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Ep 21: The Purgatory of the Therapy Waiting Room

Updated: 2 days ago

Therapy plays an important role in our neurodiverse children’s lives… But let’s be real: the act of constantly driving all over to drag our kids into dingy, uncomfortable waiting rooms multiple times a week is not fun. 


In this episode, Gwen and Kristen dive into this phenomenon: why parents of neurodiverse kids end up in this situation, how to make the process and experience a little more tolerable, and when it might be time to pull the plug on certain therapies (and escape the excruciating waiting room experience.) 


We also have a short discussion on some of the limitations around certain types of therapy for our neurodiverse kids, and how important it is for us as parents to be able to partner with our kids and their therapists for this type of therapy.

Plus, we’ve got our usual -isms, The Last Word from our kids, and Gwen even wrote a little ditty about the waiting room experience. This is one super relatable episode that you won’t want to miss.



In this episode, you’ll learn...

  • [05:51] What those waiting rooms where we spent hours, days, and months in with ALL of our kids are actually like

  • [09:10] Gwen’s waiting room ditty

  • [14:49] The things (and people) that made waiting in those dingy little rooms more tolerable

  • [16:17] What it felt like to question the usefulness of therapy in those waiting rooms

  • [22:34] The benefits and limitations of talk therapy for our neurodivergent children

  • [28:04] Our key takeaways from this episode on the purgatory that is the therapy waiting room and how to make it just a little bit better

  • [30:05] The Last Word





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Resources for this episode…




Transcript for "The Purgatory of the Therapy Waiting Room"

Gwen:

If you have an appreciation for honest and sometimes irreverent conversations about parenting and walking alongside neurodivergent humans, you are in the right place. I'm Gwen.

Kristen:

And I'm Kristen. And together we have decades of experience parenting fiercely amazing neurodivergent humans, as well as teaching, writing, advocating, and consulting. All of this has provided us with an endless supply of stories of inspiring failures and heartbreaking wins.

Gwen:

Welcome to You Don't Want a Hug, Right? We promise to come at you each episode is our true selves sharing the hilarity and delight in the midst of the heart of our journeys. You'll also hear directly from our kids at the end of each episode.

Kristen:

Most importantly, we hope to remind you of your immense value as a human outside of the caretaking role you play. So grab a cozy blanket and a beverage and go hide in a closet nearest.

Kristen:

Gwen, it's so good to see you on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

Gwen:

Same, same. 71 in Michigan. We were outside on the tramp. We grilled today with friends over and sat outside in the back deck.

Kristen:

Wow. Yeah, you can see we're wearing very similar colors today. You can't see us, but I'm wearing a very thick, long sleeve shirt and Gwen is in a little crop top basically.

Gwen:

Stop it. It covers my belly button.

Kristen:

Okay.

Gwen:

Okay?

Kristen:

Just covers it.

Gwen:

I don't crop anymore. Okay?

Kristen:

Gwen's had a glow up.

Gwen:

I've had a glow up and I now cover my navel at all times. Oh my gosh. We have a really fun episode because this subject matter is a little lighter, even though when you're in the space we're going to be talking about, it feels like a weighted vest is covering your entire body.

Kristen:

A weighted blanket times 10.

Gwen:

Yeah, with clouds looming overhead. So we'll let you wait in suspense for the topic. I'm going to start off. I have a really fast Rylan-ism, probably the fastest I've ever had.

Kristen:

I believe it when I see it go.

Gwen:

He was just driving us home from his haircut, which he needed desperately. And as I always tell Kristen, when his hair looks good, I'm so much nicer to him. It's just something I am open to admitting about myself. When his pants are long enough, his shirt fits and his hair is cut, I'm like, "Oh, you're so wonderful to be around," is how I feel. Anyway, he was driving us home and in the Volt, which puts him in a great mood driving that Volt, and our neighbor Meg was behind us. He goes, "Is that Meg?" I said, "Yeah it is." He goes, "I wonder if Meg and Jen are friends." Jen was here today, so she was on mind. "Or do you think they like each other?", he said. I said, "Yeah, I think they'd like each other a lot. Why?" He goes, "Well, you know, three letters in Meg, three letters in Jen, an E in the middle of both." And that was it.

