by Pat Simpson
After I broke my wrist recently, my doctor sent me to physical therapy to regain motion, flexibility and strength. Sometimes I laugh at the simplicity of the “toys” the therapists use, but under their trained guidance, these simple activities are allowing me to use my wrist again.
“This reminds me of the activities Parents as Teachers parent educators bring to parents,” I told the therapists. They’re simple things most people have at home, and under the guidance of a trained parent educator, parents learn how and why everyday things like clothespins, empty boxes, and paper towel tubes can be used to help their young children develop physical and intellectual skills.
The big difference? Everyone recognizes the value of physical therapy. In my case, either I can open a doorknob or turn the car key or I can’t. In the case of Parents as Teachers services, well, everyone knows how to parent, don’t they?
Truth be told, a large percentage of the families we serve now need parent education. The problem is that too many legislators and decision makers don’t see parent education as essential as physical therapy. Maybe it’s because there’s no immediate payoff. My progress is visible and significant after just a few weeks; with an infant the payback isn’t quite so swift.
Do I need a fully functioning wrist? You bet!
Doesn’t every child need to learn, grow and develop to his full potential?