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Old 04-08-2009, 08:23 PM   #1
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Unhappy DS speech therapy ??s & momma frustrations LONG but need some perspective

To start. Ash is 3 years old now. He is a typical high needs "spirited" little boy. Very very very short attention span, very active, but curious and wanting to learn about everything. I'm always the one that was pushing for him to do his speech therapy...DH never thought he needed it. He just thought that Ash didn't want to talk...that he would talk in his own time...but he conceded to ST because that's what I wanted and he thought it might give Ash a step up on his peers in the future, particularly when beginning preschool. I'm a SAHM...we go to multiple playgroups throughout the week plus Ash goes to our church's preschool-age sunday school on Sundays. He gets plenty of interaction with kids his own age so pre-K and ST are not a necessary thing for "socialization". For more details, keep reading. For the basic jist of it all, scan to the bottom in blue

Ash was evaluated when he was 18 months old for speech delays...he began receiving services about a month later for speech & developmental therapy in our home once a week. After some therapist bounce around play due to maternity leaves, therapists going to part time, etc etc we finally got into a good routine with a couple of great therapists. During the evaluations every six months, he showed improvement but still had slight delays...enough to continue receiving services. When he hit the 30 month mark and did his every-6 month evaluation, we decided to cut his therapies back to once every two weeks. During the next six months, I attended a couple meetings about transferring him to the school district when he turned 3...we always discussed starting him in the pre-k program as soon as he entered the school district even though it would be mid-year (february to be exact) so that he could receive his services while AT school. When the school finally got back to me after repeated calls 2 weeks before his third birthday, I was already frustrated with the whole process. Why did I have to stay on their butts so much about this??

We did his exit evaluation with the first step/birth to 3 program. He had caught up completely on developmental and they didn't recommend continuing therapy with it. His speech was still slightly behind and they told me that the school may not even feel that he needed services. So I go to our meeting with the school...they want to do their own eval because ...I don't know...the other one wasn't what they wanted?? So we go through ANOTHER eval at the school. The EI teacher sits in on the eval, the ST wasn't there at all, the pre-k teacher did not attend...somebody from the regional EI team came and did the eval. He was having a bad day when doing the eval...not wanting to cooperate, very short attention span, refusing to do things that he is perfectly capable of doing. The person doing the eval did not ask me if he was capable of doing these things, nor would she take my information that he was capable of doing them...she just would mark him down as delayed on something :headbang: I told her during the eval that he had been sick and that he was not his usual self. A couple weeks later, I'm asked to come into a meeting to get him started at the school. The EI teacher says that she thinks he is too advanced for the EI class and would be bored...plus most of her kids are non-verbal autistic kids and that the class would "dumb him down" Yes. She actually said that. It just seemed so inconsiderate to me to refer to it that way. The ST still was not there. The pre-k teacher said that she had talked to the EI teacher about what she saw, had put her recommendations on our papers, but had to get back to class. In short...she thought Ash would do well in the class NEXT fall, she was too full this year & understaffed, BUT we would need to do something to get him "more controllable". That little boys like him can be quite a handful and a distraction to her class, especially with her being understaffed. That "perhaps we should speak to his doctor about medication" = Ritalin, at least to my understanding. Um. Hell. No. I am not medicating my 3 year old to make it easier for her to control her class. He IS hyper, but nothing extreme. He's a normal three year old boy. At that point, we decided to homeschool for preschool. My motives are questioned by the regional EI team member...am I capable of teaching my child? Ummm...yes...pretty sure I can handle colors, numbers, and letters, along with the other preschool basics. I can still tell that they don't necessarily approve, but they can't do anything about it so too bad for them.

