Let's start with the fine print. This is not intended to be medical advice. Please check with your own healthcare providor to determine what is appropriate for your child.
Now, that that is out of the way. My oldest son was in the public school system from the age of 3 until I pulled him out at the end of 1st grade ( with two years in Kindergarten). So, we had experience with what the school systems will offer, if they decide to pay for therapy for spcial needs kids. And he got most of what is offered, speech, OT, PT, and an educational one on one aide.
So, to seperate from the public school system and still give our son what he needs. That was a daunting task. And I will admit to you, over the years I have wondered, am I doing all that I can do for my son, is there anything else I can do for my son?
Well, the answer is yes I am doing all I can for my son. And the school system could not do it any better than I am. Yes I say that with great confidence. A few years back, I really was questioning what we were doing, so we took a few school tours. I took 2. One was the local school district. I was taken to the lower level classroom as well as the high functioning classroom. The two options I was offered.
He would not be able to function at the higher functioning class. So I was looking through the lower functioning class. Well, there was nothing in that classroom that I was not already in my home. I am talking about the resources they were using. I either had the exact same thing, or in my opinion a superior version of that same item. The difference would be that while he is at home, he is not stuck in a room with other children with learning disabilities, but rather he is being taught at his speed, with typical learning kids, and kids with some struggles ( his siblings).
At the other school we looked at, I must admit, if I were to ever need to send him to school, this would be the school I would want to send him to. However the cost is $25,000 a YEAR. I cannot pay for it, and the fight it would take to get a school district to pay for it.. I do not think I would win that one, not in this school district. But even with that school, lots of what they did, we did as well. But they were able to deliver those services far superior than the local school district.
But still at home we were addressing all of the same areas, with the same kinds of resources, if not exactly the same.
One last little story, before I tell you how we have addressed some of the ways we handled therapy. I had a friend who works with special needs kids in the local high school district, who said to me, why don't you put him in school, they will teach how to use the computer, and life skills. I told her that I can teach him the computer, and he is already learning life skills. And he is already out in the community doing community based learning.
Now, some of the ways we have addressed his needs are as follows, he has taken piano lessons for 5 years now. He is doing very well. He has to work very hard at it, but he has accomplished quite a bit and has performed before an audience at recitals which are held 2 times a year.
He took horseback riding lessons. This addressed PT needs as well as OT needs. This was not a developmental horse back riding program, but the same program his siblings were in. After a year, he was doing almost as well as his siblings, while riding. His posture is always difficult. But he really learned how to work his left and right brain simultaneously. And he was also able to groom the horse down to picking the shoes and putting the saddle on.
We also have him signed up in PE class. He now goes twice a week. This is our 4th year of PE, it is great for him. Addressing all the PT needs he has. In fact after two weeks this year he has finally mastered how to do push ups correctly, his body was straight as a board, for the first time.
We also had him take Jujitsu, we signed him up for this class when the horsback riding classes ended. This was another way to address both the OT and PT needs.
One thing that is free that you can do as well, is take them to Home Depot or Lowes, whatever you have near you or both. Each one of them on 1 saturday a month has a day you can take your children to a clinic where they build something. They nail and sand and glue and follow step by step directions. A great way to get them working with their hands and they are having fun with mom or dad at the same time!!
As far as speech goes, we have addressed that ourselves at home. I have sat in enough speech sessions to know how to handle that. So I have continued and expanded where they left off.
Now I will say, if you have never had your kid evaluated, it would pay to have them evaluated to know where to focus your time and energy. There are places you can pay to have evaluations done.. one place I know of is www.ldhope.com
I have not used them, however I plan on using them when I need a new evaluation.
All of these things may not be available in your area, however I hope that these ideas will get you thinking outside the clinical therapy unit when it comes to addressing the needs of our kids.