Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Child Find Evaluation

Or should I say "evaluation". Last week Child Find, which is the school age version of Early Intervention, came out to evaluate Luke to determine if he's eligible for services with their program once he turns three in the fall. I was expecting the evaluation to be similar to the one he received by EI last fall. When they came out for theirs, there was a team of three people. His service coordinator and two different therapists. Once it was determined he was eligible through that meeting, we went to their facility for further evaluation, again with three people, to determine what services he would receive.

Well, I was totally wrong. One person came. She sat in our living room, very minimal interaction with Luke. Brought out a few toys for him to play with. Remarked on how smart he was a couple of times. And within 30 minutes, was done. During her "evaluation", a couple things were brought up that didn't make me very happy...

1. An apraxia diagnosis wouldn't get him "more or less" assistance from Child Find.

2. He will more than likely get a resource teacher within his preschool instead of a speech therapist.

Ok, why in the world would a neurological disorder NOT get a child more services? A speech therapist familiar with it? And I would certainly hope that it wouldn't get him LESS assistance.

And why would someone with a severe speech delay like Luke just get a resource teacher? Also, when we were talking about his preschool, I mentioned that someone (who happens to be his current speech therapist) said that a certain resource teacher at that particular school is wonderful. This seemed to irritate the woman, and she said there is more than one resource teacher, and that the one I mentioned has a full caseload and wouldn't be assigned to Luke.

I discussed all of this with his current ST (who works for Early Intervention and is familiar with Child Find). She was rather disgusted for a few reasons. The first being the lack of a full evaluation. The second being the woman that came out to "evaluate" him is a resource teacher herself, she isn't qualified to make a speech assessment (something that wasn't mentioned before or during the "evaluation"). The third being that there isn't going to be a more thorough second evaluation. According to the woman, there will be a meeting to determine if he's eligible for services. Then we'll jump right to the IEP meeting, which is what sets the services that he will receive from the county. And finally, that it has already been mentioned that he will only receive a resource teacher. Luke needs, and deserves, more than that.

According to the ST, there is a serious lack of consistency within our county's Child Find. One child with similar speech issues received a full, three person team, evaluation. Luke gets "evaluated" by someone that isn't even a trained speech therapist.

The ST thinks that I should take whatever resources the county offers, and look into private speech therapy (which we already have). On one hand, I want to withdraw him from Child Find. I'm not a huge fan of allowing the county to be involved in our personal lives anyway. But on the other hand, by law the county is required to help Luke and I want to hold them to that.

And finally, Luke is also in Early Intervention for Occupational Therapy for his thumb.  It's not a huge part of his involvement with EI, as they only gave him an hour once every other month, and the OT that was assigned to has been very flaky about coming out (we've seen her twice since February) , but it's still an issue.  The resource teacher that came out never mentioned it.  I had to mention it to her, and it still wasn't discussed.  It wasn't until hours later that she called and said oops, I forgot to get information about his thumb!  As a famous crazy actor would say, Winning!

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