We decide to do his speech therapy through the grade school and me bring him twice a week for 20 minute sessions. No, its not possible to do longer sessions. That's the longest session the ST does and it would throw off her schedule to bring him longer than that. They also request that the parent leave during the sessions and come back because parents "prove to be distractions". He is put into sessions with a little boy that I believe is in kindergarten, but possibly an older pre-K studen. Ash has a shorter attention span than this little one, but his speech is much clearer and articulated considering the age difference. We're about 2.5 months in now. At the beginning, he was doing great. He would beg to go...always ask where his ST and speech friend were (ask by name)...he would be excited to go and happy when I left & came back. The past few weeks though....uuuugggghhhh I have to practically drag him kicking and screaming to the car to go to therapy. He cries as we're going into the school. He tells me he's sick and "I cain't goooooooo". When I try to drop him off, he begs me to stay with him. He will NOT go into the room unless I stay, but he will not sit down and focus during sessions because, according to the teacher, I'm in there. She says he sits and pays attention when I'm not there. She says that he'll be fine and I need to leave. Today...I just couldn't deal with the crying and whining and screaming anymore. I told him to sit and went to stand in the adjoining library (he couldn't see me in there, but I could hear everything going on in the speech room) thinking "oh, he'll calm down in a minute or two" Nope. He cried for almost fifteen minutes...."I need my mommy" "I cain't do this" "noooooo....where's my mommy?" I would hear the ST ask him to read the book with her and T (his speech "friend")...ask him if he wanted to try a game...if he wanted to color. But for the most part, it seemed as though she was just ignoring the tantrum and trying to work around it with the other LO. I met him at the door with a smile after he was done, saying "see, that wasnt' bad! mommy came right back!" he was sobbing...sounded like he was going to vomit...clinging to my leg like he hadn't seen me in forever His ST's opinion is "he just needs to be left with other people more often, he's just used to you being around too much. He needs to be socialized". I'm just done. I'm done with it all. I can't deal with this anymore. He's obviously miserable and hates doing it. His delay is very very very minimal even according to the crappy school eval, so I really am questioning if he even needs ST anymore. The school year ends in a few weeks and I know they are just going to try to talk us into sticking it out until then...I'm sure it comes down to money coming in for kids in the programs. Then he would have summer vacation from ST like the other students, and begin again in the fall. But really...I want to call Monday and say "we're done. We're not doing this anymore. That's it." Is that horrible? Does anybody else go through this? Doubting the whole system...wondering if its even worth it...just all of it??? Thanks to anybody that has made it this far...I realize its like a mini-novel but I just had to get all of that off my chest and out of my mind Any perspective on this would be welcome...experiences...anything I can do....even just somebody telling me I'm not horrible for wanting to quit...or telling me I'm not alone in questioning all of this.

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Last edited by smashncakes; 04-08-2009 at 08:26 PM.
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Old 04-08-2009, 09:56 PM   #2
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Re: DS speech therapy ??s & momma frustrations LONG but need some perspective

Personally, I liked all the details! I'm a school psychologist and currently SAHM--nearly 50% of my time was spent working with preschoolers. I'd say it is not unusual to for a school to take awhile to get a student in for eval before the 3rd birthday--there are usually so many referrals and so little time, etc. I was in a great school, with people who worked extra hours for free, and we still fell behind sometimes. We were required by federal law to complete our own evaluation but could use the info. from EI for a lot of it. That may help explain why they did their "own thing." I never wanted to just take the report from EI and stamp my name on it, I wanted to do SOMETHING to get to know the lo first. Our ST was always involved in speech evals and often advised the team on how she thought each case should be handled (observation, testing, etc.). We also always interviewed at least one parent. Plus, in my experience, if a kid was having a bad day we just rescheduled. It sounds like a lot of things were thrown together quickly to meet the "eval by 3rd birthday" deadline.

In reading your history, I was surprised they qualified him for speech services and then the PS teacher told you that she was too full and all the rest of it. She had no legal right to say ANY of that, but......I wouldn't want my child in her classroom if that was her attitude, especially considering that the speech delay is minor. As for the speech classes he's receiving now, I understand putting different ages together if they are working on similar speech goals. It would have BROKE MY HEART! though to hear my lo crying like that! Speech therapy at that age especially is usually fun, a safe environment to work on speech, with games and stickers. I shared a room with a speech therapist so I was always hearing and watching the kids---and none of them cried. None of my STs would have ignored a child for 15 minutes!

For what it's worth, I think your decision to homeschool PS was a great one. It sounds like you provide a lot of opportunities for socialization and for him to get some of that energy out. LOL. As for meds and ADHD....I agree, he's three--just keep an eye on it over time and see how it goes. I'm not sure what the PS teacher was basing that on since he was never in her classroom, right?

If EI was not recommending speech, delays are minimal, the anxiety is only specific to speech therapy and no other settings, and your mommy instincts are telling you it is more harm than good, I would stop. If it is something you really want to pursue through the school, you could call an IEP meeting to discuss it all and develop a plan to address his anxiety. I'm not sure what the speech is meant to address--articulation? Maybe a call to one of the STs you liked at EI could give you some exercises to do at home. Another option is a hospital ST. Usually insurance covers ST but you need a referral from the doctor and I think the ST has to do their own testing. Or you can always pick speech up again in kindergarten if needed. Since he qualified for services, a decision to take him out of speech would really just be you refusing the IEP. So, at any time you changed your mind (a few weeks later or even months later--up to 3 years from the initial PS evaluation), he'd still qualify and could start back up again. The school would have to request a new evaluation if they suddenly decided he shouldn't receive speech.

