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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My 2.5 year old ds was denied speech therapy, even though the Early Childhood speech clinician said he was behind. I'm so frustrated I don't know what to do.

My son can say a lot of words and can even string sentences together. What worries me is that he can't say very many constanant sounds. He also can't generalize sounds (meaning even though he can say "mama" he can't take that "m" sound for other words, like milk, more, etc.). When I read the report from the speech clinician, he stated that "Max's performance today was estimated to be at a lower level than normal for him". I asked what that meant and he said that he knows Max can say more/do more than what he saw him say/do. So basically he's evaluating based on what he thinks Max can say, not what he actually heard him say.

My question is, do I seek help elsewhere? If so, where do I go? Do I just wait for a few months to see if he improves? My dh wants to wait, but I'm so worried about him. I don't know what to do!

S.
 

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Do you think your son "performed" as normal for the evaluator or did he do less well than he normally does?

If his "performance" was on par for what has been normal for him, I'd appeal. I don't know the process, but I'm pretty sure there is an appeals process.
 

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I can relate to your conundrum! My ds (24 months) was on a waiting list for 6 months to see the province (we live in Ontario, Canada) speech therapist assesement. In the meantime we were/are paying for private speech therapy which he sees once a month at this point. Even though my ds was behind, the Speech therapist said that he wasn't far behind enough to qualify. Instead he is sending my DH and I to a course for parents to learn how to help your child speak more. Only in the last 2 months has he made progress and now has 65 words and is starting to string two words together....BUT, he drops consonents a lot! Like Milk is "mil" and Bike is "Bi" Bus is "Bu" you get the idea.

I understand you DH wanting to wait a little bit longer. Their speech at this age is so varied between each child. Is there another therapist that could see him, perhaps a supervisor. Based on the report the therapist did indicate that Max was at a lower level in expressive speech. Perhaps they will reasses him in a couple of months if his speech has not improved?

Try not to worry to much (I know harder said then done, I'm a major worrier to, but hey, we are moms..that's our number #1 job
I'm sure in a few months he will improve. Besides, I'm sure the therapist has seen many, many cases in the past. Would they deny your ds any services if they felt he truly needed them.
 

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The hard thing with articulation is that there's a lot of variability in when kids say sounds correctly. I think all the charts I've ever seen have started with age 3, actually. (I was a special ed teacher, so I'm sure that the speech therapists had info going down younger.) Most kids who aren't articulating sounds correctly at 2.5 will get them later on, but I definitely understand the concern that if your ds doesn't turn out to be in that majority, then you'd want to start helping him sooner rather than later. Because of the way articulation develops, though, I'm not shocked your ds didn't qualify for services. (Actually, even back in 1977, the school had to classify me as communications handicapped in order to give me speech therapy in kindergarten. I was tough to understand even at 5, but they had a policy that general ed kids couldn't get speech therapy until first grade, because so many kindergarteners would qualify but most of them would figure it out on their own by first grade. So I got to be special ed for a little while.
)

The "Max's performance today was estimated to be at a lower level than normal for him" line is probably pretty standard. Early childhood evaluators are used to little kids not really being themselves during an eval. Probably most of the time the parents keep telling them, "Oh, he can do that. He's just not doing it for you," and it's true. But, of course, there's no way for the evaluator to know just how much it's affecting an individual child.

Did the clinician give you any suggestions of things you can do at home? I've heard some parents say that their evaluator did that for them. I found this site, which looked interesting:

http://www.speech-express.com/helpin...g-at-home.html

If you can afford private speech therapy, that might be an option. It can be expensive, though. But, you might want to see if you can find a private therapist who will just meet with you once to give you suggestions of what to do on your own. I'm not sure if that would be something they'd do. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you so much for replying everyone! I honestly can say Max didn't "perform" on the day of the eval (it was suppose to be in our home but at the last minute we had to go to the school). I know he can do better than what he did and the clinician was asking me "Can Max do this/that at home?" I hope I answered honestly!

The clinician did say that he will enroll us in a program that will keep an eye on Max. Every 6 months we'll be sent out a form to fill out regarding Max's speech and development so we can see if he's improving or not. I guess based on that and what you guys said, I think I'll wait out the summer to see if he improves, if he doesn't, then I'll take him in again. I'm sure I can "appeal" if I feel I Max needs therapy! Right now there is absolutely no way we can afford private therapy, although if it did come down to Max absolutely needing it I know we'd find a way to pay for it!

TortelliniMama (did you get that name from Sesame Street?!), the website looks like it will be really helpful (the clinician did not give us any ideas of things we can do at home) so thank you for that. That actually makes me feel better that there are things I can do at home for him.

Thanks so much, mamas for making me feel better and for not making me feel stupid about worrying. I think my dh gets annoyed (although he would never say it) over the amount of worrying I do over the kids!

S.
 

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I know that here in NY, the criteria for early intervention services is a 33% delay in one area. At his age, that would be a significant delay. I just pulled out a copy of a preschool language development test that i have & the articulation screening starts at age 2.6. the sounds looked for from ages 2.6 to 2.11 are: (words are included to give you the position in words they're looked at)

1. m - my
2. m- home
3. p- pie
4. p- hop
5. w- won
6. t- to
7. t- hat
8. b- bee
9. b- tub
10. h- high

When your child doesn't speak really well, it seems like every other kid is amazingly clear. But, developmentally, sounds like d, k & g aren't even looked at until ages 3-3.5! It sounds like your ds is probably doing fine, but keeping an eye on him is a great idea. There are tons of kids who take until the last possible moment of "within normal limits" to get their sounds straightened out.

