NATHHAN National Challenged Homeschoolers Associated Network

Christian Families Homeschooling Special Needs Children

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Hiring A Professional

by Marisa Lapish, (M.A. in Speech Pathology) and Tom and Sherry Bushnell

This article was taken and adapted from 2nd Straight Talk: A parents Guide to Language Development, published by NATHHAN.

If you decide that you would like some professional input, be encouraged. You may feel your child has a therapy need that is beyond your ability to correct. Families are finding homeschool friendly therapists to work with. And of course, you can still be your childís trainer in combination with a little direction from a therapist.

Determining whether you need professional assistance should be a decision made over a period of several months, with both husband and wife in agreement. Some tell-tale signs of parents needing professional input to help them help their child might be:

  1. A lack of improvement over a period of several months.

  2. An unusual problem that is very difficult for you to figure out on your own.

  3. Increasing problems as time wears on, instead of a diminishing difficulties.

  4. A consistent replacing of one problem with another over a period of a year

Finding a homeschool-friendly professional is actually quite simple. Using word of mouth, or getting on the phone and pre-screening potential therapists weeds out the unhelpful ones. Try the private sector first.

A great therapist knows that the child who has an involved parent will go much further than a child who has parents that are relying on him to "Fix" their child by weekly therapy sessions.

Keep in mind that hiring a professional is much the same as hiring a caterer or house cleaner. You, as a parent, present your need and how you want it met. The therapist offers you a game plan on how to help, and at what price.

It is important to have a solid idea of why you want to homeschool your child. Be ready to give a confident response to homeschooling questions such as socialization, curriculum or programs and the positive results you are seeing in other areas in your childís education.

Before contacting a professional, iron out your conviction and responses into a few succinct phrases. With a big smile on your face (instead of the incompetence you may be feeling), get them on your side. You can use their medical input to make a successful, tailor made, program for your child.

 

Some suggested phrases:

. "We are looking for an (OT, PT, or speech) therapist to work with us on a consultation basis. Would you be interested in providing this service?"

. "We want to be the ones working daily with our child in helping them develop better skills. We would appreciate your advice as a professional."

 

To find a private therapist willing to work with you, call around first. Call numbers in the phone book. If that therapist canít help you, ask him if they know one who might be interested. Keep trying!