Kristen:

A perfect match.

Gwen:

A perfect match. And I just chose to not talk about it any further. I just let that be what it was.

Kristen:

It's a good place to stop.

Gwen:

Yeah. All right. How about a Graham-ism?

Kristen:

Okay. I don't have a specific Graham-ism other than Greg and I just went on a trip that was amazing. In our trailer, we went down to the desert below Tucson and we went to Sedona. It was just gorgeous. So we were gone for a week and Hayden and Graham were both home and they did amazing. Graham called me to let me know he ran the dishwasher, fed the dog. I mean, all kinds of adulting was happening while we were gone.

Gwen:

Does that mean that the dog wasn't hiding the whole time?

Kristen:

Hey, we came home and the dog did not seem traumatized. He seemed very happy.

Gwen:

Wonderful.

Kristen:

Each of our sons said to us, "The dog slept with me most of the time."

Gwen:

Okay.

Kristen:

Okay. But anyway, so while we were gone, Graham took Hayden out to lunch, no to dinner. He took him out to dinner because he had a Red Robin gift card.

Gwen:

Aww.

Kristen:

And it was just the sweetest and he was so excited to do it. But then he ended up texting us in a panic because he was worried that he wouldn't have enough money on his gift card and he didn't want Hayden to have to pay. And so we wired him some money in case he ran over the gift card, come home to find the gift card's still here. So basically we paid for dinner. I just think that that's just...

Gwen:

I mean the executive functioning that would've been required to remember said gift card is maybe that was too high of an expectation.

Kristen:

Maybe, maybe. He also baked a cake while we were gone.

Gwen:

He did?

Kristen:

He did. And the evidence of said cake was all over the dishwasher. It's just... Anyway, it was funny. But they did amazing and I'm just so proud of Graham because he was really proud of himself for all the adulting he did while we were gone. Yeah, it was a good thing.

Gwen:

And you and Greg got a week away.

Kristen:

We did.

Gwen:

See, you guys, when you are in the throws, just remember Kristen has three and she just spent a week in a trailer with her husband.

Kristen:

Yeah, it can happen, people. It can happen.

Gwen:

All right, so the before mentioned topic we're going to be discussing is therapy waiting rooms.

Kristen:

The purgatory, the joys, and the boredom of the therapy waiting room where many of us with children with autism spent our children's childhood. So while other moms may have had to deal with the rinks and the auditoriums and the gyms-

Gwen:

Soccer fields.

Kristen:

And the fields of the world, we were in these weird little rooms with a couch from the thrift store and some weird-ass picture on the wall.

Gwen:

And our other children.

Kristen:

And our other children who we now have to find a way to entertain and get homework done while in said weird room.

Gwen:

Or keep all the plastic toys out of their mouth because 800 children before them were sucking on them. And they get sick all the time because we're in these 5 x 5 rooms with 10 other parents staring at each other awkwardly while our children just suck on each other.

Kristen:

Yeah.

Gwen:

And our other children are... I mean, we don't know.

Kristen:

We don't know what's happening. So what we're really describing is center-based intervention. So it's either speech, occupational therapy, physical therapy, feeding clinic. What else? What am I forgetting? Behavioral intervention, social skills groups.

Gwen:

Sensory processing focused therapy.

Kristen:

Auditory listening therapy, hyperbaric chambers. Who knows? It could be anything. Right?

Gwen:

Talk therapy.

Kristen:

Talk therapy. Psychotherapy.

Gwen:

Play therapy, art therapy, music therapy.

Kristen:

Right.

Gwen:

We've done every single thing just mentioned aside from the hypobaric chamber.

Kristen:

I'm kind of glad to hear that, but yeah.

Gwen:

Okay.

