASD) Or, who can afford 4 hours or more per week with an OT, PT, Speech Therapist, Behaviour coach, etc.

What I am suggesting this week is to look at what you are paying for therapies and what you are doing at home. First, are you paying needlessly? Is there government support or private insurance that could be providing the service? OR are you avoiding some therapy that you could get paid for? See, in my experience, the province will pay for things, IF YOU ASK! Some stuff, they just volunteer. Other things, well, you don’t ask, they don’t offer.

Find out what is provided by your school division. Ours provided 1 hour per 6 weeks of each SLP, OT & PT. Not a lot, I know, but it was still “without charge”. They gave lots of helpful suggestions and connected us with more resources than I would have had on my own.

For the things you are doing at home: are you carving out time every day or two to do the therapy? I found that to be very effective. If I tried to do it when we had “time” it never got done.

Can someone else assist – husband, grandparent, young babysitter – we all know kids work better for anyone other than Mom. Maybe an auntie would come in for an hour a week & do speech lessons. You don’t have to be an expert, I’m not, so there’s no reason a friend or family member couldn’t help. Or, can you trade kids with someone in your support group? Same idea, maybe you could do a 1/2 hour of therapy & then everyone has a coffee time/playdate. This is really great because your child can work on social skills too while hopefully having fun.

A final idea for Thrifty Therapy -realize that the time you spend with your child is always an opportunity for “fun” therapy. Even things you don’t think of as therapy – like going to the park. Climbing up a slide is gross motor. Saying Hi to another child – speech & social skills. Picking flowers – fine motor.

And, don’t be so hard on yourself. Yes. That means you. And you. You are doing the best job you can, providing a great diet, as much therapy as you can afford (or get), and the unconditional love every child needs.

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