I seem to be building a theme this week of looking up to and honoring those that do what I cannot – whatever that may be. Since I’ve been in such a funk lately I think I’m going to run with this! I need to give back to those who have affected me in some way.
Today I take a moment to honor a very special person in my life and in Eli’s life. It is Eli’s occupational therapist, Maureen Kane-Wineland.
Some of you who follow SPD may recognize the name. She recently collaborated with 2 other therapists to put out the incredibly helpful book Tools for Tots. She is amazingly respected among her colleagues and a true leader in the field of SPD.
I am fortunate to know Maureen as my colleague, my son’s therapist and my friend. And because I know her in all of these ways I am able to truly reflect on what an amazing person she is.
As my colleague, I have known her to be a person who never says “no”. She is always short on time because she wants to help as many children as she can. She owns her own business – Rehab Dynamics. She contracts with the County Board of Developmental Disabilities to do assessments and evaluations on children ages birth to 3 as well as provide consultations to families who are either unable to get therapy for their child or have a child who just needs a little something to help them to the next level. She does assessments and evaluations for the local Fetal Alcohol Syndrome clinic. She is a PLAY Project home consultant and has participated in various Greenspan DIR/Floortime trainings. I could go on and on with her professional resume. She is a dedicated therapist who has somehow found a way to fit about 20 more hours into her already lengthy 24 hour day.
As my son’s therapist she has gone above and beyond. Eli seems to have a sort of undocumented response to sensory therapies. Maureen will start a specific intervention with Eli (something like Therapeutic Listening) and watch him respond beautifully. Then, within months, or sometimes even weeks, the intervention backfires and makes his behaviors worse. She is constantly going back to the drawing board with him. I cannot count the number of emails I’ve gotten in the wee small hours of the morning from her about something new she wants to try with him. She once called me from a training she was at in Chicago to tell me she’d just watched a video of a little boy who was exactly like my Eli and didn’t respond “normally” to anything. There was a new intervention to try and she couldn’t wait to get home to try it! She’s always thinking outside the box to find ways to meet his needs as best as she can. We wouldn’t be where we are without her!
As my friend she’s amazing. When I was in Iowa with my sister last spring she offered to take my boys for a few hours so that my honey could get a break. She took them to her clinic and let them run around in her gym for several hours and emailed me pictures of the fun they were having. She’s always there to talk, to listen, to hug.
I watched her today as all 3 of these people to me. She came to work with a migraine. Our assessments were cancelled so whe was able to relax and even close her eyes for a moment. When she opened them she left to complete a group therapy session that Eli was participating in. She could barely keep her eyes open and felt horrible, but off she went because the kids needed her – my kid needed her. And she smiled when I offered to drive her as her friend and that I would kick her butt if she needed a ride and didn’t call me. And would she have called?? No, because she doesn’t want to make me go out of my way.
I say this all about my son’s therapist. I know that she is one in a million. I also know that there are many other one in a million therapists out there that many of your children see. Take time today to thank your therapist. Without him/her who knows where our kiddos would be!