With the holidays just around the corner, everyone is getting into the spirit of the season.

In our home,  that starts early and means Christmas music that fills the rooms starting on November 1, way too many trees to decorate, and letters to the Jolly Saint Nick.

The kid’s lists this year were very telling in their different approaches to what their wishes entailed.

In a similar sense to the number of differences I must manage at home, therapists have the daily challenge of managing differing clinical needs in the patients they serve.

Additionally, we must remember to engage in conversations not simply about what our wishes are for our patients, but also what their goals, aims and wish lists are upon the end of therapy services.

Most imperative: We need to start these conversations early during the rehab stay. During the holidays, we tend to see these wishes relating to the need to be close to loved ones.

I want to be able to walk up my daughter’s front steps to get into her home and spend time with the great-grandbabies.

I want to be able to eat a thick piece of salty country ham without choking.

I need to be able to transfer into my son’s car for the ride to our community’s holiday party.

My little ones at home indicated their wishes, including the following:

Emmy had one dream in mind. It was the ultimate gift every 4-year-old girl needs: the Barbie Dream House… Funny thing is, she wished early and Amazon delivered this gift last week, with the large box busted open and the treasure in plain view. Our assumption is that Holly the Elf knew just how heavy the gift would have been for Santa’s Sleigh and so she delivered it herself and Emmy is as a result spending many hours celebrating in advance.

Isaac? Well, his list was much more colorful and included a Polaroid camera, unicorn poop, a sippy cup and cornbread.

The boy loves to eat, drinks close to a gallon of milk a day, and can appreciate a fresh cast iron skillet of cornbread.  

Kathryn and Lawson are the eldest and testing the waters by waiting to turn in their lists, using the limited time as a gauge for the reality of the Jolly Ol’ Guy.

Despite the warnings that their wishes may be too late to address, they will not give. If I were their therapist and not their mother, I would advise that we must make the most of our time together and sharing their goals can help to make their dreams a reality.

And then there is Joseph. My sweet, kind-hearted soul Joseph.

Those of you who read this blog consistently will remember that he is the child who last year helped himself to Mom’s Amazon log-in and proceeded to treat the family with unexpected gifts as a result.

Joseph’s Christmas wish

This year his wish list just as sweet:

Stop killing animals and chopping down trees and Peace On Earth

That’s my Christmas Wish to Santa.

One more thing. Stop littering.

While sweet, I tell ya, he has set the bar high.

We, as therapists, have seen similar cases in our patients, and in my experience, we never know the power of true determination until we see it in action.

Here’s to a season of wishing early, dreaming big and seeing what outcomes we together can achieve.

Renee Kinder, MS, CCC-SLP, RAC-CT, is Director of Clinical Services for Encore Rehabilitation and is the Silver Award winner in the 2018 American Society of Business Publishing Editors competition for the Upper Midwest Region in the Service/How To Blogs category. Additionally, she serves as Gerontology Professional Development Manager for the American Speech Language Hearing Association’s (ASHA) gerontology special interest group, is a member of the University of Kentucky College of Medicine community faculty, and is an advisor to the American Medical Association’s Relative Value Update Committee (RUC) Health Care Professionals Advisory Committee (HCPAC).