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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Guhment hulp peez for Sh'laaaa

So, we always hear that early intervention is the best, no matter what it is being discussed. I've wondered about Shayla's speech for a while, but I've been holding off doing anything about it while I waited for her to just start talking.

Well, I finally decided that I'd just bite the bullet and call Kids Who Count. They're a federally funded program that provides early intervention and education for children with various needs, whether health-related, developmental, speech, etc.

To make sure they're treating the right issues, they conduct three different tests. (Of course, these are three different tests done on three different days by three different people. This IS government we're talking here, so there isn't any efficiency.) The first test she had was developmental. She passed with flying colors. The lady had to keep going through her test until Shayla missed three in a row, and that never happened, even though they were into 5-year-old skills. She said Shayla didn't qualify for help in that aspect. I assured her that was fine, because my only concern was speech.

The next test was her health test. Again, she passed with flying colors. The lady was concerned that she had a cold and oftentimes kids with colds don't pass the hearing test, but this little angel did. I knew she would, because she hears the second I unlock her bedroom door and is out in a heartbeat!

So, the final test was the speech test, which is exactly what I wanted tested. Well, the first test determined two things: How much she understands and how much she says. Turns out her comprehension is a little above normal for her age. However, the amount of things she says is in the 23rd percentile, which is the same amount as a child who is 1 year 11 months. (Shayla is 2 years 5 months.) So, I was right about her being behind -- six months in that aspect. The lady informed me, however, that kids don't qualify unless they fall in the 7th percentile or less. WHAT?!?

So, she did a test on how well Shayla actually speaks. Guess how well she did on that? Well, she was in the 9th percentile. Still didn't qualify! That's gotta be the level of a kid who is about 18 months (my guess since the lady was hurrying and didn't say), which means Shayla is a full year behind and doesn't qualify?!? What's the deal with early intervention, then? Only for those kids who are so desperately behind that there's no possible way for them to catch up with this program?!?

Needless to say, I was a little disgusted. Mind you, this program is a cheap one (or free for many people) that is a service to the community. However, it has just confirmed to me that I do NOT want government health care. "I'm sorry, but the cancer has only infected 66 percent of your body, and we can't treat it until it's taken over 75 percent of your body." "I'm sorry you have kidney stones, but we've used our budget to treat those this year. Can you come back in January?" "Oh, you don't appear to be in as much pain as necessary to be treated. My scale shows you're only in the 93rd percentile for pain, and you have to be in the 94th percentile before we'll consider treating you." Sigh.

The good news is that the lady seemed really nice and said she would go ahead and see if she could admit Shayla into the program. She said that there was an obvious discrepancy on how much she understands vs. how much she says, so that she would make a judgement call on that and see if she could get someone else to agree (since they have to have two evaluators agree to admit her). Craziness.

In any case, I guess we'll see if it's worth all the effort. If we can get her talking instead of trying to decipher her speech, then things will be a little bit easier around here. Mind you, once we get her talking maybe she won't stop and we'll wish we hadn't pushed it! ;)


the Rowleys said...

Just a suggestion, I don't know if your health care will cover it. But you can always find your own speech facility and get them to evaluate and work with your child. But it can be expensive and so best if your health plan will cover it. You may have already looked at this option. But know it is there.

Lizzylou said...

I did the same test for Danny when he was two. A few months later he started talking a lot. They gave me some tips on getting him to talk more. I started asking open ended questions more, so that he had to talk more. Shayla is such a cutie. Her cute smile says more than word anyway! It doesn get discouraging not knowing what they want all of the time though.