Evaluation and regime change
by the other theo
I am so sorry that this blog went silent for six weeks. A great deal happened with regard to the Peanut in that time that resulted in major changes in how we are dealing with his special needs. I won’t get into the ins and outs of everything that happened, at least not yet. It was a bit of bumpy road and the journey sapped whatever time, energy, or inclination I had to write here.
The roots of the last six weeks begin last June. At that time, we had the Peanut evaluated for speech therapy services from the local school district. The evaluating speech pathologist immediately understood his apraxia as well as his good nature and recommended him for three hours of therapy a week. Since it was the end of the school year, that therapy would not begin until the start of school again in September. She also recommended that the Peanut be evaluated by a school psychologist for additional services. She told us that if we didn’t hear from the District quickly on that to not be shy about contacting them.
Well, we didn’t hear from them quickly about that or anything else. The speech therapy was scheduled at the last minute and required significant juggling of the Peanut’s schedule. Along with the start of the preschool year, everything was chaos for a week or so, and the Peanut was (justifiably) frustrated for 4+ weeks after that because his whole routine was upended.
Finally, we bothered to call the school district about the psychology evaluation around the end of October. With the Pilgrim holidays and all, it was early December until there was any in person evaluation or preschool observation. Christmas vacation and a sudden change in speech therapist intervened to delay matters even further. The new speech therapist came online in January and did not work well with the Peanut. She also began making ominous noises about what she really thought was (more seriously) wrong with him.
In February, the psychologist finally brought a special education teacher into the evaluation mix. That lead to questionnaires, formal evaluations, and classroom observations. These came to head almost two weeks ago, when we were told that the District considers the Peanut’s condition to be more serious than the apraxia confirmed by two developmental pediatricians and multiple speech pathologists in the previous 18 months.
It’s been three years now since our family doctor noticed that the Peanut was slow in forming his speech. Why does it feel like every goddamn time we have someone else look at the Peanut, the results are either useless or worse?
So, it took a while to absorb that news and decide what to do next. The District is willing to offer the Peanut additional services based on their evaluation: special ed preschool four days a week with integrated speech therapy. That ultimately sounded good to us, because we saw that the classroom was just reinforcing the same kinds of things we were doing with the Peanut at home. He should really benefit from the more immersive, integrated approach. It also got him away from the speech therapist that started in January — he was making no progress with her. We talked to his current preschool, and they will let him attend there on Fridays (the day he’s not in special pre-school) to have some continuity there as well. One of the teachers specially asked us if he could stay just because she wanted to know how he’s doing.
At the same time, we will go back and talk to the doctors to see if something was really missed in all the testing we did in 2013 and 2014 to answer exactly these kinds of questions.
Until then, the new regime has started. The Peanut started his new preschool yesterday. His teacher said that he did well.
p.s. We got a phone call from the District a few days ago to inform us that the speech therapist who started with the Peanut in January will be leaving. As much as I would like to speculate about how her own conduct with us might have led to that event, best to simply move on.