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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My 3 year old is hard of hearing (severe unilateral deafness) and last month right before his third birthday it struck us that we still have a hard time understanding him. I mentioned it to his daycare providers and they agreed with me that he is hard to understand.
So, we had an evaluation done through our school system last week. Within 5 minutes they all agreed that he needed help and with that they started to test him. In at least one part of the test he wasn't trying at all, they could tell he made up his mind on which picture to point at before they even asked the questions. Regardless they continued to mark the test and he was well below average in all five areas they tested.
The school system wants him to come to 4 mornings a week preschool with a speech therapy component.
Can you speak to me about speech therapy, what to expect, etc. Have any of you had the same experience where you know your child wasn't trying when tested? I know he has delays but I don't think they are nearly as grave as what the test scored.
I'd love to hear your experiences.
 

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My son wasn't really interested in doing the test, I think that's pretty common, actually. They would ask to point at the kitty and he would just babble about something else


I liked our speech therapy experience a lot. Our speech therapist was great and always looking for new ways to motivate him, I learned new ways to parents him, he improved greatly. Most of his issues now are language (for example, he doesn't really get pronouns.) He has a new speech therapist and I don't really know what she does with him (I get some updates but I'm not there for every session like I used to be)... but it's working.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the response! I am confused because they want to put my son in a special ed preschool room with children who have cognitive delays as well as speech delays. I think they might have pegged him as cognitively delayed from his speech assessment, which isn't right in his case.
I go on Wednesday to check the classroom out but I think in the meantime I am going to have him assessed at the local children's hospital.
 

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Here the preschool is integrated with half special needs kids and half "typical" kids. The SN kids are all across the spectrum, some have only physical delays, some have cognitive delays, some only speech, etc and the other half of the class has no special needs at all. So if the set-up is similar, I woudln't hesitate at all to put him in.

About the assessment...the testers may have continued the testing just so he'd qualify for services. If there's room in the program and they see that a child could benefit from being in it, sometimes they'll "fudge" an assessment just so he qualifies easily, you know?

You said he has unilateral loss...is he aided? Most kids aren't aided with unilateral loss until school-age when stereo hearing is more important, now might be the time to look into aiding him if he isn't.

And I always advocate sign, even with verbal children. If he uses sign when he speaks, it might help decrease frustrations with misunderstandings. Just be clear that sign should never take the place of verbal. We sign/speak with our middle son because his speech isn't understandable. But he knows to always at least TRY to speak with his signs. "Silent signing" isn't allowed, but we push the signing to lessen frustrations on his part and our part.
 

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Do they want him in a substantially separate program? If that is the case, I would fight it, and push for an integrated preschool. But if it's an integrated preschool, there will be a mix of kids, some of whom do have cognitive delays, and that does not tend to negatively impact the class environment in any way. In fact, having a great range of kids in the room can be wonderful for kids. Hopefully the visit helps you see if the room is a good fit for your son. If not, feel free to object to the placement, or accept the speech therapy part of the IEP, and request extra meetings to talk about preschool. That way he would be able to start going in for therapy while you and the school work out the rest of the plan.

As far as the testing, it depends on the feeling you got from them. Some professionals put everything into the tests, and rely exclusively on those. But others use testing as a tool, and keep going so they get a number to write down as a score. My dd is on the autism spectrum, and everyone knows that her scores on standardized tests are not representative of her true abilities. Still, when she is up for re-assessment I know we will get another set of reports with scores listed, followed by a paragraph explaining that the scores aren't valid. Having a number helps with eligibility and documentation of progress, but not all school staff put too much emphasis on it.

That said, I think a private assessment is a great idea. More information is never a bad thing, and it can really help to have an outside professional to back you up, if you ever need it. Good luck and keep us updated!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by 2boyzmama View Post
Here the preschool is integrated with half special needs kids and half "typical" kids. The SN kids are all across the spectrum, some have only physical delays, some have cognitive delays, some only speech, etc and the other half of the class has no special needs at all. So if the set-up is similar, I woudln't hesitate at all to put him in.

About the assessment...the testers may have continued the testing just so he'd qualify for services. If there's room in the program and they see that a child could benefit from being in it, sometimes they'll "fudge" an assessment just so he qualifies easily, you know?

You said he has unilateral loss...is he aided? Most kids aren't aided with unilateral loss until school-age when stereo hearing is more important, now might be the time to look into aiding him if he isn't.

And I always advocate sign, even with verbal children. If he uses sign when he speaks, it might help decrease frustrations with misunderstandings. Just be clear that sign should never take the place of verbal. We sign/speak with our middle son because his speech isn't understandable. But he knows to always at least TRY to speak with his signs. "Silent signing" isn't allowed, but we push the signing to lessen frustrations on his part and our part.
Thanks for this! It's good to know that it maybe wasn't that they just weren't being careful with his assessment, maybe a method to the madness?

He isn't aided, the ENT thought it would be too confusing and the Au D. agreed, the difference in hearing levels in each ear is too great.

I will start signing with him, I used to when he was much younger and since I wasn't getting any kind of a response I stopped.

Thanks for the ideas and suggestions!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by Aridel View Post
Do they want him in a substantially separate program? If that is the case, I would fight it, and push for an integrated preschool. But if it's an integrated preschool, there will be a mix of kids, some of whom do have cognitive delays, and that does not tend to negatively impact the class environment in any way. In fact, having a great range of kids in the room can be wonderful for kids. Hopefully the visit helps you see if the room is a good fit for your son. If not, feel free to object to the placement, or accept the speech therapy part of the IEP, and request extra meetings to talk about preschool. That way he would be able to start going in for therapy while you and the school work out the rest of the plan.

