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Updates on Maggie: Juggling Schedules

There have been lots of new developments for Maggie’s treatment and several upcoming appointments. Her schedule is packed with therapies and school interventions.

  1. Maggie’s Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) at her new public school is going back to in-person soon. ECI is like pre-pre-k for special needs kids. Because of COVID-19, they’ll be starting a hybrid schedule (2 days in person and 3 virtual). Starting the week of February 22nd, Maggie will start going to in-person school on Tuesdays (just Tuesdays) for morning half days and virtual on Thursdays only. The school is okay with her modified schedule;

  2. She has virtual speech therapy. So far, it has been okay. Maggie has had seizures at every appointment thus far and once she has a seizure, she’s not very cooperative. I’m hoping they will improve as we progress. These are Mondays at 4.

  3. She has virtual occupational therapy. We’ve had one session so far and it was amazing! We focused on sensory sensitivity. It was pretty eye-opening to realize that Maggie’s aversion to many adult-assistance interventions is stemmed from hyper-sensitivity in her skin, especially her hands and arms. So if I try hand-over-hand, she often recoils. We practiced massage techniques to help decrease sensitivity and observed her at natural play to assess how she uses her hands and fingers. Currently, she’s more prone to down with the heel of her palm than using her fingers for tasks;

  4. The big one is ABA Therapy. Currently, she goes Monday through Friday from 8:30 to 3:30. Their scheduling simply can’t accommodate her in-person days as Monday and Tuesday. It just doesn’t work logistically on their end and that’s fine. When school starts, Maggie’s new schedule will be M/W/F 8:30 to 3:30 and T/Th 12 to 6. This means that she will miss Mondays, but she’ll get more ABA. The alternative would’ve been 12 to 6 daily which would mean cutting or getting back on the speech waitlist and it took four months for us to get that started;

Juggling all of her services is simply challenging on a logistical level. These are just the weekly frequency (effective 2/21), but there are also less frequent appointments, such as follow-ups with neurology, behavior therapy (which is now monthly, new time TBD), and miscellaneous upcoming appointments, like getting the braces for her feet to prevent toe walking and an ophthalmologist appointment in March to address what seems like cross-eyes.

What I wonder is why service providers don’t offer Saturdays. I’ve certainly explored alternate providers, but Saturdays are not an option and usually, services are only available during business hours which means families have to choose between modified school schedules with outside service providers or foregoing services. Sure, the school will offer speech and other services, but that’s only during the school year. Maggie needs help year-round. I suppose an alternative would be to hire service providers on an independent contractor type arrangement, but that wouldn’t be covered by our insurance.

Attention all private companies that offer services to special needs children: parents do not want to choose between schools and medically necessary services. If services are only offered between 9 to 4 on Mondays through Fridays, kids have to miss school. I’m sure I’m not the only parent who would jump at the availability of Saturday appointments. I would love to move some of Maggie’s appointments to Saturdays so her days seem less crowded and still be able to attend school.

In the meanwhile, we’ll make this work.


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