Wednesday, May 25, 2011

OT SOAP BOX: Being on the other side of the meeting table

I have participated in many many many staffings and IEPs over the past few years, and I always made it a point to be compassionate and sympathizing.  I recently have had the luxury of empathizing as well.  

Mudget has always had a nasally sounding voice.  Our family often mocked him (I know it is terrible) Like when he asked "Auntie Tata for a nyack."  She replied, "You want a nyack?" "No! I want a nyack!"  And this would go on like a Laurel and Hardy skit.  He's had ear tubes placed twice and adenoids out.  And every visit to the ENT, I say, boy doctor, he is really nasally and he can't blow bubbles or a pinwheel without holding his nose.  And that doctor would reply, "oh he doesn't have a problem. If he did, he would sound like this..."  And he would talk in a voice that sounded just like Mudget's.  So needless to say, I switched ENTs, got a second opinion and a referral for a speech evaluation.

At the evaluation, the speech therapist used a standardize test, as well as just talked with him to hear his typical voice and speech patterns.  And when we met the next day for the staffing, the meeting at which you determine if he qualifies for special services, she stated that he has nasal emissions (talking through the nose resulting in air coming through), and though it is at the end of the year, try some of these activities over the summer, and she will look at him in the fall when he enters the new local preschool to see if we need intense therapy to alleviate the problem.

But it got me thinking.  I am well aware and have many resources and supports to utilize to my advantage. I know and feel comfortable asking questions and advocating for my kids (birthed, and not birthed).  But for those new to the experience, it is very daunting.  So I wanted to share some info and apps so that people can better and more comfortably understand the process.

iAdvocate is a free app developed by Syracuse University with responses to problems, strategies and resources about how to advocate for inclusive services.

ASHA, the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association, has a number of resources on the development of speech and language.  According to ASHA, by the end of Kindergarten as child should be able to do the following:
  • Follow 1-2 simple directions in a sequence
  • Listen to and understand age-appropriate stories read aloud
  • Follow a simple conversation
  • Be understood by most people
  • Answer simple "yes/no" questions
  • Answer open-ended questions (e.g., "What did you have for lunch today?")
  • Retell a story or talk about an event
  • Participate appropriately in conversations
  • Show interest in and start conversations
  • Know how a book works (e.g., read from left to right and top to bottom in English)
  • Understand that spoken words are made up of sounds
  • Identify words that rhyme (e.g., cat and hat)
  • Compare and match words based on their sounds
  • Understand that letters represent speech sounds and match sounds to letters
  • Identify upper- and lowercase letters
  • Recognize some words by sight
  • "Read" a few picture books from memory
  • Imitate reading by talking about pictures in a book
  • Print own first and last name
  • Draw a picture that tells a story and label and write about the picture
  • Write upper- and lowercase letters (may not be clearly written)
Taken from  This also has clicks for each of the grade levels through 5th.  

They also describe the differences between speech and language.

So keeping this all in mind, if you think your child has a problem, talk to your pediatrician and his/her teacher about your concerns.  You are the parent. You know the child.  And follow your gut. You are you child's best advocate, unless of course you suffer from Muncheusen's By Proxy....

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