Friday, April 12, 2013

Reigniting Chewie's spark

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago we had Chewie evaluated (again) for speech problems. The speech pathologist told us she wouldn't qualify based on scores but she would write the report as negative as she could because she felt she would benefit from the help. The second evaluation was done by the psychologist who told me that she would absolutely qualify because she couldn't understand what she was saying. She scored well on the intelligence and self help and all the psycho tests and it was just in expressive language that she needed help.

We had our hearing last Wednesday and I was a bit surprised that I had to truly argue that she needed the services. Everyone in the room agreed she would benefit. But they weren't sure if the county would foot the bill because on paper her scores weren't bad enough. Because that it what our educational system has come to in NYS. Children are not whole pictures. They are numbers. Just numbers. She did qualify for once a week, even though everyone said that twice a week would be the best for her. One of the areas that she scored high in was in social skills and playing with friends. Luckily I had volunteered at preschool after I answered those questions at the evaluation so I was able to amend them at the hearing. I was basing my answers on what I saw with her friends at home and places where I am with her to translate. Turns out when I am not with her she is a different kid.

When she first started preschool she was so ready to go, happy to go, there was no clinginess, no transition problems. After some time I would ask her who she played with and she would say nobody because no one would play with her and I just figured she was not serious. I always saw her running around with kids on the playground at pick up time so I assumed she played with them inside too. There were a few times when she said she didn't want to go to preschool but I discounted that too. Lately I've been noticing a bit more clinginess at drop off. A bit more reluctance to go.

Let me interrupt myself to say that she LOVES her teachers (as do I) and is happy there. There are no mean kids, no bullies like in previous years.

When I volunteered I saw that she didn't really play with other kids inside. Her teachers confirmed it and I just figured that she was used to entertaining herself because I'm always taking care of LightRunner.

I was wrong.

The psychologist observed her at preschool to try to build a better case for twice a week therapy. She told her teachers that she was completely different than how she had been in her office during the evaluation. Her teachers said that she will often try to get the girls to play with her when they are playing princesses or Mommy/baby or pretend play but they don't understand her so they don't play with her and she gives up and goes to play alone or with blocks near the boys since they don't talk either. She comes into preschool all fired up and by the end she is subdued (until she gets to the playground where it is a more equal arena). She follows the teachers around because they can at least understand half of what she says. It is a significant barrier to her relationship with the other kids.

This just slays me.

She is so spunky and full of life and not even close to being shy and to think of her getting rejected--even if it's not in a mean way, it is still rejection--and her spark getting dimmer and dimmer... well it's not easy to think of that. I am glad that she is starting the once a week therapy but I will be pushing for twice a week. We'll do what we have to do. I'm glad that she has older siblings to play with and that it hasn't broken her spirit yet. I'm also going to try to line up as many playdates for her as I can so that she has positive interactions with non-siblings as well.

My mommy guilt is in overdrive right now. It was rainy and hailing and gloomy today but we still went out. She got her hair cut, we went to a local children's museum and then to Cracker Barrel for lunch. We made corn muffins for snack. We're going to have a movie night tonight. I hope she doesn't ask for a pony because I really don't have the time to take care of one of those. (See, that right there is what we call a defense mechanism. Make a joke. Find something to laugh about. Because otherwise it gets too painful to bear.)


BakingSuit said...

Oh doll. HUGS. If they won't get you twice a week, we'll brainstorm for other help stuff.

Part of me gets why they are such number focused but it really sucks for the kids like Chewie who need it, but for whatever reason are scoring too high to qualify.

I know of a pony farm she can go visit though. It's only a little over an hour and a half away ;)

Kim said...

a friend and former TPL employee has a daughter who needed some serious speech therapy ... she's done fine... but have to say, she also started riding when she was having speech issues... and the horse was as much a part of therapy as the speech therapist... send me an e-mail if you want to connect with her...

Anonymous said...

I went through this with two of mine. It was really upsetting, and I had to really battle to get them services. I am so glad I did, and the teachers were right there with me! My son who could not read, became an avid reader, and my son who tremers, was able to learn to utilize humor to break the ice. Your on the right tract... keep up the pace!!! Love ya, Marian

Anonymous said...

Difficult to read from two angles: as a parent and as a therapist. Having to face the number game is perhaps the most frustrating. I've been in the field long enough to see the person making the final decision change from wanting what is best for the child(ren) to speaking to what what will make the counties happy. Informed clinical judgement is becoming not enough now. Apparently, lawmakers are also speech, physical, occupational, vision, play, etc. therapists who know more. I often try to give parents a heads-up in regard to the chances of getting serives. Not because I agree at all but because I am already anticipating a wrongfully denial of serivces. We need parents like you to speak up for everything it is worth.

GoddessLibrarian said...

Thanks! It is frustrating because it was clear everyone in the room agreed the services would be good and the only hesitation was whether or not the county was going to agree. It is just another example of what is wrong with education in NYS--the people making decisions are not educators but businessmen.