Almost as difficult as figuring out what your child with special needs actually needs, is finding a good vendor. Few parents have switched vendors, so they can’t really tell you how their vendor compares to others. We have a vendor for Speech, OT, and PT, a vendor for Infant Stimulation, and we’re on our second vendor for Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). While I haven’t used a lot of different vendors, I have visited others, so I have a sense of what I like and dislike. Instead of spending my time wondering if the grass is greener on the other side, I try to determine what’s important to me in a vendor.
After visiting a cold, unfriendly clinic…
I knew my two-year-old’s Speech, Occupational, and Physical therapists needed to be genuinely loving. I needed the therapists to communicate with me and be patient with my questions. They needed to respect both my son and myself.
After switching vendors for ABA, I knew I wanted staff members that were warm….
…and nurturing, and also reliable. Switching staff set my son back, and I didn’t want to teach him to be comfortable with strangers.
With all vendors, they need to be receptive to our needs and meet the goals I have for my son. If I don’t feel right about something, I have to feel they will be willing to work through a tough spot without damaging our relationship.
I’m grateful for the vendors we have and the relationships we’ve established. The staff members become like family. That being said, I am careful not to stay with a vendor or service just because it has become comfortable or convenient. If it no longer meets my child’s needs, we will move on, but always keep in touch with those who played a profound role in his development.