Friday at 3:00. Phone rings. I look down and see the number of the speech therapy office staring back at me. Before I can even process how odd it is that they are calling me during our “hiatus” from speech while they re-approve the paperwork with insurance, I answer the phone. The hello and how are you’s are over much too quickly. That usually means someone is rushing through because the news is either good or bad.
Insurance has deemed that Jp is not going to qualify for speech.
He was denied because, while his receptive is well below the level of another child his age, his ability to learn phrases, label, and communicate make his overall expressive score age appropriate (though on the very bottom of that level, mathematically speaking). And with sessions being somewhere in the range of 200 dollars a week, it’s not something that we can afford out of pocket. As I sat there and had that conversation about how I do not believe my son is at a level that would not require professional support, so many things were going through my mind. It was as though my mouth was taking it’s cues from my brain and moving, there was even sound coming out of it…but my thoughts were in another time zone.
I was pleading my case to the therapist to appeal the decision with my insurance company with my words but my heart didn’t necessarily feel it. Though I rationally understand that my son’s speech patterns are atypical and his functional understanding of communication is not at a level that I would consider it an appropriate time to discontinue therapy, part of me just doesn’t know how affective it is anymore. Strange, I know, but I swear it is true.
You can not teach receptive language. Or, at least, you cannot teach a child to understand the functions of the English language at 30 minutes a session a few times a week.
Jp’s issue is the way that his brain takes in information. Right now he does not learn incidentally. He needs things presented in a slow and deliberate fashion and does best with repetition. When that is done, there is no limit to what he can learn or intake now. Things may or may never come to him as organically as other children but he is one smart cookie, of that, you can be certain. So, knowing that, I am not as stressed out about the situation as I would have been months ago. I still went through with the appeal process because what kind of parent would I be if I didn’t? Though I have to say that I won’t be taking back to WordPress in a rage if it doesn’t go through. He is improving leaps and bounds every day now and we haven’t been to therapy in two or three weeks. What he understands is based on how much vocabulary he knows and Chris and I work with him every chance that we get and between the two of us, he’s pretty much constantly engaged (or at least watching some type of program and he learns a ton from that alone). Plus, he has to be evaluated again at three so it’s not as if this is necessarily the end of the road as opposed to a break.
Though during the conversation there was an offhand comment that Dana made that caused me to step back and take pause. She brought up ECI (Early Childhood Intervention) and how Jp wouldn’t qualify. There has to be a deficit of 25% and Jp rides in at 23%. That scared me a little. It’s not to say that would be the route I would go as I really haven’t even put too much thought into whether we would do that or mainstream (It felt like a million miles away before she made that statement) but just the thought that my son is mere points away from qualifying but wouldn’t is a sobering thought.
Which means that he will be where?
In a public school in a regular class. With what is currently a receptive language disorder. I know that is a few years away -light years when it comes to the development of a child- and I certainly am not counting any chickens before they hatch (or some other relevant cliche) but that idea just broke my heart. I know every Mom that reads this that has a child with diagnosis will think that they would kill to receive my piece of news. I understand that in it’s way, it sounds wonderful, but it also sounds incredibly frightening, too.
The one thing that I would never want for Jp would to be the bottom of his class, or to go through school having a hard time making friends, or being the “odd” kid.
Before you all go crazy pants in my comment section about how I am overreacting because I never know what the future may hold…I know that. He could end up being captain of the football team with a cheerleader girlfriend and I will take that egg on my face for thinking any of this in the first place, I promise. But looking at him struggle now around children his age -not quite knowing how to act or communicate with them in a way that they understand- and all I can think is that it is still so wonderful that he doesn’t seem to know that he is behind. He doesn’t feel insecure or inadequate yet, he doesn’t understand the rude things they can sometimes say, and he is blissfully unaware of the fact that when they run away he is actually being left behind for more fun games and other people.
Sooner rather than later, this will not be the case. And unless his development skyrockets as atypically quickly as it was atypically slow to begin with, he is going to reach an age quite quickly where he will start to understand what I see. At least with a diagnosis, he would be in a class with people that were like him and they could all toast their carbohydrate-only-lunch-items together in the cafeteria.
I find it highly ironic that everyone, particularly if your child develops atypically, tells you not to compare your child to other people’s children. In fact, it is the biggest mistake a parent of a child with any sort of developmental issue can possibly make and still hold onto their sanity. Yet, everyone around you is constantly comparing your child to others. Pediatricians, speech therapist, and school systems all compare your child to charts and graphs to tell you what is normal and what is atypical. They have mathematical equations and formulas to determine the proper “classification” for them. I already wrote a post about how studies have been done on Preemie’s falling through the cracks when it comes to these types of labels being needed for services. I am already starting to see how that can happen.
Though no matter what the outcome, I have a deep seated belief that Jp is in a home that is language rich and, for the hand that he was dealt, he is going to do wonders. I can’t help but be impressed with him on a daily basis and perhaps a few months out of speech will free us up to get him involved in some more social activities since we look like we are headed to mainstreaming.
There is always a silver lining…you just have to be willing to look.
Childhood Development Parenting Parenting and Childhood Development Uncategorized developmental delays kids language disorders moms motherhood parenthood parenting parents preemie preemie parenting receptive language socialization special needs speech therapy toddlers
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