Collaboration is the Key to Accessing Therapies

by Patricia S. Lemer, M.Ed.

The DDR advocates a number of alternative therapies. Many parents are willIng to try innovative therapies, and they also believe they are entitled to whatever therapy is necessary to make their child well. They feel their children simply cannot wait a generation for the results of clinical trials and research to prove a new therapy‘s efficacy.

Several burning questions consume my thoughts:

Answers came from Dr. Edward Feinberg, a veteran administrator of Anne Arundel County, Maryland Public Schools. Last month he spoke passionately about his system‘s financial dilemma of delivering "promising therapies" to " those who want them."

Who pays?

Unfortunately, It is often finances, not children‘s needs, that determine who receives what. Upon whom does the financial burden of providing services for children with disabilities fall? Children have become hot potatoes tossed between insurance company and school. Occupational therapy, vision training, and speech-language issues can fall under the jurisdiction of either institution. Therapies, if approved, are permitted only for a short time. Developmental delays that take years to become evident are expected to be eliminated in several months. Few understand that money spent on young children now saves society considerable expense later.

Some Possible Solutions

Dr. Feinberg’s brilliant suggestIon is for faimilies, advocates, public agencies and legislators to develop a framework for proactive collaboratIon. Each has a unique role.

What families can do:

What schools can do:

What private practitioners can do:

What the health care system can do:

The health-care and educational systems were simply not designed to, handle the increasing numbers of young children with disabilities. Creative ideas are essential for our children to receive the help they need. If you know of any successful collaborations, please share them with us.

[Initially published in New Developments: Volume 3, Number 3 - Winter, 1997-1998]

All material in this web site is given for information purposes only and is not to be substituted for advice from your health care provider.

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Page last modified: February 23, 2009
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