Monday, October 06, 2008

Therapy, and Unschooling

Another one from North Carolina UnschoolersFrom School to Unschool (pdf) — about one family’s transition from school, to “school at home”, to unschooling.

Also, Children and Deficits (pdf)

This one brings up something I’ve thought about many times. … about “when” and “if” special therapy is required in specific cases. Our mainstream seems to encourage bringing children in to be evaluated and treated for any little difference. I suppose this is good in many ways. If the disability is quite significant, intervention is probably called for. However, I think it is also important to realize that there is a Law of Unintended Consequences. Every intervention has a ripple effect. That is not to say that people should never intervene, but that one should carefully think through what one wants from the intervention, and not just blindly hope that the diagnosis, therapy, whatever will be a panacea, a cure. It usually is not that. It does sometimes provide tools. And it can provide a network, which can be important. But it will bring costs too — perhaps financial, perhaps in time and energy, perhaps in the child’s view of self.

As with planning a medical procedure, it is important to be prepared beforehand with some background information on your child and his or her perceived problems, to list questions and concerns to ask about, to set goals (and get the child’s help in doing this, particularly if he or she is older than 10). Finding a good fit is important — a poor relationship with a therapist is likely to become a problem with the intervention. Plus, it is important to look for the kind of treatment you can believe in and follow through with at least in part! And I would add from my own trial and error experience that you should formulate some sort of “back out” plan if the intervention seems to be doing more harm than good. Usually the “expert” has more experience and knowledge in the particular area being addressed, which is a good reason to seek evaluation and treatment, but the parent has way more knowledge of the “whole picture” of the child, and that is extremely important as well.


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