As for funding, I know in the two states I've worked in we had a count of special ed kids in the fall and one around Feb/Mar. The one in the fall was really the only one that "counted." The Mar. funding was always minimal. I don't think your lo dropping would affect their funding.

Hope this helps! Sorry I wrote too much--just trying to address your concerns. Good luck!
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Old 04-08-2009, 11:04 PM   #3
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Re: DS speech therapy ??s & momma frustrations LONG but need some perspective

No, definitely not too much It gives me just a little bit of perspective from the teacher/psychologist/therapist point of view...you've given me more insight than any of the new people have even attempted. I was talking to an old coworker tonight about the whole adhd/ritalin/controlling him comment and she flat out would not believe me that the teacher would say that...her daughter goes there to the preschool and she has known the preschool teacher for years through her father and that she would never say something like that. That either a)the EI teacher totally took what she said and twisted it around & took it out of context and passed it along to me that way or b) I'm just taking everything out of context...that the comment about seeing his doctor to get him more controlled was not implied to medicate him but to try something else...but honestly, I don't really see what else it could mean, kwim?? It just added more confusion to the whole mix of it He mostly goes for articulation stuff, but everything I've seen the ST do when I've stayed the past couple times is stuff I already do at home...if something is said incorrectly, we just say it back the right way and encourage him to do the same...we don't say "no, that's wrong"...we just say the right word, stressing the correct sound, and demonstrate as much as possible. The first few weeks were all fun & games & stickers...and then all of a sudden...bam! meltdown every time. The behavior has mostly centered around speech therapy...or we can be having a great day, then when it comes time to go to speech, there is total drama that just goes on throughout the day. There HAS to be some link to it all...there just has to be. I talked to hubby and he's all on board for just quitting, but he never wanted to do it in the first place, he couldn't really care less. We're going to be moving in the next month or two anyways (hopefully) and he would be transferring out of this district/regional office anyways, so the work would have to be done....I don't really see the point in making him continue for a couple more weeks just for the sake of going, especially with how miserable he is. I think I'm going to be making some phone calls tomorrow though, particularly to the EI coordinator for the region to let her know that we won't be coming back. I guess I just have this weird fear that they're going to try giving me all kinds of crap for pulling him out of it...I've heard horror stories of people having CPS called on them for pulling their kids out of EI services & school and that's probably what drives the fear...although I'm sure they are completely different scenarios, more likely ones where the children really DO need the services for physical reasons as opposed to minor delays...and I know they can't do anything to me for pulling him out...I guess its just the fear --I don't even think that's the right word, but I'm drawing a blank right now-- of having to possibly go through a fight on it, ya know?? I know there are so many kids out there who have parents fighting to get them INTO these programs and get them these services and they can't for some reason or another, and I just feel horrible because they're available to us and we're quitting because, essentially, he hates going. I know I'm dealing with it, but at the same time, it feels like I'm running away from dealing with it. Does that even make sense??
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Old 04-12-2009, 03:54 PM   #4
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Thumbs up Re: DS speech therapy ??s & momma frustrations LONG but need some perspective

I too have a child in ST and another I have just filled out paperwork for eval through the babies can't wait. I too had a DH that thought there was nothing wrong with Kayla. I knew deep in my heart at around 2 there was something wrong. Everyone told me that she would talk when she was ready. I was told by her pediatrician that she didn't have to talk b/c her sister talked for her. My DH would get angry when I would bring the topic up and scream our child is not stupid. He just didn't understand that it had nothing to do with intelligence. I finally got what I was looking for when her 3 yr old pre-k teacher said she had noticed some articulation issues that should have been mastered by her age. I have never been so happy to hear that there may be something wrong with my child. I just felt validated. I went behing DH back and had her evaluated. She qualified for speech therapy. She is now in K. She still receives ST through the school system. She goes once a week for 30 min. Her therapist is great. They are now working on the R's. This letter has been a work in progress for over a year. Even though her speech is getting better her teacher says she still notices that Kayla is very quiet and hesitant to participate in class discussions and read aloud time.She has also noticed that she spells words the way she says them. With all this info, plus a wonderful ST that fights for her students, Kayla has been given the green light to continue with services despite budget cutbacks. I only hope that DS is able to squeak in before he is three. I believe the earlier it can be worked on the better. Good luck and I will say a prayer for your family.
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