Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Speech Therapy?

So today was Brother's big evaluation through our local "Child Find" at a pre-K and K center that is anything but "local" to us. The speech therapist, a lady named Sara, determined that everything I told her was correct. He is normal in all areas except for speech/communication in which he scored a zero rating.

She wants me to register him to attend the school four days a week so that he can receive "speech therapy" that turns out to be nothing like what I thought it would be. I asked if there would be special equipment and techniques, if he'd be given individualized attention, pulled out of the classroom so that he could focus on the new sounds he's being taught, basically anything critical to his speech development that I simply can't provide for him. The answer is: none of the above. He will attend regular pre-K, but during "center time" as he wanders around to whatever area catches his interest a speech assistant will follow him. She will say the names of things that he's playing with and encourage him to say them, too. They'll also emphasize getting him to ask for the specific things he wants at snack time like "juice" and "cookie".

I'm pretty much stunned. They want me to take him to and from the nearest bus stop (a mile away) four times a week in the afternoons so that he can miss his nap, disrupt a class full of kids, and get the exact same help he's already getting at home. If he was in the terrible home situation that he was pulled out of originally, I could see how that would be beneficial to him. I asked about getting him speech therapy in our home and Sara said that legally they have to do the "least restrictive" method. In home therapy is considered "more restrictive" because then Brother wouldn't get all that beneficial social interaction with his "peer group" meaning that he'll learn better speech from a class full of 3 and 4 year olds than he would from a home environment with older (and younger) kids and adults who all speak clearly already. Somehow, I don't see how spending three hours a day hearing only one adult and 15 other pre-K age kids speak is better, but then again, I'm not a speech therapist, so what do I know? He's supposed to start school on Monday.


Shannon said...

wow that would of have shocked me too! sorry about th emile thing

momma-o-minnie said...

Ok... ran into the same issue... Had the child worked up by Children's Hospital satelite... Medicaid paid for it and the child got one on one... Worked until 1st grade... I'd say check that avenue out...

Jess said...

Thanks, Momma-0, we are actually already pursuing that route. We just had Snow White evaluated at the Westminster satellite of Children's Hospital. We were so impressed! Now THAT is the kind of evaluation and help that Brother needs, too!

She's on the waiting list while they check to see if the funding will be covered. I think it will be. Then she'll go one day a week for a one hour intensive speech therapy session. We're going to see if we can get Brother checked out, too. Because his needs are more severe he'll have to be evaluated at the main Children's Hospital, but after approval for services he can get his weekly appointments set at the Westminster location which is closer.

I already asked his caseworker and she said that if I can get him the help through Children's, then I can pull him out of the pre-K program he's in. She agrees that he needs much more individualized attention and help with his speech problem.