Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Speech Therapy Results

Okay, here we are. Sorry this took so long. I know I still need to do the final Disney trip report (not that anyone still cares at this point), and I still need to write up the Titanic exhibit. I suppose I'll get to it eventually. Just busy busy! But Jacob did find an apartment last weekend, so the move is now *officially* on. Yay!! Ahem, anyway....

So, Luke finally had his speech therapy evaluation on April 26. We started a little late, but that's okay. Miss Maria was our therapist, and she was very very nice. I know it is their job, but she is so good with kids, I was just amazed. Luke is usually very shy at first around new people, but he warmed up to her almost immediately. Our appointment was at 9. She asked me all kinds of questions about his history and stuff. That took about 30 minutes. Then she started the testing. I had no idea it would take so long, almost 90 minutes. By the time she was getting near the end, he was getting hungry and tired and uncooperative, so I don't know if that affected the results or not. We did have a snack a bit after 10, between the two portions of the test (one was about understanding and expressing language, the other on pronunciation), but he was definitely ready to go by 11, and we hadn't heard the results or recommendations yet.

So, the results are: not really good. Once she found out I was in IE and that I understand statistics, she was happy to share things with me in those terms. That would be where the visual aid comes in. Here is the chart version of what I was told:

His "understanding" score was basically a full standard deviation below the mean (that would be what most people call average). The thing that aggravates me about that score, though, is that it puts him at a development age of 2 years and 5 months. He wasn't even 2 years 7 months when he took the test! And he only missed one question. I don't understand how missing a *single* question, when it was asked after an hour of testing and 30 minutes after his regular snack time, should drop him enough that it shows up as a mild disorder! Very frustrating as a parent from that perspective. She did basically tell me that she thinks he is fine in that department, and that I shouldn't really worry. She also complimented his willingness to follow instructions. So, no real problems with understanding. He may not be showing as gifted at this point, but we'll take average, especially considering the rest of the scores.

His "expressing" score (basically his talking to you) is right in the middle of the mild range, just barely closer to moderate than normal. She didn't say how that translates to an age equivalent. She gave us a list of things to do to try and get him communicating more, though most of what she said we're already doing, and he has already made great improvements, so I'm not overly worried at this point. We'll work on it, but I'm not nervous about it. A bit behind? Maybe, but I'm sure he'll catch up. By the time we finally *get* to therapy, it may not even be a problem (more on that in a bit).

His "pronunciation" score was the most troubling. It is right on the border between moderate and severe. I have a few issues with this one as well. First off, it was the last test she ran, when he was really getting tired of it all. Second, I don't know a single two-year-old who could have passed! It's just the way they are. No child that age speaks very clearly. They all mispronounce things. (As a friend of mine said when I was frustrated with Luke crying as an infant, "wait until you learn to speak 'two'".) Unless everyone in his daycare class needs speech therapy! And she did say that the way the test works, they mark off for every time a mistake is made, even if it is a repeat of the same mistake over and over. So if he has trouble with the R sound, every time he misses and R (such as in both rabbit and car), his score gets "dinged." (That's just an example. He is actually good with R's; she even said she was surprised about how well he used them at his age.) It could be that fixing just one or two pronunciation flaws will raise his score dramatically.

So, bottom line is she is recommending therapy. Now, here's the real kicker. Her report will be completed in 2-3 weeks from his exam date. That report will then be submitted to our insurance company, who will then decide whether or not they will cover the recommended therapy. (She said that there were no therapy restrictions listed on the initial application for coverage, but that sometimes they change their mind after they see the results, though I would like to think a borderline severe deficiency would qualify!) THEN, he will get put on the wait list for a therapy slot. Yes, that's right boys and girls, this has been going on since October when his pediatrician said "he needs to be evaluated," and he STILL can't see a therapist yet, even if the insurance company approves it, because there aren't any open slots!

And, to make matters even worse, there are *12* children ahead of him on that list. She estimates about 3 months before a slot becomes available, but even then there's no way to know what time it will be for. If the slot is from 11 AM-2 PM, that really won't work, because that would interfere in lunch and nap (and trust me, that would not be good). Missing lunch or nap would basically make any therapy done during that time pointless because he would be uncooperative and miserable. So then, we would go on the "preference list," so who knows how long that would take.

She did say "you know, if he continues progressing between now and then, you can always tell them that you are happy with his progress and you don't need or want the therapy." Excuse me?! You think I'm going to go through all this time and effort and hassle and frustration, and *then* turn down therapy when it is finally available? I don't think so! Even if he only goes for a few weeks, that's fine, but we're going. By the time a slot finally opens up, it will probably be August. We will have been trying to get him into speech therapy for almost a freakin' YEAR by then. I am so beyond tired of this whole mess, it's not even funny. But I guess if he gets on track with the talking, it will all be worth it. Right?

Currently feeling: frustrated


  1. Hugs! I can feel your frustration!

    This may be totally irrelevant, but have his tonsils been checked? No-one checked Marcus' and they turned out to be a huge problem. We went back to his speech therapist for the first time since the operation earlier this week and she and I both agreed that he was talking beautifully for his age now and she's discharged him!

    We can go back to her if any problems come up, but hopefully we'll be fine on our own.

    I've found that people get so caught up in one problem idea that other basics that might factor in can be ignored.

    Anyway, wishing all of you all the best. Kids get so frustrated when they can communicate clearly and it's hard on everyone. I know cause we've been there, done that.

    Hugs for you and cuddles for Luke.

  2. So sorry you are having such a hard time getting him service. I hope you are also aware that you can obtain free services through early intervention or the schools, dependent upon his age? There is no waiting list for either program. If you get a report, take that to them and therapy should be able to start a bit sooner. (you will have a paperwork set back, but you should get therapy).
    In the meantime, did your slp give you suggestions to decrease his frustration?
    Karen, SLP

  3. Definitely check with your daycare. DS's teacher had mentioned that our daycare has a speech therapist who can see kids as needed.

    As far as the pronunciation, I agree, most 2 yr olds will probably be diagnosed! I'm surprised Luke can say 'R' sound so clearly, DS still says "Wed Wagon" although he can say most other sounds. R is a difficult one for them. And why do they count repeat mistakes anyway?

    I'm sorry you're having such a hard time with appointments. Hope you get one soon. {{Erin}}


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