By Leslie Lindsay
Last week on “Apraxia Monday” we talked a bit about how us parents often have difficulty getting through all of the mumbo-jumbo that accompanies speech pathology. Well, it’s not that these folks don’t know what they are talking about–quite the contrary–but they often have a set of vocabularly that doesn’t always jive with the rest of us. That’s not uncommon for professionals, right? Medical professionals have their own lingo, so do mechanics, and teachers. No biggie. We just have to learn what it is.
But before we can do all of that, we are faced with reading our child’s speech-language report. It usually comes in the mail a week or two after the evaluation is complete. And let’s just say that while you may be eager to look it over so you can learn what is going on with your little sweetie, and get them the help they need, it’s hard, too.
Here’s an excerpt from my book, Speaking of Apraxia: A Parent’s Guide to Understanding and Coping with CAS (Woodbine House, 2012) that may help:
- Remind yourself: I am the parent.
“I am concerned about my child’s developing speech. I want to help my child and so does this speech pathologist.”
- Take turns reading the report out loud with your partner/spouse/trusted friend. This sort of de-personalizes the words. At the end of each section, pause to ask questions, clarify, make notes, etc.
- When making notes about the report, refrain from writing directly on the report. You’ll never know when you’ll need to provide a copy of the report to the school or another medical provider. Keep your originals “clean.” Use a Post-It note instead.
- If you don’t understand a word, phrase, or some terminology specific to speech pathology, make a note of it and look it up later. You will likely see lots of words you aren’t familiar with.
- Ifyou happen to notice something inaccurate in the report, bring it to your SLP’s attention immediately. Give her a call or send an email and explain what you’re concerned about in a diplomatic manner. You may not agree with everything your SLP observed
during your child’s evaluation; if you feel a particular observation is not a true representation of your child, kindly ask if your SLP can add a statement to the report indicating something along those lines. For example, “Mother indicates it is not typical for Kate to drool during
speech.” (Kate really did drool during her evaluation and I was sure to tell the SLP that it wasn’t typical.)
- Take time to digest the information. You’ve learned a great deal about your child’s communication difficulties. You need time to absorb it all.
- Do what you need to do to cope with it. Reading the report is going to dredge up some feelings you may or may not be ready to accept. You may be in denial, you may be angry, you may seek to receive a second opinion, or you may just want to cry. Go ahead and let it out. Do something proactive, though. What have you done in the past to cope with unpleasant news? Do it now.
- When you’re ready, begin sharing the results with those who love, support, and encourage you and your child. You will need to pull from various sources as you work through your child’s journey of CAS.