Monday, August 17, 2009

What do you think? Inappropriate or not?

I have to bounce something off of you all. I'm having hormonal issues, so I can't tell if things that are bugging me really should be bugging me or not. Know what I mean? There's a particular issue that I think is really stupid. But maybe it's just me. Maybe I'm out of line, and should have more of a heart. Let me know what you think. I'll try to leave out any personal feelings as those may be clouding my judgement as well.

We've had M.K. in an animal therapy program for the past several months. It's a non-profit, volunteer run organization. When we signed up we were told it would cost x amount of money. We were encouraged to find a community sponsor to pay the fee, just to get the word out about the program and make people aware.
Last week, one of the volunteer therapists got a hold of the parent e-mail list. I don't believe the people in charge know about it. She sent an e-mail to all of us parents. She started out with the line "I want to address something that has been bothering me about all of you." Then continued to tell us about how the person in charge has sacrificed so much to run this program - mortgaged their house twice and is $30k in debt because of it. And this therapist further believes that because of this, we should all be paying more because the payment asked for isn't covering the costs.

I think much of my reaction has to do with the way it was presented. The first line put me on the defense immediately. But I also kind of feel like when I pay what is asked and take my child to therapy every week, that I shouldn't be given a guilt trip for doing that and be asked to pay more money because of someone else's a)lack of financial foresight or b)desire to keep the costs low for us families. I don't want to feel guilty about taking her to therapy. ya know? I have enough to deal with. Am I out of line here? Should I be feeling so sad for the one in charge and trying to scrape up extra money that I don't have, out of guilt?
I think it's kind of inappropriate for the therapist to take things into her own hands and first of all speak for the program with out the knowledge of the director, or to talk to us parents like she did. It seems to me that a director who has been running this program for several years would know the costs involved, and probably has her reasons for doing things the way she does-whether it puts her in debt or not. It also seems out of line to come back to your clients after they have paid, and ask for more money. I wonder if the therapist understands the costs involved with having a special needs child, or if she's donated any money to the program herself......

I don't know. I'm always grateful for the therapy we receive and for the therapists who give it. It's always so nice to have someone take an interest in helping your child. I want to keep being blissfully ignorantly grateful now, but I'm bothered by this. and I don't want to do the therapy again next year. I'm curious to hear your opinions though.


Jessica said...

I think it needs to be addressed.If you are anything like me, If you don't address it you will just start to build up guilt that will turn into anger against all of the workers. That's not fair. Yes it was totaly rude, the owner could have sent out some sort of "tuition raise" flyer announcing that there will soon be a pay increase...there are many different ways oof handling it. So sorry that this is how one person decided to do it. I wonder how many parents will back out of a wonderful program because of this therapist? It's sad.

Melissa said...

I agree with Jessica too... it does need to be addressed. I think the program director has a right to know what is going on behind her back. I am sure the therapist did not mean it maliciously, but she still stuck her nose in where it didn't truly belong. I think if the director needs more money she is smart enough to know how to fix the problem. She personally probably KNOWS how much of a burden a special needs child is and does not want to ask parents for more. I think it is sad that is has gone down like this. I am willing to bet almost every other parent feels the same way and may not return next year. And the director who wants to do this for these kids won't have any idea what is going on unless she is told about it. I think the best thing to do is see if you can talk to another parent there to see what they think, and maybe get together and a group. I would try not to sit and point fingers at the therapist either, cuz she does probably do a good job and just made a bad decision. Other than that, I am not sure what else I would do. That is where I would start. Good luck and keep us updated on what happens!

hayngrl101 said...

WOW. I most certainly do not think you are out of line for your feelings. That was totally inappropriate not to mention UNPROFESSIONAL for a therapist to BURDEN a client with the supposed financial distresses of a program.

My second thought right after "wow" is asking if this therapist has any children and if so, any special needs kids? Sounds like she is in the dark as to what kind of BURDENS we, as mothers of children with special needs, carry. And then to increase your worry/anxiety because of her thoughtlessness and tact.

I definitely agree with the other ladies. You should bring this to the attention of the director. Especially because the whole matter may have been embelished...?

I would also encourage you to talk to other parents and get their take on the situaton as well. No one should have any guilt over the director's financial circumstances. I suppose if you had a hundred hours of free time and the inclination, you could offer to do some fundraising. But, I would see what the director's take on it all would be first.

Katie said...

Ditto to all that has been said. I know saying it won't change your feelings but you shouldn't feel guilty about only paying what was asked. There are so many services I would love to donate tons of money to for the help they have provided but I can't. Give what you are asked to give. If/When the time comes you have the means to donate to a worthy cause do. The only one who should be ashamed is the therapist.

Preemie Miracle said...

Ditto to them all. It is so sad.

Also just a thought, maybe after you address the issue you can try and find a community sponsor. I know walmart will give money sometimes. I went and asked for donations of Toys for the therapy place here and got 100 buck gift card for Toys. I dont know if they would do money in cash.

I do think it was out of line though