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When is Enough, Enough?

To get back in the swing of writing, what better way then to answer direct questions from readers?

I got the following request from Marne:

I have a conundrum with my 12 year old maybe you could give insight into. My guys apraxia affect his fine motor skills badly. He has the writing of a kindergarten/ first grader. I've gotten tech in place and accommodations in place so it doesn't affect school but he still gets OT for handwriting. I don't want to give up on hand writing and I don't want to make him continue therapy that is pointless. I'm afraid that he will want to quit just because it's too hard. When did YOU know it was time to stop an intervention? Did YOU ever reach a point where you said 'enough, this is what it is and I'm ok with that'?

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Being 12 is hard. Just by itself, it's a hard and annoying age. No one I personally know says, "If I can go back in time, I wish I could be 12 again." It just doesn't happen, being a pre-teen sucks. Throw in Apraxia and the impact on fine motor skills, it makes it even more difficult for child and parents alike. But I'm sure you already know this and it sounds like you're doing the best you can possibly do as a parent.

Now as far as therapy for your son's fine-motor skills, the closest thing I can compare it to is my speech therapy around the same age.

Around the age of 12 or 13, I had been going to speech therapy at school and privately for ten years already for hourly sessions, 2-3 times a week. To say it was exhausting is an understatement, around this age my speech progress seemed to level out. I was not drastically improving, but I also wasn't worsening. Also the personal frustration of seeing other classmates and friends NOT having these same therapies and 'aides' was frustrating. Recall at this age, you want to be like everyone else. If everyone else doesn't need these therapies, than why should I? But then the counter-comparison settles that if you want to be like everyone else, you need to go to therapy and utilize these aides. Comparison is natural, but definitely annoying especially with the back and forth.

Even though others didn't need the same therapy as me, I also wanted to still be like everyone else and speak "normally." That hope of being normal and fitting in kept me in speech therapy as a pre-teen, and I am sure it's also fueling your son. Your son wants to hand write like everyone else, but probably resents the fact that others don't need therapy, don't need aides, and doesn't need that extra assistance.

For me,  the moment where "enough was enough" was when I was 16 years old and in High School. I talked to my parents, rather rationally, about how I was alright with how I spoke, I no longer resented others that spoke "normally," and in order to accomplish my future, adult goals that I needed to quit speech therapy and allocate my time for other opportunities to attend college (homework was getting more challenging, volunteer work was escalating, and I wanted to be more competitive in sports).

Now did my parents necessarily KNOW this was the right choice. Frankly, I didn't even know if it was the right choice, even after I made the decision my dad told me he did not agree with it but he "respected" my choice.

Anyway, regarding your son. He has been through a lot in the past 12 years and I am sure even when things were hard, he overcame them. Even if it was the smallest of obstacles, he overcame them. I'm sure he gets frustrated with how hard OT is. I know I had my days of saying how hard speech therapy is and wanting to quit, but my parents would always remind me that life isn't always easy and others have their struggles too, that's why so and so goes to tutoring and that is why professional athletes are always practicing.

I truly believe that saying something is too hard and quitting is not a good reason to quit OT or anything for that matter. It starts to instill this belief that whenever something is too hard, then you can find a way out of it. Next thing you know, you could end up avoiding very important adult things, like taxes and bills. I hope that is not his only reason for thinking about quitting OT, but if it is perhaps taking a small break from it would help him mentally. I, for one, love mental health breaks.

Now if he comes to you one day, and logically says "Look, I know I don't write perfectly but this is the best I can do and I'm confident and alright with it" then that is a statement that should be respected and considered. If there is logic and deep-reflection on his end, obviously his wishes should be understood and respected-not to say you'll agree with them, but at least respect and consider them.

If he no longer wants to attend, has adequate reasons as to why - then obviously OT and other therapies will not be helpful. He'll probably further resent it because he is fully confident in his abilities as they are (and we all know the stubborn confidence of teenagers).

I hope this helps, but please understand this is only my experience and my opinions/beliefs are obviously derived from what I had encountered. I hope you and your son does whatever is best for him and I wish you both only the best in what's possibly a very difficult, but rewarding Apraxia journey.




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