Kristen:

We'll just skip right over that. But I mean, we understand the privilege of having access to these therapies, so that needs to be said out front, right? That we know that not everybody has access to these kinds of therapies, but we also know that families who have a child with autism try up to seven different types of intervention. So we are running all over the place. Mind you, they're never near your house. They're always at least 40 minutes away and you are always traveling there after school, which means rush hour. So it's about a three-hour endeavor multiple times a week, right? It's not an insignificant amount of time that we're spending doing this.

Gwen:

No.

Kristen:

And sometimes you wonder why you're doing it.

Gwen:

Well, all the time.

Kristen:

AKA, all the time we're wondering why we're doing it.

Gwen:

But you know why we're doing it? Because we think we have to and we should.

Kristen:

Yeah. Because if there's a chance that this could make a big difference, we're going to spend a lot of money. We're going to drive all over the place. We're going to drag all of our children there, and we're going to torture all of us as many times as we can.

Gwen:

I did write a little ditty on the therapy waiting room. Do you think it would be appropriate just to recite what I wrote? As I was preparing for this episode, I just found myself writing and it came out in shockingly fast waves.

Kristen:

In rhyming couplets?

Gwen:

Apparently I've been keeping a lot of these thoughts on therapy waiting rooms inside for many years because it just came out as I was in the car while Rylan got said haircut.

Kristen:

Okay.

Gwen:

Here's what I happen to write down. As Kristen just mentioned, we spend the car ride narrating to our child a social story of sorts as to where we're going and what they can expect. The act of getting from point A to B is harrowing and the mere fact that someone other than us will spend 30 minutes, an hour if we're extra blessed, drives us to this appointment. Unfortunately, the room design for the much anticipated waiting so often causes us to feel as if we're being punished, maybe even on trial for murder. It smells of urine. It looks 1000 years old. It echoes with client-therapist conversations violating every HIPAA regulation, and it tastes of stale heavy breathed air.

Gwen:

Recycled chairs no longer even suited for a church basement surround the rooms, likely in either maroon or light blue. They're meant to have padding, but that's no longer the case. It leaves a permanent imprint from our ass cheeks when we stand up. The room is even lined with these chairs, forcing you to stare and be stared up by all the other disheveled bankrupt caregivers, while your typically-functioning children play in the middle of the room with plastic toys that haven't been sanitized in 96 days. If we're lucky, there's a brown slip covered couch with throw pillows that have no business being rested upon that will swallow you whole, which tracks with our emotional state. On the walls are quilted feel good thoughts, taglined, purchased from $1 at Goodwill in the discount bin, and they're hung in a way that covers holes or chipping paint. And you want more than anything to bring a hammer to at least hang them with a semblance of order because, damn it, we are desperate for order.

Gwen:

Leaving the waiting room, we then head towards the attic office where evaluations take place. Out of breath due to the inaccessible steep incline to the attic, we huddle in a room created for an infant, answering six pages of questions about every single minute that our child has been alive, while our child shows the therapist how incapable they are of doing sit-ups and human wheelbarrows in the narrow hallway with bacteria-ridden carpeting. By the time we exit the building, the entire family is in tears, in need of therapy, a shower, natural light, and a two-hour nap. But going to therapy, friends, means we enter that cycle all over again. The end.

Kristen:

Wow. I mean-

Gwen:

That's what came out, Kristen.

Kristen:

I mean, mic drop. What else is there to say?

Gwen:

If we're lucky there's a fish tank.

Kristen:

Maybe there's fish in it.

Gwen:

Which I was just going to say, the therapy office we started in this past week, there was a fish tank with lights and bubbles and no fish.

Kristen:

Hey, and they always are in literally the weirdest buildings in the weirdest part of town that you feel a little afraid to be there.

Gwen:

Yes.

Kristen:

Or it's just so random. Now, all of that said, our beloved providers, for whom we have huge amounts of respect and love, are not rolling in the dough, friends.

Gwen:

No.

Kristen:

They're barely making it. And so there's a reason why these rooms look the way they do. They're doing everything they can to help our children and have as the lowest overhead possible so that they can feed themselves.

