Testimonial: She is so proud of herself


by A.B.
November 2, 1998

Dear Dr. Zelazo:

It's difficult to find the words to describe how much you have helped my daughter develop into the lovely two year old that she is. I am not qualified to write a clinical assessment of your work, although I clearly understand and support the objectives we set together. I am more comfortable speaking about it on an emotional level.

As you know, we first contacted your office on the recommendation of a friend who had worked extensively with you for a number of years to optimize the development of his son. When I discussed this possibility with Dr. K, the geneticist, he initially felt that our then 4-month-old P was too young to benefit from this type of therapy. However, he agreed to speak with you and if appropriate, to provide the referral.

I will never forget my first telephone call with you. We spoke for a long time, as I poured out my hopes and concerns and my strong belief in my daughter's intelligence. My husband and I had just endured a seemingly endless series of medical investigations (the tests, the waiting, and the disappointing results) of my daughter who had been diagnosed with a genetic syndrome. We had experienced many medical professionals shaking their heads and providing nothing more concrete than a “wait and see” attitude with regard to my daughter's potential. When I explained to you that due to some congenital malformations my daughter had a severe visual impairment and a probable moderate bilateral mixed hearing deficit, you agreed to meet with us as soon as P was a few months older. You told me then that I should never accept the word “never” when talking about a child's development.

Our first meeting took place when P was about nine months old. She was delayed in several areas which was understandable due to her physical impairments. She could not even sit up by herself. You offered a number of suggestions at the time and we scheduled some testing following the summer. When you scientifically confirmed what I had suspected about P's ability to reason, I finally exhaled! As KoKo said in The Mikado, I was “...glad to have my opinion backed by a competent authority!”. That was indeed a turning point for me.

In the year since then, you have offered a different perspective and methodology than the Montreal Association for the Blind and the Montreal Oral School for the Deaf from which we receive excellent early intervention services. They have provided practical advice, therapy and support appropriate for this child labeled as “deafblind” and P has definitely benefited from their expertise. Their advice has been extremely valuable in so many areas. But I firmly believe that with your guidance I have grown tremendously as a parent and P has been greatly enriched as a result. Many goals have overlapped. The occupational therapist and physiotherapist involved were as interested in getting P to walk independently as were we all. But your approach and philosophy differed. You introduced us to very positive formal teaching sessions to reinforce P's compliance. You coached me not to succumb to P's emotional blackmail and showed me how my indulgence would ultimately hurt her. You talked about unnecessary limitations. You painted a much fuller picture of P's potential in front of me which helped me to understand the necessity for critical adjustments along the way. You encouraged me not to get too complacent because there are so many challenges still facing us. You pointed out that I should learn to channel my energy into the work ahead instead of moaning about what was in the past and cannot be changed (my words). In your clear and thoughtful way you have taken me beyond looking only at one day at a time. For this and so many other things, I am truly grateful.

And now I write to you to express my thanks and to share P's triumph. She has just recently started to walk independently (at 26 months), and she is so proud of herself! You assured me that this day would come and you encouraged us to persevere. I know we still have so far to go and but I wanted to stop, catch my breath and rejoice at yet another indicator that P will have as full a life as she chooses. I can say with total confidence that you have already made an enormous difference in the life of a very special little girl. I look forward to continuing our work together.

P. B.