Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Testing with the school system

So, we had Harlie's "testing" with the school system today. She was seen by a speech therapist and a physical therapist. The speech therapist had a flip chart with some pictures on it and asked Harlie which picture was the bird, the ball, etc. At one point she asked her which was the spoon. Yeah, she didn't know that one. I had to tell her that I haven't really focused on teaching her eating utensils yet. And it doesn't help that the spoon we use for her feeding trials does not look anything like a regular spoon. We use an EZ spoon.

Anyway, the physical therapist asked me a bunch of questions about her heart and her spine, what she can do, what she can't, her endurance, her oxygen saturation numbers, etc. She said that Harlie might not qualify for physical therapy through the school system. She can get herself around okay. Her only issues (physically, I mean) are endurance (heart defects and oxygen deprivation make her tire quickly), spinal problems, and low tone. So, why would she qualify??? Crazy, huh? But she said that the medical standards for needing physical therapy and the school standards for needing it are two entirely different things.

I'm not really that surprised as far as her physical condition goes. But, I thought for sure, of course she would qualify for speech therapy. I mean, the girl can't talk!!!! However, there is some definition of qualification - like the child has to be 30% delayed or more in order to qualify (and I don't know if this is even correct, but it's an example at least). And, from the way she was talking, it is possible that Harlie might NOT qualify!!! I find this crazy myself. In the end, I really don't think it matters that much. I will continue her therapies as is, privately, through our insurance and Medicaid. So, it's not like she won't get therapy. I just think it is crazy. So, she's not 30% delayed - now. But we can all see that she will be soon if she doesn't receive therapy. So is their plan to wait until she's delayed to then try and catch her up again? Why not be proactive?

And, really, what difference does it make that she can point to the bird or the ball on a chart? I mean, that's hardly "communicating". That's just answering direct questions. That has nothing to do with WHY she needs speech therapy. Really, the more I'm thinking about it, the more questions I have! What's the connection between developmentally behind and speech therapy?? Well, I understand there's a connection in many cases - but it's not that black and white. Harlie can learn - if you teach her. She's proven that. Well, she needs to be taught how to talk. And the reasons why she can't talk - are all medical. Not developmental. Clearly that can't be a reason for her to NOT qualify!! Right?!?!?!

Well, her eligibility meeting is in one month. And I guess I'll have to go prepared, ready to advocate for my daughter. I'm really hoping that they realize her medical need for speech therapy. I'm thinking that it will make getting her whatever she requires come Kindergarten-time a little easier if she gets in the system now. At this point we have no idea if she'll be able to talk (or be understood when she does talk) by then. Who knows? Guess I'll be getting an education myself this month. Anyone have any experience to share? I would love to hear it!



Ann said...

The school district banks on the fact that you will continue with private therapy and the fact that Harlie will get therapy through Medicaid which is why they go out of their way to qualify our kids for as little as possible. No matter what they tell you, they are there to limit services as much as possible, they aren't really interested in seeing our kids reach their full potential. The school district has a completely different agenda than you.

Me ... bitter? What makes you think that :)

Grandma said...

Gee, I thought in this day and age that the school system would be a little more up to date on what the children really Ann said..they just want to pass the buck and have someone else to their be that advocate for Harlie (I know that you and Tom will do everything possible) to make sure she gets what she deserves...they have all these programs for the gifted children...what abot the needy kids! If there is anything I can do up here...write letters to your congressman, etc..let me know. I will do all i can to make sure Harlie can have the services she deserves.
By the way...she looks so dog gone cute sitting on the edge of her "new bed". Such a grownup little girl...Just miss all of them to pieces!

Pam Walsh said...

The school system is an awful process to go through and IEP and Child Study meetings in your future are no fun. Henrico has a reputation for not very good special education services. A lot of red tape, but if you continue to be her advocate and fight for what you want-you will be fine. Good luck with everything. She will definitely get more from private services anyway. I was going to have Conor go through the schools for his fine motor and sensory processing, but after meeting the therapist at his school and asking her what she would do for him, I was very disappointed. He had already achieved so much more in private therapy with Marty. If you can do so, private is the way to go! Hope all is well!

Jennifer and Elizabeth said...

Wow, that is ridiculous. I guess I am one of the fortunate ones that hasn't had to fight for what Elizabeth needs in school. Her teacher and even her speech therapist said they would do whatever necessary fro Elizabeth to recieve one more year of services.

I'm so sorry you are having a difficult time getting the services Harlie deserves in school!

Beverley said...

I was not impressed with what was offered to Leyda last year....I chose not to enroll her in county pre school. She continues with private therapies and will start a reg pre school this year...albeit at 4 and half she will, by my choice, be in the 3 yo class - 2 mornings per week. When we know she can handle it cardiac-wise we will transition her (hopefully)all the way up to the 3 morning, 4yo class. I believe academically she is on target.