Gwen:

Yes, we as the parents are not their focus. However, I think there is room to just wash the slip cover, use a ruler or a tape measure or something just to hang the pictures in a meaningful way, the littlest things.

Kristen:

Yeah, it's so true. It's so true. And I think just it's so hard to have this model of center-based intervention when we know with our kids, generalization of skills is one of the hardest things about autism and other neurodivergent conditions or ways that brains work. And when you don't pay attention to the caregiver and the caregiver's not there for the therapy and you're just getting a report out at the end, it's really hard for you to replicate any of those successes outside of this weird therapy room.

Gwen:

Right.

Kristen:

So it is a problem. And I do think too, that this weird concept of, "I'm going to give you feedback about the session in the waiting room in front of seven other parents," which violates every [inaudible 00:14:02]. And you're kind of... I mean, there have been times when I've been like, "Ooh, I feel kind of bad for them. At least that's not happening for us."

Gwen:

Right? Exactly.

Kristen:

Or, "I'm super jealous that their kid is doing this stuff that my kid's not doing." Right? It's just not helpful. And it feels weird because there's nowhere for you to go to not hear it, and you're trying-

Gwen:

No, and they're kneeling down. They're like kneeling down, whispering. And you're like, "No, I'm two inches away from you. I'm stuck in the couch and I can't get up to get myself away from your conversation."

Kristen:

Right?

Gwen:

"I'm stuck."

Kristen:

Yes. It's very, very strange. I mean, here's the benefit of these weird rooms that we've spent so many years in.

Gwen:

Is there one?

Kristen:

There is. There really is.

Gwen:

Okay. Share it.

Kristen:

For me, I will share that I have a couple of friends that I have from those years, Carol, God bless you out there if you're listening, we spent many years in the waiting room for social skills group, and those were two-hour sessions, by the way, 4:00 to 6:00. And we had three of our children trying to do homework and then playing afterwards in the middle of the tiny waiting room. But it is an opportunity to feel less alone, and it is an opportunity to get resources and tips from other families. I mean, those are your people who are in those waiting rooms who get your life.

Gwen:

That's true.

Kristen:

So if you can blink twice, if you're okay, if you can catch their eye.

Gwen:

Yeah, I mean, they're so close, you couldn't possibly miss it if they're blinking, right?

Kristen:

No, you couldn't. You couldn't possibly. Sometimes we would bring collective snacks or somebody would agree to bring a game for our kids to play, after we force them to do their homework in this very strange environment.

Gwen:

Because we're scheduled, I know with OT especially, it was three times a week from 3:00 to 4:30, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday. So you get to know the people around you and you're like, "Oh, Johnny was sick today. Wonder where he is." Because the same people are there at the same time. So you do get a lot of consistency in the people that you see. So that's true.

Kristen:

Yeah. I mean, another weird thing is that if you aren't paying attention, you could slip into some form of a coma and wake up two years later and wondering, "Why are we still doing this? What are we doing? Do we have any measurement or outcome data?" We know that typically we try things for a three-month period when we're trying to make behavior change, but we can spend years with these particular providers just on autopilot, not even sure why we're doing it anymore.

Gwen:

And for many of those years, it was self-pay. Our insurance didn't cover any of it. I mean, we're in tens of thousands of dollars, but for some reason we just kept doing it. Right.

Kristen:

And you look back and go, "Why didn't I insist on a meeting at 90 days, a meeting at whatever amount of days, and ask for data and a plan?" I mean, yes, you develop goals and there's a plan, but it can slip and you're just doing it forever it seems.

Gwen:

And you're not questioning any of it. And when they come out and say, "Well, he lifted his arm up and his leg down six times today," you're like, "Oh, hot. Fantastic."

Kristen:

"Great. What does it mean outside of this room?"

Gwen:

"Why is that important again? I don't remember." And I think we've mentioned before, the human wheelbarrow. Why was that a barometer of success? Because it was. I mean, we wheelbarrowed the shit around our house for months.

Kristen:

I remember that. I remember that.

Gwen:

Why? What a horrible thing to make my child do. Can you imagine if somebody made our butts wheelbarrow around our house?

