Saturday, 26 April 2014

Day care Drama

The next spring, I met with another social worker, in my home. They were trying to connect us to therapeutic services for my daughter, and it seemed the fastest way was to put her into a daycare, where a speech-language pathologist and occupational therapist would be able to see her twice a week. Even though I was a stay at home parent, with a toddler and newly pregnant, I reluctantly agreed.

We chose a preschool/daycare that provided an educational-based play that was a 20 minute bus ride from my home. I interviewed the daycare, and took a tour, and explained my situation. She wasn't going because I needed child care, she was going because she needed services and this seemed to be the only way I could get those services for her. I didn't want her there longer than I had to put her there, and she was only going twice a week.

It was a disaster from start to finish. When she was there, she refused to cooperate with either the teachers or the therapists. She would wander the room, circling, never stopping, for hours. She wouldn't eat there -- they were supposed to give her snack. She wouldn't let them change her without screaming, and she definitely didn't want to use the toilet like they were trying to show her. I would pick her up and she would be starving, usually distraught and exhausted. She would sleep all the way back home, and then would cling to me the rest of the day. And at night, it was worse! She would wake up 4-5 times a night literally shrieking with night terrors.

I lasted all of 6 weeks. I wanted to pull her out sooner, but they convinced me to try "just a little bit longer" and see if she would settle into the routine. All I could see happening was her delays worsening. She was actually regressing. The few words she had learned were disappearing. Her screaming was getting worse. Her sleep (and mine!) were interrupted more frequently. Her appetite was disappearing, and thin already, she was in danger of losing weight. She stopped interacting with others, and I would occasionally find her in a corner curled up in a ball, just lost in her own world, rocking, stroking her teddy. I was growing downright scared.

I pulled my daughter out and spent the next few months just cuddling and trying to reassure her that she wouldn't have to leave me again. We moved shortly after that, and once we settled into our new place with lots of outdoor time, she began to blossom again.

It was time for me to stop relying on the "experts" and start taking care of things myself.

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