Special needs

An open letter to my daughter's therapist

Anchel Krishna bids an emotional farewell to the woman who worked as her four-year-old daughter's therapist.

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Four-year-old Syona and the Krishna family say goodbye to their therapist. Photo: Anchel Krishna

Dear K –

You entered our life at a time when things were tough. I had just gone back to work full-time and we were trying to find our new rhythm as a two-parent working family. Syona’s grandparents stepped into the role of primary caregivers and we all worked together to ensure she had the same amount and quality of therapy as when I was home.

You helped with that in so many ways. Your strong clinical skills were overshadowed by your ability to help Syona regulate her feelings and turn her weekly physiotherapy sessions into positive experiences. You used your experience and your compassion to find ways to motivate her. You communicated and collaborated with us in a way that didn’t leave me feeling like I was missing out on actually being at the appointments. That meant so much to me as I grappled (and continue to struggle) with the guilt that accompanies working outside the home.

When you have a child with special needs it’s easy for your home to feel like a revolving door of people who are involved in the most personal moments of your life. These are the very same individuals who are tasked with supporting you and your child through some of the toughest moments and biggest decisions of your life. They’re also the very same people who get to experience the overwhelming joys that come with parenting a child with special needs. And you were there for all of those moments, K.

Over the years, we’ve watched you become a mother to your own beautiful little girl. We’ve talked about the challenges that come with sleep deprivation. You helped connect us to another physiotherapist who supported us while you were home with your infant (and, thankfully, continues to work with us now). When you returned to work, we came up with a schedule of appointments that made sense for our family and yours. You were OK with seeing us in our pajamas early in the morning.

Now you’re moving on to a new job that requires you and your family to move away. While I’m so sad to see you go, I have high hopes for the families you will now be able to help. Syona benefitted so much from her relationship with you. Dilip and I did as well. Now so many more families, so many more kids, will get to experience that. And that warms my heart.

When Syona asked why we weren’t going to be seeing you anymore I was able to tell her that you were moving away so you could help even more kids. I asked her if she was sad. She said she was a little bit sad, which seemed like an appropriate response. I told her we would continue to talk to you via email and we would exchange pictures. That seemed to make her happy.

I know there are tough days when you work as a clinician and support families and kids. On those tough days I hope you will think of Syona and remember how much of a difference you made for our family.

We will miss you.

Anchel

Follow along as Anchel Krishna shares her experiences as mother to Syona, an extraordinary toddler with cerebral palsy. Read all of Anchel’s Special-needs parenting posts and follow her on Twitter @AnchelK.