Kristen:

No, I would-

Gwen:

Kick them out. Kick them out. "Get out of my face."

Kristen:

Yeah.

Gwen:

Anyway, all of this to say, if you are in the throes of the therapy world, it is appropriate and to you and your child's benefit to stop and take a minute and ask yourself, "Do we need to be doing this?" And if you're doing more than one at a time? For the love, stop. One at a time. And then please take a break before you jump into the next. There's always going to be therapies. But our best years of growth happened when we were not in formal therapy.

Kristen:

Yeah, I think I didn't realize until years later just how much energy it was taking Graham, all three of our kids actually, to hold it together at school all day long and then to have to go in traffic to sit in the weird room. And for whoever was doing the therapy, most of the time it was Graham, we would have a lot of meltdowns in social skills group. And it's like, well, of course when you look back, you're like he was so toast by that point. I remember one particular therapy clinic that we went to for probably about a year, I would say eight months to a year, and it was really hard because the therapy was really pulling on all of the deficits. So, "We're going to do this science experiment, but I'm the coach, so you have to watch me, watch me, watch me." Right?

Kristen:

Well, I mean, giving that joint attention and breaking the tasks down into smaller tasks, it was very taxing. And Graham usually lost his mind by the end of it. So at one point he said to me, "Mom, I'm graduated. I'm graduated." And I was like, "Oh, okay. Well, let's talk to Dr. So-and-so and see." And Dr. So-and-so said, "Oh, Mrs. Kaiser, Graham is a really long way from being done. There's a lot of work to do." And I had to honor Graham's request and let him have some self-determination. And he was fairly young still at this point. But I was like, "This kid is telling me he's done. He's literally saying it. He's not biting, he's not hitting. He's telling me appropriately that he's done. I have to honor that." And so we just stopped, against advice, but we were like, "We're stopping."

Gwen:

Yeah, we stopped social skills too, namely because they told us that he wasn't able to socially manage the social group.

Kristen:

Well, the problem-

Gwen:

There was no waiting room in that building, we all just stood in the hall practically touching noses while we waited for our kids. So that was fantastic.

Kristen:

Yeah, I think we did social skills group for a total of four years.

Gwen:

Oh, wow.

Kristen:

And Graham can crush social skills group. If you structure it up for him, he can crush it. He could run the social skills group. Has that helped him with unstructured social interactions? Not that much. I'm going to be honest. Not that much.

Gwen:

No, we never found success with social skills groups. It's not realistic. He still does them in high school, but I don't see any benefit from them other than being around other peers and hanging out. That's good for your soul.

Kristen:

Right. That was good. And Graham actually enjoyed it. And it was also really rich in information like safety around internet use and the dos and don'ts of things that are around safety and around puberty and things like that, which the peers... Peers is a certified behavioral intervention practice that has some evidence base behind it. And that's what we did for a lot of years. But often Graham, he was so delayed in puberty... By the way, we're going to have a whole episode on puberty, we're just trying to gird our loins and gear up for that. We're not ready yet.

Gwen:

I hate that phrase so much.

Kristen:

Gird your loins?

Gwen:

The word loin just should never be used. It really shouldn't.

Kristen:

Now I'm going to say it all the time knowing that it bothers you.

Gwen:

Loins. Anyway.

Kristen:

Anyway, we're going to prepare ourselves emotionally to have that conversation. Graham was delayed in his puberty, so a lot of the content he was just very anxious to hear and wasn't ready to hear. So we did it for a number of years. So I think it was good for that. But the actual social interaction with others, I don't think that's changed.

Gwen:

No, no, not at all. We just decided to start some talk therapy, which he did a little bit of talk therapy when he was probably 13, and we really liked the therapist and he would give Rylan really specific goals, which worked really well. But we haven't done talk therapy since he was probably 12 or 13, and now he's almost 17. And so we went and it's a great therapy group, well renowned. They're all very wonderful. They actually work with the Down Syndrome Association too. The office, sorry, y'all, you're amazing, but there's no windows. It's rough. It's pretty rough. And I was just so triggered walking back in there, sitting on the literal brown couch like, "Oh, how are we here again?" But he needs this time to talk through this transition of going to college and gaining more independence. But filling out the paperwork, it just felt like those cycles of grief coming right back, and what are my goals? But he's a young man, so well, we want to hear Rylan's goals. I'm like, you don't though, because what he responded was was, "Sheldon."