Good luck!!!
 

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I've been a little more relaxed about the whole "speech" thing. Everybody told me that my oldest NEEDED speech and he couldn't be understood by others without mom the translator until he was nearly 5. But, he figured it all out. He was just learning at a slower pace than most, but he's now 7, talks fine, can be understood, pronounces things properly etc.

Only you know your child best. If you think there's something that REALLY needs to be attended too immediately, act on it. If not, give your child some time. My oldest learns in spurts. He goes along at the same pace for a long time and then all of a suddenly has HUGE learning boosts where suddenly he knows a ton of things. But, again, he's on his own timetable.
 

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I work for the Early Childhood Intervention Program in Texas. Not sure how similar or diffrent they are, but heres my two cents. First of all, if you said, "yes he can say that" thats where "performed below his capabilities" came from. But the real question is, do you feel the assessment was on target? Because here, in Texas, I know that you have a right to disagree with any assesment, you could ask for another therapist and a new assesment (dont worry, even the very best therapists get families who want someone else, for whatever reason, now and again, so dont worry about getting her in trouble or her being mad or whatever.) My second question would be, did she evaluate him JUST for a delay or also for articulation? Because (here, dont know about there), he can be age level or even above and still qualify for the program if his development is ATYPICAL, in other words, sure, he has as many words as he should for his age, but he isnt pronouncing them correctly if you see what I mean. If she only looked for a delay, you could request that they come back to look at articulation (like with the goldman fristoe test of articulation) rather than at his developmental level. I know we always ask parents if they feel the assesment results we give them are a fair indicator of thier childs abilities, that way if we have missed something, they have a chance to say "No, because what about ABC".

What they put you in is like our follow along program, you could always just fail the screener they send you miserably and that will get someone back out there.

Another thing, you said 2.5. How close to three? Because at 3, it is the job of the school district to provide that, so if you are still worried then I would, about two or three months BEFORE his third bday, call the school district and set up an assesment. The law is, "three is three" so in other words, the day he turns three he can start with them, if he qualifies and has had his assessment and ARD done (they wont come to your home like ECI, you will just take him in once or twice a week).

Sometimes the people answering the phones dont know what youre talking about when you want to do anything with a three year old in school. Ask for the special education dept, specifially the school diagnostican. The principal should also be familiar with the whole process. Or call your early childhood program and request that they refer you to the school district, that should get things rolling quickly because by law, the school district has so many days from the time a referral is made to contact you.

Also, even if he doesnt qualify for the early childhood program, they will happily send you some information if you ask (whats typical at what ages, diffrent activities to increase language stimulation, etc.)

You could even ask for a list of what sounds should be there at what ages, or even to see a copy of the test protocol used to test him. Not all evaluations are the same, one test might put him at 2.5years and another at 2.3 but more importantly, if you are worried about articulation, did it specifically test for that? (Of course, an experinaced therapist can test for it just by observation and on parent report, Im just throwing ideas out there).

There are certain sounds that MOST kids his age cant say yet, so it would help you to know whats typical and what isnt.

Hope this helped. Feel free to message me with any questions I might have the answer to!

edited to add: Did I misread? Was it a payment issue? I assumed you were saying that they said yes, he's behind, but not behind ENOUGH to qualify for the program. (In texas, payment issues would not keep you out, if ins. doesnt pay, we have a sliding scale based on income, use to be free, but budget cuts, thank bush for that). Up until last year, it was a two or three month delay that was needed. Now, if its expressive language only, with no other concerns, you have to be SIX months behind. To be blunt, we had A LOT of speech only kids and thanks to rampant budget slashing going on in the gov, its my belife that the criteria was changed because we no longer had the funds to serve that many kiddos. And we all know who we can thank for that, dont we? But let's not get me started on that...
:
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks so everyone who answered back in June...

So here's the update. I did appeal because in the back of my mind I have this voice nagging me to keep fighting for him. I know he may catch up, but I've really been trying to learn to trust my mama instinct. Well, I had found out that the original assesment did NOT include articulation. UGH! So we had another assesment last week for his articulation...his score came back and he is in the 12th percentile for articulation...they only take kids who are in the 11th percentile and lower. The speech clinician said that he definately needed therapy but didn't qualify through the school and told us of 2 private practices we could go through. Problem is, we don't have the money right now. We're struggling to pay our bills and keep food on the table. I feel in my heart that I need to get him in therapy, but now what do I do?

Shannon

Oh, and the speech clinician didn't even give us any ideas of how we could work with him at home...so frustrating!
 

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Do you have any nearby colleges with speech pathologist programs? When I was in grad school for special ed, the speech/language pathology department was in the same building, and they had a clinic downstairs where their students did therapy, under the supervision of fully-trained clinicians. I would assume it was considerably cheaper to go there.

I would also contact your school district and see when your ds will age into their programs. In a lot of places, that will be when he turns 3, but I believe I've worked in areas where the rule was that a child changed programs (such as from Early Intervention through the county to Preschool Special Services through the district) in September of the school year in which he would be turning 3. The district may have different criteria for receiving services than Early Intervention. Good luck!
 

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You might also want to call your health insurance, if you have it. You may be able to meet with an SLP and have it covered by your insurance. They may only cover certain SLPs or a maximum number of visits, etc. but it's better than nothing. Good luck, that sounds very frustrating.
 
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