Speech Language Pathology — 5 Minutes for Special Needs

Speech Language Pathology



It’s happening around here. Some of the counties near where we live have already returned to recess, brown bag lunch, and smiling teachers. We…start Monday.

Well, my daughter starts Monday. My friend’s children start Monday.

Jack. Not so much.

See, we qualified for Hospital Homebound (HH). Basically, this is a school within a school. It has its own principal, teachers, guidance counselors, etc. Three times a week a teacher comes to my house and hangs out with Jack. Speech therapy and Physical therapy will visit him at home as well. However, it’s under the confines of the MotherSchool, which is the elementary that we are zoned for. (You still following me?)

HH requires a doctor’s note, medical records, and an IEP–all of which we have. And by have, I mean, I have his IEP, but The MotherSchool hasn’t updated it since we moved and so, he technically has no IEP. After calls and emails and days of stress, HH called yesterday to tell me that they are ready, but we are waiting for MotherSchool to set up the IEP.

Wanna hear the kicker? Last night I got a call from Ms. Ruby, the bus driver. She wanted to know where to pick him up on Monday.

That’s when I almost lost my religion.

So, while everyone gets to go to school and have that first day of wonder, Jack gets to wait to see when they’ll do his IEP, and I get to worry that I’m going to get arrested for my truant kindergartner.

Who’s bailing me out?


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Conversational Carousel

The other day I took the child to a nearby amusement park. We enjoyed our mommy-daughter outing with one of her friends and her mom. One of the rides we most enjoyed was the 100 year old carousel. It was truly beautiful. The horses had hair tails instead of painted ones, and there were even brass rings to grab!

Then a couple of days ago we watched Mary Poppins for the first time. To refresh your memory, Mary, Burt (the chimney sweep), Michael and Jane jump into a chalk picture and visit a country fair. At the fair they ride on a carousel.

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Language is Amazing

For the most part the child’s language seems pretty typical now, but every once in a while something pops up that just highlights how differently she processes words.

The exchange yesterday between the child (age 7) and her little sister (age 3) went something like this…

7 yo: “You Dare!”

3 yo: “I’m not a Dare, I’m a girl.”

7 yo: “No, you’re a Dare…Dare, Dare, Dare.”

3 yo: “I’m not a Dare, I’m a girl!”

7 yo: “Don’t, you Dare, talk to me.”

It took me a minute to figure out what this was all about. I’m sure the child has heard me say it before hundreds of times, “Don’t you dare… [look at me like that, throw that, get up, run in this place, etc.

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I scrambled up the hill to my daughter’s “old school” to pick up my son from his “new class.” My daughter attended this school from Early Intervention through Kindergarten before being moved to our neighborhood school for first grade. I know most of the Early Intervention staff pretty well, and I know the IEP process all too well. So when we decided to have my son’s speech evaluated for phonology issues I felt pretty comfortable about the whole process.

Unfortunately we got a bit of a hard spot in terms of scheduling. He has to be at his phonology group class at 8:15 am, which is the same time I usually leave the house with my oldest to take her to school.

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Learning…I’ve not written about homeschooling yet so I thought maybe this would be a good time.  Homeschooling isn’t so typical for us, we have many challenges to get over.  We do use therapies as part of our daily routine (even if we are still on sabbatical from professional therapies at our local hospital).  We do a lot of reading…Last year we read 163 books (several times each).   This year we’re working on doubling that.  We’re in the 200’s right now.  Things that I have noticed lately are that my son appears to be more aware of his surroundings and is learning to place sounds. 

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Let’s Get Real

I’m a realist.  Because of that, I sometimes get frustrated when it comes to raising a child with Down syndrome.  I want to know what is realistic and my questions are usually met with, “Don’t put limits on your child.  She can do anything she wants.”

Well, yes, and no.  I mean, yes, if we limit our children and say, “Oh, no, she can’t do that.” then she is going to live up, or down, to that expectation.  That’s true for any child or for anyone for that matter.  But let’s be realistic here.  There ARE limits.

Let’s take me for example. 

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Have You Tried Sign Language

Sign language seems to be the current cure-all for those dealing with speech issues with their children.  You are bombarded with it either for your toddler who is just learning to talk or for your child whose speech is delayed.

In the beginning I had a positive attitude about sign language.  I introduced it to Peanut at a young age and even purchased 3 of the Signing Times DVD’s which she enjoyed watching.  However, by the time Peanut was nearing her third birthday, it became clear to her dad and I that sign language may actually be hampering her speech development instead of assisting it. 

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It Will Come

“It will come.”  Three simple words meant as encouragement.  Meant to give hope.

They don’t.

In fact, often they are received as a dismissal.  As a means of telling me it’s not a big deal.  Because I know this phrase is not meant in the way I perceive it, I simply smile and say, “I hope you’re right.”

What will come?  Speech.  Peanut is 6 years old and is still non-verbal.  I don’t mean she has a limited vocabulary.  I mean she is non-verbal.  She say’s “No.” clear as day.  She says a version of “Yes.”  The rest is grunts, babbling.

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Just Fine

“We’re going to meet teacher Susan*, Sweetie. Mommy needs you to show her what you know. Do your very best okay?”


So many people had told me to stop worrying, “She’s fine…Why are you doing this?” that I walked into the assessment feeling a bit paranoid. It didn’t help that we arrived on the school campus on time but had a hard time finding the right room, which made us late. As we started the assessment there were forms for me to fill out. I hate filling out forms, and I didn’t know how to answer several of the questions.

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The Domino Effect

For the last two years or so, we hadn’t had many appointments with specialists.  Precious doesn’t have any serious medical issues.  She’s got minor ear, nose, throat issues, so we go every 6-12 months, and she has dental issues, but these only require regular dentist appointments for now.

She has an undiagnosed congenital (she was born with it) issue.  It started out as low muscle tone and turned into a global developmental delay with a more noticeable cognitive delay.

A few months ago, we got a call from the geneticist, asking us to come in to be re-evaluated.  While we were there, she noticed we hadn’t seen the opthamologist for a couple of years. 

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