Kristen:

His turtle?

Gwen:

His tortoise, Kristen.

Kristen:

Sorry, tortoise.

Gwen:

And he's like, "Take better care of Sheldon." I was like, "Okay. I am certainly not driving over here at rush hour and sitting on that poopy couch so that you can talk about taking better care of your tortoise. That is not a goal that we are talking about. So please follow what I said. I would like for him to be able to engage in conversations and greet people when he enters a room. Please, and thank you." So I don't know. We'll see how therapy at this age goes, because I know it has to be centered around his goals. But his goals are like, "Well, I want to build a shelter for Sheldon in the woods." No, I'm not coming here for that. We're not paying money for that. His goals are very different from what my goals are.

Kristen:

Yeah, my kids are 20, they all go to talk therapy. We've been doing it for a number of years, so their providers know them, so they are able to Zoom, which is huge. And then they just sign a release of information. And then I can talk with the therapist about goals. And I think one of the hardest things about cognitive behavioral therapy or any kind of therapy like that for anxiety or trauma experience from bullying, those are the types of things that my kids are working through. And for Graham, this is his first time ever having talk therapy because we feel like he's finally in a place where that might work. He's only able to do it for about a half an hour, which is fine. But it's interesting because Graham, he doesn't ruminate and hold onto things conceptually. Like he'll just say he's doing great and he's fine, and, "This went really well." And I'm overhearing him thinking, "Ooh, so didn't go well." Right?

Kristen:

So you do need to try and to help the provider be able to reach some of those issues that are really troubling our kids, are going to need that parent piece. And if they don't want to have that parent piece, that's not the right therapist because, often, my kids are not able to articulate, especially Graham, what's happening for him. And so they need some of that executive functioning narration out loud happening for them.

Gwen:

What the world's going to expect from them as they enter adulthood, they're not queued into that.

Kristen:

Right.

Gwen:

So I think it'll be great. I think it's going to really help. And he seemed to connect with her really well, and they work with neurodivergent populations. But it does feel a little traumatic entering that space again. And it just didn't help when I entered the weird room with no windows and the empty fish tank.

Kristen:

So after our amazing conversations with the professors at Virginia Tech and with Jen and Special Olympics and all of the work that you've been doing with Steelcase, we just hope to convey that message that the rooms that caregivers are spending a lot of time in is impactful.

Gwen:

Very impactful.

Kristen:

So provider friends, take note.

Gwen:

Please take note.

Kristen:

Please take note.

Gwen:

And then maybe to our friends in the industry of designing these spaces, you are looking at a whole group of people that could be a wonderful target audience.

Kristen:

Yeah, there's a lot of work for you out there.

Gwen:

There sure is.

Kristen:

Okay, so I'm thinking there's a few takeaways from today. One, you wrote an incredible ditty, thank you for that.

Gwen:

You're so welcome.

Kristen:

Don't be afraid to engage with other parents in those weird rooms. As awkward as it is, you may be sharing this dumpy brown couch with them for years. And so share resources, share tips, bring snacks. That's all I'm saying.

Gwen:

Number two, I'm going to add, if you have an opportunity to not wait in the dumpy waiting room, just go sit outside.

Kristen:

Or in your car.

Gwen:

Even bring a lawn chair in your trunk and just sit outside in it.

Kristen:

There you go.

Gwen:

I did that many times.

Kristen:

Nice one. Number three, give yourself a period of time to determine if this is meaningful. Is it working? Is this what we want to be doing? And number four, please, for the love of all that's holy, give yourself permission to take a break from it all. From all the rooms.

Gwen:

All the rooms.

Kristen:

All the rooms.

