By Leslie Lindsay
It happened to us. We were all set to go back to school year before last. We had an IEP in place for speech, a school, and a teacher-SLP team we were familiar with. The backpack was packed, the school supplies purchased, and the 1st day of school outfit layed out.
It’s not so ominous. But the thing is: what I had perceived to be a “good start to a new school year” turned out to be a slight disappointment. We no longer had the same SLP at the school level. “Sure, I can be flexible,” I sighed. The new SLP just happend to be beautiful and young and chirpy. I cringed. Really?! Does she know what we have been dealing with? Does she know that we had a good SLP that we were familar with and had a good repoire with my daughter?
After about two weeks of being in school that year, the chirpy SLP who looked all of 12 years old approached me and said, “I think I’d like to re-evaluate your daughter. She seems to be doing fine in the classroom. Let’s schedule it for next week. All you have to do is sign this.” She thrust a packet of papers my way, and sauntered off in her size 2 pants.
I filled out the paperwork. My daughter had a re-evaluation. She was determined to no longer need speech services at school (“she can keep up with the work in the classroom,” I was told), and was encouraged to continue with private speech therapy “if we could fit it into our schedule.” At one point, this SLP even asked if I was “really sure” my daughter ever had Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS) in the first place. Ugh. Yes…heeelllooo!
If this happens to you:
- Keep your cool. I know you are probably wanting to scream and yell and throw a fit. Don’t.
- Get to know your new SLP. Ask if you can email her. Share information about your family and your child with speech concerns. But don’t be too pest-y. They are busy, after all and have many other children they work with on a daily basis.
- If you are “dismissed” from speech therapy at school, ask why. But please do so in a kind, diplomatic way. No one wants to deal with an irate parent.
- Some schools are making major budget cuts, thus kids who are sort of “on the cuff” in terms of needing services may be “let go” so that other, more disadvantaged students can benefit from these over-worked specialists. Look at that as a “good thing,” after all, your child is progressing!
- Now, if you have “just” a new SLP at school, please take the time to introduce yourself and share with the SLP what has worked for your child in the past. Did he particularly like small group work, singing words/jingles, does he shy away from flashcards…and mention some goals you’d like to see developed for the new school year.
- You may even consider having your private SLP connect with your school SLP. Many are willing to make school visits, but you may have to sign a release for BOTH school and private clinic to share information about your child.