Never Say ‘Never’ Elisa Jankly’s “Never Say ‘Never’” (First Person/Last Page, August 2015) really hit home. Thirty-seven years ago, with four whole years of experience as an SLP and mother, I became a special needs mom with the adoption of my blind daughter, Tammy. Four years later, Richard, who was brain-injured, joined our ... Inbox
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Inbox  |   October 01, 2015
Never Say ‘Never’
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Inbox   |   October 01, 2015
Never Say ‘Never’
The ASHA Leader, October 2015, Vol. 20, 4. doi:10.1044/leader.IN1.20102015.4
The ASHA Leader, October 2015, Vol. 20, 4. doi:10.1044/leader.IN1.20102015.4
Elisa Jankly’s “Never Say ‘Never’” (First Person/Last Page, August 2015) really hit home. Thirty-seven years ago, with four whole years of experience as an SLP and mother, I became a special needs mom with the adoption of my blind daughter, Tammy. Four years later, Richard, who was brain-injured, joined our family.
I soon learned that although professionals spoke about the importance of involving family in a child’s treatment, they often failed to see this child as only one-fourth or one-fifth of the family unit. “Just 10 minutes a day” or “Just one extra therapy session each week” or “Just turn dinner into therapy time” can make any mom feel guilty for not building every minute of every day around her child with a disability.
My advice to Elisa Jankly and others: As a mother, do not drive yourself crazy if you have to skip an occasional “work” session. If it takes a little longer for her to speak or eat, it won’t be the end of the world—and it won’t be your fault.
As an SLP, remember that each parent you deal with has limited time and energy, just as you do. They also have spouses, other children and jobs. They are not neglecting their special needs child if they decide to take a day off from therapy for some family fun.
I firmly believe that becoming the parent of children with disabilities turned me into a more effective, more compassionate therapist.
Rita Dushman Rich, Huber Heights, Ohio

Thank you for sharing your story. Clinicians who have children with disabilities—or who themselves acquire disabling conditions—often report new insights and perspectives that affect how they relate to their clients.

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October 2015
Volume 20, Issue 10