Gwen:

They will not miss you. And you will not miss them.

Kristen:

No.

Gwen:

All right, friends, we're going to hand it over to our kids and see if they have anything insightful to add. Maybe they thought therapy waiting rooms were amazing.

Kristen:

Yeah, we'll see. We'll see.

Gwen:

All right, bye friends. Thanks for listening.

Speaker 3:

We know our moms are amazing, but they don't know everything. We think that you deserve to hear from the real experts, their kids. We believe in nothing about us without us. So here it is, the last word.

Kristen:

Hi, Haydes.

Hayden:

Hi, mama.

Kristen:

How you doing?

Hayden:

So far so good.

Kristen:

It's going to snow, I think.

Hayden:

Yeah, looks like it. The sky doesn't look too happy.

Kristen:

So today, Gwen and I were talking about the ever present therapy waiting room from childhood.

Hayden:

No shortage of those in my time with the Kaisers.

Kristen:

No shortage of those for the Kaiser family. The amount of days we spent in rush hour traffic going all over the metro area to these therapies for you guys.

Hayden:

Very specialized.

Kristen:

Very specialized. And you were often stuck in the waiting room with me. What did you think of those rooms?

Hayden:

Well, I've seen a lot worse. They had these fluorescent lights I wasn't a big fan of. At least the ones I remember most fondly or not so fondly. But they also looked like somebody went to Arc to furnish the room. But overall, it wasn't terrible. Not the greatest place to try to do your math homework, but it's better than the bus.

Kristen:

There you go. What did you remember about what were the good things about spending our years in those rooms?

Hayden:

Besides getting Ella's after we'd go to therapy-

Kristen:

That's frozen yogurt, friends.

Hayden:

It was also really interesting to talk and meet with some of the other kids who were waiting in the waiting room with me because their siblings were also there for their appointments with their moms. So I met a lot of really interesting people in those waiting rooms. And it really helped the time go faster because doing homework for an hour in the waiting room, it feels like all day.

Kristen:

Yeah. And what about sometimes I remember the therapists would actually have you join in the therapy session. And that was good and bad at the same time, right?

Hayden:

Yeah, I have a lot of mixed feelings about that. It was interesting to see the procedures they would do and how they would go about giving therapy to these kids with different impacts than us, or at least me. But also, it was interesting. It was... I'm trying to think of the words-

Kristen:

It was good until it wasn't, right? I remember you doing therapy where Graham was supposed to pay attention to the person who was the coach, and then you would do a science experiment and it was super fun until somebody had a meltdown. And then it was really hard.

Hayden:

Yeah. And it was also really interesting to be directly related to the person-

Kristen:

Having the meltdown.

Hayden:

Having the meltdown. I mean, it's a lot different than when it happens at school or something. It's a much safer place. But still, it was just interesting, I guess, is the only way I can really describe it. It's a unique experience for sure. And even people would go to more standardized therapy, it's something that they might not experience because it was just a very unique therapy experience.

Kristen:

Yeah, when it would be OT where you could play on the swings and climb stuff and jump in the ball pit, as opposed to speech therapy where you are taking turns playing a game and trying to have conversation.

Hayden:

Or yeah, it wasn't just talking about our feelings, like they had a ball pit, which was pretty sweet. I remember that pretty fondly. But yeah, it was really eyeopening. And for a while I thought all therapy offices were like that. So when I went to my first therapy appointment and there wasn't a ball pit, I was less than pleased.

Kristen:

Thanks, Haydes.

Hayden:

Of course.

Gwen:

Thanks for joining us for this episode of you Don't Want a Hug, Right? We'd sure appreciate it if you'd subscribe to our show in your favorite podcast app. And if you want to win Listener of the Month, you can rate and review the show, preferably with five stars.

Kristen:

If you'd like to stay up on all our happenings, resources and bonus material, join our newsletter at youdontwantahug.com.

Gwen:

Remember, even the best caretakers make panic rooms out of their closets. No judgment here, friends. So shoulders back, double chins up. We are all in this together.




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