“My Story…” Monday: A. – Advocating

(You can catch up on A’s story right here: The Pregnancy, The Birth, The Infancy, The Quiet Toddler)

 

When your child passes the eighteen month mark and isn’t saying ANYTHING, it’s not too hard to qualify for therapy.  And A. did.  When I saw the report and talked to the evaluation team, there was no doubt in my mind that my son was going to need the help of a speech therapist.  That is what their report said, after all.  However.
As it turned out, speech therapists were both more expensive and harder to come by in the county in which we lived.  At that time, there was not a speech and language specialist available to help my son.  By law, though, they had to offer therapy.  The solution?  They told us they would provide a developmental therapist who would work on “speech therapy things” with our little guy.  Hmm.  Okay, I suppose.

 

But it wasn’t.  The developmental therapist was lovely.  A former teacher, she had a wonderful manner with little ones and couldn’t have been more sincere in her desire to help.  What she was not was a trained speech and language pathologist.  And she was not qualified to handle my non-verbal toddler.  She played with him.  Educational play, yes, but still… nothing different from what we were already doing.  Not surprisingly, while he enjoyed her, he made no progress.  It didn’t take long for me to determine it wasn’t going to cut it.

I called the early intervention team and insisted that we be put on a list for the first available opening with an actual speech therapist.  I figured surely some children would turn three and age out of the program, right?  I made my points and pled my case and encountered little to no resistance.  I hate to say this, but it’s the total truth: I had so much success because I am well-spoken and knew how to “talk the talk.” The fact that I knew the correct legal and medical lingo to toss out there helped my words carry more weight.  Is that right?  No.  Is it fair?  Absolutely not.  But it’s the truth.  And it’s the reason that there are people out there whose sole jobs are to advocate for children.  Knowing “what to say” is exceedingly important.

 

Anyhow, in the interim, I wasn’t satisfied with only receiving developmental therapy.  I called a clinic and arranged weekly therapy for my son.  I drove him in and they billed our insurance.  We paid a co-pay for each and every visit and I would gladly do it again.  Did we see miraculous progress?  No, we did not.  But I did see a qualified professional who was trained to evaluate my son and who actually gave me some exercises to do with him that made me feel proactive.  Totally worth it.

That December, a month before A. would turn two, I got the call from the early intervention coordinator…

 

A. would be getting a speech therapist.

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