As far as the testing, it depends on the feeling you got from them. Some professionals put everything into the tests, and rely exclusively on those. But others use testing as a tool, and keep going so they get a number to write down as a score. My dd is on the autism spectrum, and everyone knows that her scores on standardized tests are not representative of her true abilities. Still, when she is up for re-assessment I know we will get another set of reports with scores listed, followed by a paragraph explaining that the scores aren't valid. Having a number helps with eligibility and documentation of progress, but not all school staff put too much emphasis on it.

That said, I think a private assessment is a great idea. More information is never a bad thing, and it can really help to have an outside professional to back you up, if you ever need it. Good luck and keep us updated!
Thanks! It is good to hear that integrated preschools are a positive experience! I do believe this is an integrated program but I have no experience with this. I go tomorrow to take a looksee, I'll let you guys know what it's like.

I called yesterday to get the ball rolling on the private assessment, the hospital seems to be in no hurry though.
I might have to go all squeaky wheel on them.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by daytripper75 View Post
Thanks! It is good to hear that integrated preschools are a positive experience! I do believe this is an integrated program but I have no experience with this. I go tomorrow to take a looksee, I'll let you guys know what it's like.

I called yesterday to get the ball rolling on the private assessment, the hospital seems to be in no hurry though.
I might have to go all squeaky wheel on them.

Good luck. Wait times can be long, but if you offer to go on the cancellation list that can help, as can calling every week or so to double check if any cancellations opened up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by Aridel View Post
Good luck. Wait times can be long, but if you offer to go on the cancellation list that can help, as can calling every week or so to double check if any cancellations opened up.
I got a call today telling me to expect a scheduling call tomorrow. That was good news! Hopefully they aren't backlogged!
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by daytripper75 View Post
Thanks for the response! I am confused because they want to put my son in a special ed preschool room with children who have cognitive delays as well as speech delays. I think they might have pegged him as cognitively delayed from his speech assessment, which isn't right in his case.
I go on Wednesday to check the classroom out but I think in the meantime I am going to have him assessed at the local children's hospital.
At the age of 3, he is going into a school based program. Most start the 3 year olds out in a combined class that has about 5 special needs (can be almost any type of need, (ST, OT, PT, etc.) and about 7-8 regular kids.

My son is in his second full year of this right now.

I would want to know what exactly they are going to provide him. My son only gets on average 180 minutes a quarter of ST in a group setting. For many kids this is not enough. If he is qualifying for Early Child Inclusive Preschool, you should talk to your Doc about a formal assessment through a Speech Language Pathologist for the purpose of obtaining private ST, where he will get 1 on 1 attention.

I think my son has done wonderful have both individual and group, but I think he is at a point where he needs a bit more 1 on 1.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I visited the classroom the other day, it was lovely, bright, welcoming and totally wrong for ds. They are in school 4 mornings a week and get probably 15-20 minutes of 1 on 1 speech each week and a day of group speech therapy. The teacher who gave me the tour was telling me that they emphasize kindergarten readiness and it was obvious by the end of my tour that it was a wonderful school but not what ds needs.
I thought about it for a few days and when the teacher called back to schedule ds' IEP I asked her if there were any other programs. That I just didn't feel like being out of the house four days a week is right for my 37 month old. She offered a half hour a week of private therapy and a one day a week group speech therapy class. Bingo! That was exactly what I wanted for him!
We also managed to score a quick appointment at the children's hospital for a speech assessment. We'll go the first week in March for that and our insurance covers 100% of up to 60 visits a year.


My dh was excited about the 4 day a week program. He thought that it was going to be 4 days of intensive speech therapy, it was hard work to change his mind but I think we're both on the same page about what's best for ds at this point.

What a rollercoaster.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I took ds to the Children's Hospital for a speech assessment and it was kind of horrifying. As far as the speech portion of the assessment, he scored on the low normal scale. The pathologist said that she thinks the school system used a test that was too old for ds. (Which they might have done intentionally because they knew he needed support and wanted to make sure he scored low enough to qualify? Maybe?)
The speech pathologist really seemed to think that ds was on the Autism spectrum because he was nervously blurting out letters and because he could recognize and read letters at a young age. I told her one of my favorite stories about ds reading the letters off of the box of ice cream sandwiches I was putting in the cart at the grocery when he was 17 months, she was really concerned by it whereas I thought it was cute, precocious and just like his sister at that age.
So, the SP at the CH questioned me pretty thoroughly and repeatedly about ds's skills and behaviors. By the end, she was convinced that he wasn't on the spectrum but I left feeling battered.

So, we kept him at the public school speech program. He's been there for 4 weeks now and I am delighted to report that he is thriving. The 1 day a week program I pushed for and was reluctantly permitted to enroll ds in is delighted to have him in class. Each week I am told what a sweet boy ds is and how smart he proves himself to be.

Thanks for encouraging me to be "that mom" and to advocate for what I thought was best for my child. His speech is noticeably improving and he loves his little school. I am beginning to think that I may be able to enroll him in a regular co-op preschool in the fall as well as keeping up with his weekly speech therapy sessions.


Thanks again!
 
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