Thursday, May 14, 2009

#8 How was your initial contact with the school system?

When you contacted the schools and requested an evaluation, how did the school respond? Did you feel that the school responded appropriately? Were the evaluations handled well? How hard was it to get your child's "educationally necessary" services in place?

For us, the biggest hurdle was the home visit. The child psychologist and speech therapist came to our home, where Jack is most comfortable. He acted so normal! By the end of the visit, the psychologist said she'd never seen a child with Jack's diagnosis act so social. The speech therapist said she could see some minor problems but nothing major. They wanted to return to our house the following week for more formal testing. I insisted they needed to see Jack at school instead. By law, one of the two visits must take place at school, so they didn't argue with me. But I just knew they were shaking their heads in disbelieve.

The school visit could not have gone any better, however. Jack completely shut down and became absolutely unresponsive to their best efforts to engage him. The psychologist said she'd never seen such a dramatic change of behavior, and the speech therapist told me that Jack had played her like a violin at our house, masking major receptive language problems by being totally in control. At school, where he was clearly not in control, he revealed significant language issues. She was proud of him for fooling her! We got maximum speech therapy, reasonable occupational therapy, and placement in the developmental preschool program.


Carrie Wehmeyer said...

We had a similar experience with Spencer. Aside from apraxia, they felt he didn't have severe disabilities. Then we went to the school and it was totally different. He shut down completely. We had a lot of trouble getting the school to provide services and by the time he was ten it became clear they had given up on him and were trying to transition him to the "behavior unit". We took him and Penny out of school and they are much happier now. Spencer has many abilities he seeks to keep secret from us,but sometimes we catch him.

tinamarie said...

I still remember when we moved to the Madison and they came to see and test him to get him into the Early Intervention when he was 3. He did not look at them or acknowledge the 2 woman and the man that was there. He sat on the floor looking down and 'playing' with his 3 hotwheel cars. Lining them up and taking 1 car out at a time and then putting it back in it place in that line. They could not get him to do anything.
They did a good job at explaining things to me but I was at a loss though as I myself didn't understand alot of it yet at that time.
Technically their program starts at age 3-1/2 but they felt he was so delayed they took him 6 months early into their program. This was all before we had a diagnosis. The class they put him was a true blessing as this was the teacher that helped me get that diagnosis.
I now believe everything to get him there with me moving 150 miles away from my family, ending up in this small community outside of Madison was all a true blessing to help Tony.