Life has a way of taking interesting twists and turns.
I didn’t know how important getting a copy of report and assessments would be. Right around the time that I was growing more concerned about my daughter’s development, my marriage was disintegrating. So by the time we saw the speech-language pathologist (SLP), I was already separated. And I was making plans to move my little family back to where we had come from.
Due to the move, I did something I was very thankful for, and did with every other specialist we dealt with after that.
I asked for a copy of her report and assessment.
Every early childhood development specialist writes a report. It goes in the child’s medical file. It usually gets sent to public health as well, or at least to your child’s doctor. But it’s rare, and odd that the parent would see this report or that file, unless they request it.
Special needs parents need copies of the reports.
I cannot stress enough how highly I recommend every parent with a special needs child ask for copies of these reports! It is essential to getting your child the best care possible. You are your child’s best advocate.
My daughter’s SLP report was supposed to be transferred to the public health department in our new county. It never was. From my inquiries, it appears that the report and case file was “lost in transit”.
But I had a copy.
Armed with this report, I went to an Early Childhood Education Centre. There you could meet with various early childhood specialists, including a speech-language clinician. This person is slightly different than an SLP. They don’t diagnose, but they are equipped to make referrals for further evaluation.
I walked into the clinician’s room, and I introduced myself and my daughter. Before she even began to ask about my concerns, I handed her the copy of the SLP’s evaluation that I had. I asked her to read it, and tell me what I should do next.
I waited patiently, while she paged through the assessment and report. And I watched as her eyes widened at some areas, and narrowed at others.
When she finished a few minutes later, she looked straight at me and told me she didn’t even need to work with my daughter. She was going to refer us right away to a local agency that would help us further. The clinician handed me a social worker’s card and took down my information, telling me to expect a call with an appointment in the next day or two.
She was as good as her word. We got a referral to a new SLP, as well as an occupational therapist, and an appointment with a social worker to talk about further steps.
Finally, I felt like we were getting somewhere, and I hoped that soon my daughter would be “fixed”.
I didn’t understand that there wasn’t “fixing”, and that my child wasn’t “sick”. Her challenges weren’t due to a disease or anything particularly wrong but more that there was a difference in wiring in her brain.
I didn’t know that then. Like many people, I knew nothing of special needs kids, of developmental delays or autism or any of those neurodiverse differences. I had this idea that my daughter was sick, and we just needed to take her to the doctors and get the right treatment. And then she would be healthy again, healthy meaning normal.
To be continued..