Several times a year I have to endure a little heartbreak, as my kiddos turn three and most often leave my care. I work with Early Intervention through PART C of IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) and when a child turns three we most likely say goodbye. After working in the system for four years, I have made some very strong relationships, many of which outlast the discharge paperwork. I love my relationships and while “Three” may be the magic number, it’s not magic for me. This is a necessary evil… and I really don’t like it. But as a therapist it is something that we learn to deal with, regardless of how hard it may be. It’s a process.
It always starts about one month before their third birthday. I have to write a letter to the caregiver (usually a parent) explaining that our services will be coming to an end because the child is turning three and give them the date that the discharge will be complete. We then go through that month thinking… “man, I really wish this didn’t come up so fast” and we try to wind it down to make the easy transition out of Music Therapy and then BAM! our final session happens and moves more quickly than any other session in the year (sometimes two or three) ever had! And then what… a “thank you”, a “goodbye” and sometimes a hug (from both child and parent). About a week or two later they get the final “discharge report” and then sometimes, we never speak again. Within a few days I usually get a phone call for a new kiddo and the entire process starts again.
This post comes as a result of leaving THREE of you within two weeks! I just want all of my families to know that leaving you does not come easy and it is as much heartbreak for your therapist as it is for you. I never leave my families lightly, even those I have only been seeing for a short time.
What are some ways to make your leaving a family a little bit easier?